working together to overcome challenges

At Aalberts advanced mechatronics, every day is filled with new technical challenges. But tackling them isn’t just a matter of developing new technologies – it takes people who enjoy learning from and supporting each other so that together we can deliver. One colleague who shares this love for teamwork is Henri Huizer, Team Leader in the cleanroom at Pneutec.

Henri joined Pneutec in October 2018. He’d been working in the logistics industry but was ready for something new. “In my old workplace there was a lot of dust everywhere and it seemed unhealthy to me,” he explains. “I was fed up with working in a dirty environment, so working in a cleanroom seemed like a nice change of pace!”

From the get-go Henri got the opportunity to work on a variety of demanding projects. Most recently he and his team have been focused on expanding the cleanroom to double its previous size, which entails figuring out the layout of the new space and what equipment they need and would like to have, as well as hiring new people for when the expansion is ready.

 Renovations are always an undertaking, but carrying one out in a cleanroom is extra complex. “Some rooms are closed right now because they need to be updated, so all the materials that come in and go out have to go into a very small room,” Henri explains. Adding to the complexity, regular work is happening during all of this. “We also have to cope with high demand from our customers and also high quality expectations,” he says.

 “We have to do all the work we have to do, in the way the customer wants, in much less space than we are used to,” Henri continues. “Logistically it’s quite complicated. The usual flow is not possible. We’ve had to change the way we do things. Balancing the expansion and meeting our customers’ expectations takes a lot of hard work!”

 One of Henri’s main priorities is keeping his team happy and motivated. “We have to do our work well; there’s no point in rushing and having a bunch of orders come back because they aren’t good enough,” Henri says. “Therefore I try to stay relaxed and positive and show appreciation for what my team is doing. It’s really important to me that they are happy, because if they are enjoying their work then we will get more done and it will be better quality.”

 Fortunately Henri has had good support during this hectic period. “Our HR team and my fellow team leaders have been very helpful,” he says. “The team leaders meet regularly to share advice and learn from each other. During the pandemic we were separated, which made this difficult, but now we can meet in person again and it’s working much better.”

It also helps that Henri has a solid team. “We have a really diverse mix of people and cultures and styles, but everyone is dedicated and is willing to share their ideas and help each other,” he explains. “We work inside a small space with the same people all day long, so you need to be tolerant and get along with people that are different from you.”

After all the months of hard work, Henri can see the light at the end of the tunnel. “The expanded cleanroom should be open soon,” he says. “This has been a challenging period, but also a learning experience for everyone involved. I hope that everybody will be happy with what we have built together and that it will help us work more efficiently and with even better quality. When it’s all over we’ll have a big party. We deserve it!”