SANDER VAN WEERDEN, CHEMICAL ENGINEERING ALUMNUS
Process engineer AT AkzoNobel
At high school I found bulk processes very interesting and I always enjoyed the combination of engineering and chemistry. So studying Chemical Engineering was the logical next step. During my last year of high school I visited various universities and liked the University of Twente most. It has a beautiful campus and, to my mind, it is the university with the strongest focus on preparing students for the 'next step' into the business world.
At the moment I work as a process engineer at AkzoNobel in Delfzijl. AkzoNobel is a company that operates in three markets: decorative paintings, performance coatings and specialty chemicals.
My responsibilities centre on four focal points: 1) day-to-day troubleshooting, making sure the plant runs as well as possible; 2) continuous process improvement, creating new ideas to improve processes and efficiency; 3) project support, taking part in large projects in which I am responsible for process technology knowledge; and 4) communication – I regularly lecture at universities, give guided tours and attend conferences and fairs to promote AkzoNobel and the work of process engineers.
The main benefit of having studied Chemical Engineering is that it familiarized me with all the basics in our field. At a plant it is very important that you see the connections between things. A deviation at the end of the process mahe have its source at the beginning. That is why it is important that you understand the effects of pressure, temperature and flow on quality, efficiency and capacity, so you can make the right decisions.
Make the most of your studies and take all the opportunities that are offered you, but above all don't forget to enjoy your time as a student. While you are studying, think about where you see yourself working after you graduate and base your choices on that.’