From graduating student to employee at MHB.
In January 2020, I successfully completed the Industrial Product Design course at the HAN in Arnhem (the Netherlands) and then joined one of the oldest family-owned companies in the Netherlands. An international company that is big enough to make an impact worldwide but small enough not to be a number. Those are important pillars for me and I found them at MHB.
Through a church in Nijmegen, I came into contact with the former director of the External Facades Business Unit at MHB. We started talking about possible internships at MHB and that’s how it all started. When I heard that MHB does not just make windows and doors, but distinguishes itself by high aesthetic appeal and operates worldwide, my interest was immediately piqued.
I was asked to design MHB’s own rotocrank and pushbar. At the time, MHB had a desire to grow in the US market and this market demanded these products. With the research question, I set out to develop a new product for MHB that would be a desired addition to the company’s product line. At the time, the rotocranks and pushbars did not fit on the ultra narrow MHB profiles and the style was not in line with what MHB wants to convey. In addition, they were often not of the desired quality.
You often hear from interns that they get the remaining tasks. I have to be honest; that is absolutely not the case at MHB. Within MHB, I was given complete freedom to conduct the research as I thought was right. I was responsible for what the product would look like, could make suggestions, and was allowed to actually develop the product. I went through the entire design process, first identifying all the requirements beforehand. I then came up with ideas and tested them against the requirements, after which I was able to work out a concept for the rotocrank and pushbar. I was delighted when MHB wanted to start using the rotocrank and pushbar after my research. It is of course a great honor that what you create as an (intern) product developer is actually produced. Partly because of the great freedom, unique and especially challenging projects, I chose to work as an engineer at MHB after my studies.
From trainee to engineer…
Towards the end of my internship, I was asked if I wanted to start my professional career at MHB as soon as I had finished my research. I said ‘yes’ with conviction. In addition to my daily work as an engineer, I also get the opportunity to participate in product development within MHB. The special thing is that I could now actually roll out the research I had done. I made the choice to run a pilot for the pushbar. After 3 pilot projects, more than 60 pushbars have now gone into production. Working as an Engineer is fun, challenging and sometimes tough. The first few months I worked on projects together with a colleague and went through all the steps from A to Z. This way I could learn all the tricks of the trade and know exactly how a project was put together. As I started to understand and master the process, the work became more and more fun. Now I work on larger projects like Frederiksbergkade, with more complex challenges. I am involved in a pre-engineering phase of this project and think along about the design and the feasibility and possible solutions that need to be done.
So what’s next
People listen with interest to my story when I tell them what beautiful and special product I am working on and for which market. It is and remains a truly distinctive product that almost no one else has. At MHB we can realize almost anything and that with solid steel! A fact that makes me get surprised looks is that MHB has existed for 350 years and is a real family business. Partly because of the many opportunities and possibilities you get, you keep developing and the work never gets boring. It is a company that values your opinion, skills and expertise. In the future, I hope to shift more from implementation to product development because this is something I want to focus on in the coming years.