We work together with Nexperia on several projects. Do you want to know what we do there? Scroll down and read this interview with Boudewijn van Blokland. Enjoy your reading!
Nexperia is a supplier of semiconductors. They mostly build standard products, for example, transistors and diodes. They deliver them in large volumes in total 100 billion pieces per year. Nexperia has front-end factories in Manchester, Hamburg and they have three back-end assembly sites in China, Philippines, and Malaysia. Originally, Nexperia was a part of Philips Semiconductors. The products invented here are already 50 years on the market. Later, the company became part of NXP and two years ago we became a separate company.
Within Nexperia, Boudewijn and his team are part of the department named equipment and automation technology. They build back-end equipment for Nexperia with pick & placement equipment, molding equipment, vision inspection systems and testers. They also work on software in factory automation.
Boudewijn is the group leader of the diebond development group in the department of equipment and automation technologies in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
How did you found Nobleo Technology?
I heard about Nobleo Technology quite fast when they started. About 7 years ago, we hired several people from their company to work at our ITEC department which is currently named the department of equipment and automation technologies. At that time, we were looking for mechanical and mechatronic designers. Nobleo Technology was positioned at that time more as a contractor agency with high-end people. That is when we cooperated for the first time.
What are you currently working on and what is Nobleo Technology’s involvement?
We asked Nobleo Technology to develop a mechatronic module where we had to add a moving additional servo axis in a current design. The current design was there but we asked them to adapt the design so that we have an additional servo axis inside the module with very tight requirements on the new servo axis. Besides the very narrow specification on the servo axis, we also asked them to have it at a certain target price. So basically, it must be very fast, accurate and cheap.
What was the purpose of the project?
The main idea was to make our system faster. In pick and place machines, we wanted to speed up the process in a certain way. As Nexperia, we strive to continuously improve our processes. However, I am not able to reveal more information, unfortunately.
Why did you look for help from outside your company? Why didn’t you make it internally with your employees?
We simply did not have enough resources available. We had some people from Nobleo already working here at Nexperia. At a certain moment, we were also invited to see the new headquarter of Nobleo Technology in Eindhoven and they introduced us to their new proposition. Besides providing their engineers as contractors and design people, they also started their own project agency to develop and build their own modules as an engineering agency. We decided, let’s give it a try. We already had good experiences in working with Nobleo. The competence level was also one of the main reasons. Nobleo has a good nose for the people that we need in Nijmegen. That is why, we already knew that people hired from Nobleo were quite good. At that moment, we wanted to see how their competences, speed, accuracy, and costs are when we give them a complete task of designing a module that we need for our system.
Can you describe to me the process of starting a project with Nobleo Technology?
What we normally do is that we first check what kind of machines or modules we have on our road map, what we can do in-house and what do we want to outsource. Let’s say that we have several modules that we want to outsource, then we have some initial talks to check whether a company, for example, Nobleo, can do it in our estimated timeframe. We estimate the timeframe based on how much time it would take us to make it. If the company confirms that they are able to deliver the outcome in the time set, we talk about more details. We share our costs estimate and requirements. Next, Nobleo comes back with the quotation about the throughput time, costs, etc. After that you normally start with the initial phase in the project way of working.
How would you asses the project and work of Nobleo Technology?
At this moment I am positive about the performance of Nobleo. In the beginning, we had, of course, some issues. Every company has its own language, you have to adapt to the language of the other company, and they have to adapt to your language. There was some some friction, some startup problems or communication was not clear but Nobleo started up quite quickly with the project structure and steering board structure. In that way, the steering board had fixed regular meetings. In these meetings we get updates on the process. Internally, we also have our own project lead who is in contact with the project lead from Nobleo on a regular basis.
The costs of a good target was challenging for the team. In the beginning, they could not make it. We refused their offer. Then, they reviewed their internal design and finally, they came back with a target which is below our requested cost price. That made us very happy of course. At this moment we got the final working prototype that will be tested in-house. After testing we can use the module in our system.
So at this moment we are looking for a new project that we can do with Nobleo Technology.
You gave it a try, has your perception of Nobleo Technology and their project proposition changed from before the start of the project until now?
I would say that it matches my expectations even maybe a bit above. This is mainly because they now deliver something that is below the costs of a good target that we initially agreed on.
Another question: How would you describe Nobleo Technology and the culture of the company?
I would say young, fresh and energetic. I think those are the main characteristics.
How innovative is Nobleo in their way of working and design?
I think that it is good. I do not say extremely good but also not average. It is good.
What is the UPS of Nobleo for you?
I think the competence level and pragmatic approach. These are two important features. What I see a lot in working with highly skilled people, is that it could happen that a pragmatic way of working is gone. However, this approach is still visible at Nobleo.
Why is this type of approach important?
I only know the Dutch word for it. It is “gezond boerenverstand” [en.: common sense].
My last question is, what is your advice to others who might consider working with Nobleo Technology?
Just give it a try! Or like a famous company says, just do it!
Are you interested in visiting our Nobleo Technology headquarters? You are invited!