Enabling change through technology
Sido Kermans - CTO
Changing times lead to a changing world. A lot of major changes are often reflected in the use and development of technology. In the engineering playing field, we have always been at the cutting edge and able to anticipate upcoming changes. But there’s no use being a frontrunner if we don’t have a strong connection with the market.
The shift in position made by our colleague Sido Kermans shows how we can further serve our current – and future – markets. After being VP Product Development for 10 years, he has now become Aeronamic’s CTO; a reason to celebrate as well as reflect on.
Back in the day
Sido Kermans: “Twenty years ago we were facing an enormous challenge. Our pneumatic products were being phased out, which led us to search for new systems to ensure Aeronamic’s long term continuity. This turned out to be an exciting as well as challenging endeavour. What pushed us were the global developments of the time and the challenges we faced as a society; for example, the drive to reduce CO2 emissions and how this led to new requirements when it came to technology. We now needed electric systems to replace the pneumatic ones, and the load-compressor became a steppingstone in our search for new systems. We anticipated the rise of electrification and therefore needed to electrify our compressor. During this process, we made a bold move: alternating current was the rule, but we chose to develop DC-driven solutions.”
From technology expert to critical enable
“We have always been there for our customers, but there were times when we were further ahead in our work than they could fully comprehend. Only later did they appreciate that what we had developed was something they actually needed. One of our customers noted how we were in a sweet spot to help achieve society’s sustainability goals, in the right place at the right time in a very, very big market. Looking back years later, you can now see how we managed to build a strong, technological organization. We succeeded in solidifying our business as Aeronamic and gained a reputation as people who could push limits. Meanwhile, DC-driven solutions became the rule, even outside the aerospace industry! This turned out to be a good thing, because now that we’ve developed the technology, it was time to find the organizations which could benefit from it. These new industries know how to find us and we know how to find them. Having so many options for our technology means we’re in a position to cherry pick our projects before deciding where to dedicate our time and commitment in further development. In my role as CTO, I can truly support Aeronamic’s customers as their enabler. An enabler needs to have expert knowledge of both the industry and the product. It’s a fulltime job scanning new industries, distilling their needs, and then matching them with our technology.”
Beyond the engineering playing field
“More than ever, our technology has the potential to make breakthroughs happen. This is also true on a societal level when it comes to sustainable aviation. We are now teaming up with the research institute TNO and, at the same time, new budgets are being assigned for investments, such as at the MoU (a partnership between Airbus and the Dutch government). When you consider that our workforce consists not only of mechanical engineers, but also electrical engineers and software specialists, plus my move to the role of CTO and our own Mission Zero program … well, it’s all perfect for a world in which there is a new appreciation of people working in tech and where tech as a whole has a different impact on a global scale. Aeronamic has likewise redefined its role, ensuring continuity, helping us carry the torch of enthusiasm, and giving us the daring to take chances when we see opportunities.”
Which industry do you think Aeronamic could play a role in as enabler?