Eindhoven (NL), November 2022
Enthusiastic, hardworking inspirer and team player
During the 21st edition of the Precision Fair, the Rien Koster Award was presented under the auspices of DSPE (Dutch Society for Precision Engineering). Hans Vermeulen, senior principal architect at ASML and part-time professor at TU/e, received the prize for his tireless efforts in promoting and innovating in the field of mechatronics and precision engineering.
The Rien Koster Award is given to a mechatronics engineer/designer who has made a significant contribution to the field of mechatronics and precision engineering. The jury, now chaired by Ton Peijnenburg, deputy general manager and manager Systems Engineering at VDL ETG, uses four criteria in the assessment: oeuvre, creativity, relevance (social and commercial) and professional appearance. Also, the winner must have been working in the profession for at least fifteen years, have put theory into practice, contributed to the promotion of the profession, and know how to enthuse colleagues. He/she needs to have demonstrated exceptional competence and creativity, and achieved appealing results, which are recognised and acknowledged internally and externally.
The award was presented for the ninth time on Wednesday, 16th November. On behalf of the jury, Rien Koster, after whom the prize is named, presented the award to prof.dr.ir. Hans Vermeulen, senior principal architect EUV Optics System at ASML, part-time professor of Mechatronic System Design at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), and lecturer at the High Tech Institute.
Precision mechanics and mechatronics
Vermeulen has built up an enormous track record by successfully applying well-known design principles for precision mechanics and mechatronics on the one hand, and training and enthusing a new generation of precision engineers on the other. After obtaining his Ph.D. on the design of a precision machine tool, he started working for Philips CFT (Centrum voor Fabricage Technieken [Centre for Manufacturing Technologies]). There he worked on semiconductor equipment, including at a CFT site in the US. In 2007 he joined ASML, the current global market leader for lithography machines. There he has held various, ultimately leading positions within Development & Engineering and Research. In 2015, he was appointed part-time professor of Mechatronic System Design within the Control Systems Technology group of the TU/e Department of Mechanical Engineering.
In his roles at ASML and TU/e, Vermeulen is a driving force behind expanding the field. He pays attention to the basics and the history, as well as to new developments. For a long time, he was chairman and initiator of the National Mechatronics Working Group, which was set up to continue to stimulate sufficient attention for research in the field at high-tech companies and university departments outside Philips. Two years ago, he and his fellow professors from Delft and Twente, together with DSPE, took the initiative to compile a new standard work on design principles. With this updated edition of the existing books in this field, they follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, including Rien Koster. The precision industry is closely involved in this and contributes precision technological feats that are presented as examples on a special website and included in the book. The website went live at the Precision Fair and the book will be published in 2025 under the title “Design Principles for Precision Mechatronics”.
According to the jury and the referents it consulted, Vermeulen is characterised by his enormous energy and drive, his ability to explain things well and make them accessible to a wide audience, his historical awareness and his willingness to collaborate. “What struck me most about Hans was his inexhaustible energy. I still see that today, for example with driving the creation of a new version of “The Devil’s Picture Book” (by Wim van der Hoek, the founder of the field of precision engineering in the Netherlands and the predecessor of Rien Koster, ed.). For me, Hans is an inspirer in the field, not only technically, for precision mechanics, but above all personally: how do you make progress as a team?” Vermeulen is a team player who allows others to score and gives them a lot of space within a collaboration, according to the jury. Frequently heard keywords were: “Solid, hardworking, thorough, enthusiastic, can-do mentality.”
The importance of designing
With its Rien Koster Award, DSPE wants to highlight to the precision industry the importance of designing. In this industry, which can broadly be dubbed the ‘high-tech systems’ sector, the Netherlands plays a leading role globally, of which the book by Vermeulen et al. will once again give testimony. As a group leader at Philips CFT and a professor at TU/e and the University of Twente, the award’s namesake Rien Koster has made a major contribution to the Netherlands’ position in this sector. Koster is also the author of the renowned textbook Constructieprincipes voor het nauwkeurig bewegen en positioneren (Design principles for precision movement and positioning), one of the predecessors of the new book. The Rien Koster Award comprises a sum of money, donated by VDL ETG, and a trophy made by students of the Leidse instrumentmakers School.