For the first blog post, in the series of "Meet the Qteam", we had an interview with Ruben Geutjens, the CTO & co-founder of Qlayers. Read Ruben's story here.
A Belgian Scientist in the Netherlands
Originally from Hasselt, Belgium, Ruben moved to the Netherlands for his studies and got his masters in Novel Aerospace Materials at Delft University of Technology focusing on the development of new materials for aerospace applications.
Because of his fascination with nanotechnology, in 2015, he did an internship in University of Minnesota (USA) doing research on a coating based on nanoparticles for making electrochromic windows. During his thesis he also worked on magnetocaloric nanoparticles and their application for magnetic refrigeration and cancer treatment.
“It is very interesting that in nano scale, you have properties that you don't find on the large scale. n For example, if we can print things with these nanoparticles, we can get extra functions that are not possible with other materials. Small changes can have a big impact either positive or negative. We have to sometimes look at the small scale to understand what's happening at the big scale and that is very inspirational for me”
Bringing ideas to life
Ruben and his team started to design a coating head to apply coatings in a controlled environment which prevents the paint particles being released to the environment.
His role in the company
CTO, co–founder, R&D accelerator, supervisor of Sharkskin team, head of technology development are just some of Ruben responsibilities in the company. Starting a new company requires embracing the Start-up mindset of being bold, having a vision, embracing risk, observing the environment, and learning every day.
Ruben works on several projects, but he enjoys the research part the most.
"There is a lot of diversity in my job from focusing on offering the best solution to clients to moving towards future proof of concepts. The fact that I am constantly active in different fields is what I like the most about my job”
“Now my hobby is actually renovating the house! I'm expecting a daughter in April and that will probably change my life. But still, I would like to see if I can find some time to still build things again.”
Goals and ambitions
What Ruben and his team are doing at Qlayers is really disrupting the current coating application methods by bringing the new ways to apply the coatings in an efficient and sustainable way, to various industries.
Ruben is envisioning a day that Qlayers technology can help researchers bring their coating discoveries out of lab environments and apply them on an industrial scale.
"Qlayers can just be that kind of company about which the researchers say, okay, I have this coating and I need an optimal way to apply this coating, so I will use the Qlayers system to figure out the ideal application settings.
Qlayers is currently developing 2 new coating robots, 10Q for coating storage tanks and BL8 for coating wind turbine blades. The patented print head technology enables to spray coatings without any overspray and in a fully automated and controlled way.
In addition, Qlayers is the only company worldwide that can apply sharkskin riblets in a cost-efficient and tuneable way on large industrial surfaces.
“It is amazing to see something going from an idea to something really feasible” says Ruben. “I’m proud of the fact that now we are building a team that is having more knowledge than I could ever have myself. We are using that knowledge to develop our technology further. That is really, really something I'm proud of. I hope in the future we can provide our knowledge to researchers and manufacturing industry to bring the next revolution in the coating process. "
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