Educational development at Inther Group. A successful project, a taste for more!

Nine students from Gilde Opleidingen Venlo presented the details of their learning assignment that they realized at Inther Group in four months. This is the result of a unique collaboration between Inther and CIV (Centrum voor Innovatief Vakmanschap Maak- en Smartindustrie). The goal of this collaboration is: more focused trained employees with more knowledge of the latest technologies, in line with the demands of the business community.

Useful and peaceful

“We all experienced it as very successful”, conclude both Koen Gruntjens (Senior R&D Engineer at Inther Group), Paul van de Laar (teacher Gilde Opleidingen) and fourth-year MBO students Lon Meeuwissen and Fabian Laemers. Lon enthusiastically explains how nice it is to work on something that can be useful to the company. “We are now dealing with a real company and you do the work for a reason. In addition, you are in a professional setting, other than at school.”

Independent

Fabian likes to gain experience in the company. “It’s something different for once. The variety is very nice.” Teacher Paul guides the students from start to finish. “You see that they now learn that you work in an organization in a team and that not everything is immediately available. Planning and picking things up independently is very educational. This is not a ‘made-up’ customer, as is the case at school, where you manufacture something fictionally. Requirements are set here for the concept and the implementation.”

Enthusiastic

As an engineer at the system integrator in Venray, Koen regularly joined when there were questions. “But because of the enthusiasm of these guys I noticed that I often went to see them more and see how things went and whether I could do more for them. For both projects I was the driving force behind the collaboration. After all, I wanted an ‘out of the box’ solution for a product that already runs at Inther but where we want to look at other possibilities that promote efficiency and speed.”

A-Frame

The project in question was the A-Frame from Inther Group. This fully automatic solution for the quick processing of complex orders is a ‘proven technology’ and is used to full satisfaction by various warehouses. Part of the A-Frame is the ‘ejector’ which shoots three products per second on the belt. “By reducing the capacity and using fewer parts, we can realize an even more efficient product”, Koen explains. “The assignment for the students was to come up with a solution for this.”

Eye-catcher

In addition to the ejector adjustment, Inther gave the assignment to make a presentation model of the A-Frame that can be used interactively. Handy and educational. “This question came from our HR department”, says Koen. “It had to be a demo set-up that can be used to provide information at schools but also at trade shows. In this way we can show what is being made and together with a game element it has become an interactive eye-catcher.”

Win win

“There is development time in these assignments. These ‘jobs’ often remain in business”, says Koen. “Because business and education started to work together on this point, it could be done more efficiently, we shared facilities and knowledge. Optimal to think ‘out of the box’. Students often come up with smart solutions. And for the students, the business world is slightly different than at school. So a win-win situation!”

A product of better quality

Nine MBO students started working in groups and came up with a concept. Of course they had to meet a few requirements, wishes, rules and a certain budget. “You try to realize it with the right sizes and colors. And you often come across something that doesn’t work. But with trial and error you can also show what is not possible. You learn from that too”, laughs Lon. “At school you only go through the program once, but at Inther you can design, produce and test more often”, Fabian adds. “Here you also get the right feedback, so that you deliver a better quality and working product. That is also the power: you know that the customer expects something that he can use and apply. You are happy to contribute to that!”

Successful project

“For four months they worked on a full working day at Inther on their project every Wednesday”, teacher Paul proudly says. “In addition, they have been active at school during the free hours to further refine matters. This way we come together to better students (with the right knowledge) who can grow with the organization.” And the students themselves? “We have learned a lot and have been able to taste how things are going in business. At school you mainly work individually, here you work in a team on one product”, says Lon. Koen notes that it is not realistic that you can prepare a complete engineering process in four months with only one working day a week. “But it definitely delivers creative ideas, enthusiastic students, an enthusiastic company and perhaps future employees. This is a very successful project for all of us that has a taste for more!”

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