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Posted by Daniëlla van Laarhoven on 30-05-2017 3:37 PM

In a clean room everything is black or white

Categories: Brainport region, Technology

Michiel Bloemers is production leader at NTS-Group. In his role he is responsible for the production of opto-mechatronic systems and components that are made in the company’s clean rooms. He also manages clean room personnel. Working in a clean room means a great variety in tasks but also requires a very specific mind-set from engineers. ‘In a clean room what you do is white or black. There is no room for experimenting.”

The NTS-Group is specialised in developing, manufacturing and assembling high-grade opto-mechatronic systems, modules and components. The company operates in The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Singapore, China and Silicon Valley. NTS-Group enables its customers to achieve shorter lead times and to deliver competitively priced, high-quality machines. In this way the company’s customers can concentrate on their core business.

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Clean room production leader

“Within NTS Mechatronics you have two production leaders”, says Michiel Bloemers. “My colleague is responsible for the assembly of products and components outside the cleanrooms and I am responsible for everything that happens in the cleanrooms. From assembling the products or components to delivering them to our customers. For me this is a rather new position. I only recently started in my new job.”

Self-managing teams

“Since last year we work with self-managing teams which means that employees have a lot more freedom in determining how they do their work. Improvements or alterations can be easily suggested to management. So people that are involved in the production process have more responsibility then they used to have.”

Great variety in what is assembled

“There is a lot of variation in what we produce at NTS Mechatronics. We make small components that are used in the semiconductor industry for instance, but we also make complete products. The electron microscopes for PhenomWorld are a good example. It is a range of microscopes that are relatively low-cost and easily manageable.”

Production free of contamination

“What we produce varies from low-complex to high-complex and everything in between. The numbers we produce them in vary as well and the degree of cleanliness of components also ranges. A lot of what we produce has to be very clean and free of contamination. The temperature in a clean room for instance has to be exactly right and the number of particles on the components has to be right. The degree of cleanliness depends on the specific process or the component. Therefore, the ISO classes, or in other words quality standards, of our cleanrooms vary as well.”

Working in a clean room

“Working in a clean room requires a background in, preferably, mechatronics and a lot of discipline. You have to be highly aware of what you do. You need to think about each action you take. When you have a cold for instance and you sneeze and you accidentally wipe your nose with your glove and then touch a component it might be contaminated. And afterwards it is very difficult to discover which part was affected exactly.”

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Extremely structured approach

“So engineers that work in cleanrooms have to be very structured. You need to be able to work exactly according to processes and you need to be able to follow patterns strictly. Working in a cleanroom means it is either black or white, there is no room for experimenting. You need to be able to oversee the consequences of the actions you take.”

“I started my career at Philips as a machine fitter. Later I was given the opportunity to prepare test settings for engineers. At day time I gained a lot of experience and in the evenings I studied. I then started working in the vacuum laboratory and there I laid the fundament for what I do now.”

Getting out of your comfort zone

“At NTS I started as a production engineer and half a year ago I started as a production leader. Besides being responsible for the production process, quality and cost control I am now also responsible for employees. For me this human resource component is really new. This new role for me in general meant getting out of my comfort zone. Something I feel everyone should do every now and then in order to be able to grow.”

Greatest challenge is delivering in time

“The greatest challenge in my job is to be able to deliver our products in time. It regularly happens that components are not delivered in time. Production always takes place at the end of a chain and that means there are a lot of dependencies on other parties that are involved in the process for us.”

NTS-Group offers lots of room for growth

Our demand for good employees is great. What is good about working at NTS-group is that there is no real hierarchy here and there is a lot of room for personal growth. NTS offers her employees development plans and training possibilities and offers them a lot of opportunities. This makes NTS a great place to make your ambitions come true.”

Michiel Bloemers leads the production process within NTS-Group’s clean rooms. Are you interested in working at NTS-Group or one of the other companies that are situated in the Brainport Eindhoven region? Then take a look at NTS’s vacancies or register for TalentBOX. After you register, your profile will be automatically matched with vacancies at NTS-Group or other companies in the Brainport Eindhoven region.

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