Mikrocentrum in Eindhoven. © Mikrocentrum
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Few people speak the language of tech, yet many work in it. Basic technological knowledge is much needed and essential to understanding the mechanisms of engineering and manufacturing processes if you are servicing these companies. As an outsider to the tech world, terminology can seem overly difficult. By learning more about it, not only the quality of work will improve, but so will professional satisfaction. Mikrocentrum in Veldhoven is the first to launch a course that makes the “foreign language” of technology understandable. Jan van Moorsel, former Deputy Director of Mikrocentrum tells us more about it.

What was the motivation to start the ‘Tech for non-tech’ course?

“There was a need at Brainport tech law to serve their clients in the high tech and manufacturing industry with a better understanding of tech language and processes. Brainport Techlaw is a platform with about 60 members, such as lawyers, financial controllers, and affiliated professionals. They are our target audience since they don’t have in-depth knowledge about technology. Hans Bloemen, at that time, the chairperson of Brainport Techlaw requested that we make a proposal for such a course. Within the course, I’m sharing my knowledge about design and engineering, manufacturing and assembly processes. What materials and techniques do they work with? What issues do they have to deal with?

Also, many scientific organizations that serve the technology industry have no idea about manufacturing technology such as CNC milling, laser cutting, CNC sheet metal production, geometric measurement, welding, surface treatment, plastic injection molding, motion control, or ultra-precision technology, etc. There was no course that provided an overview of manufacturing technology for non-techs in the market to explain it in a nutshell.”

What was the target audience? Who were the participants?

“Legal counsels, lawyers, investment analysts, business advisors, business developers, tax consultants, IP counsels, accountants, and investors. Also scientific engineers who had a limited amount or no technical knowledge in those areas.”

Jan van Moorsel and the trainees of the course.
Jan van Moorsel and the trainees of the course. @Mikrocentrum

What did it look like? What kind of activities did you organize?

“It’s a course of two half-days that gives an outline of the main processes and technology of the suppliers in the industry. I explain everything using the corresponding terminology and prepare a PowerPoint presentation with many examples.  Trainees receive an excursion on the work floor to connect the theory to practice. Many companies have opened up as guest companies in recent years, such as VDL ETG, Medanco or GL Plastics, etc. At the end of each session, companies share their practical experience with the trainees about IP and legal issues.”

What is the feedback?

“Yes, they are satisfied, they receive a lot of information within a short space of time. The syllabus with an outline of processes and technology can be helpful for their daily contacts with clients.”

Why is this course special in this field?

“There are no similar courses in this field. This course explains what technology is, not how to use it. This course gives an outline of the manufacturing processes from design and engineering, component manufacturing to assembly. I give an overview from conventional to computer-controlled milling, turning and fundamentals of electric discharge machining. Computer-controlled bending of sheet metal, surface treatment, laser cutting, welding, casting, and new ultra-precision technologies such as precision laser machining.

New technologies are also on the agenda, like smart industries such as robotics, digital twins, IoT, additive manufacturing, augmented-, mixed-, and virtual reality, and much more.”  

Are you planning to continue?

“Yes, we will continue this course at the end of the year on November 10th and 24th. I think participating in this course can be considered a “must” for all service organizations which serve clients in these technology companies.

Anyone who doesn’t have a technical background themselves but makes money in the manufacturing industry (as an investor, civil servant, lawyer or costumer) do really need the knowledge that is shared in this course. It seems obvious that they should have an idea about turning, milling and wire erosion if they are to take themselves seriously in the Brainport region here. By understanding the manufacturing processes and techniques of prototyping and manufacturing, they will become better professionals.

Who better to teach this course than Mikrocentrum. For 50 years, we have been training – and bringing people together – to share knowledge and to network. We know the High-Tech Industry like nobody else and like to help others understand it better.”