Volkert van der Wijk Constructur of Merit 2017

News - 11 December 2017 - PME

Volkert van der Wijk, Assistant Professor in ‘Fast-moving dynamically balanced robotics’ at the Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (Faculty 3mE), has been voted the 2017 Constructor of Merit. Volkert van der Wijk knows how to brilliantly combine art, mechanics and robotics. During the constructor’s day in Eindhoven, Van der Wijk talked about his artwork the ‘Taaie Tiller’ (the Hefty Hoister). It’s a kinetic artwork (a scaled down version of it) capable of hoisting a 300 kilo load out of the water and plunging it back into the water again from a height of 3 metres. This is done to encourage the viewer to never lose courage. During the event, Van der Wijk allowed his audience to experience the beauty of this balanced construction.

The Taaie Tiller is a ‘Sisyphus Machine’, named after the Greek hero Sisyphus, who managed to capture Thanatos, the personification of death. This machine honours Sisyphus as an intrepid optimist who never gives up.

The Jury (Robin Zander, editor-in-chief of Constructeur, and chair of the event Erik Tempelman, associate professor at the Department of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft), had the following to say about Volkert van der Wijk: "Volkert reveals the beauty of mechanics, not only in his artwork the “Taaie Tiller”, but also in robotics applications. Moreover, it’s great to see that you can create elegant constructions with classic mechanics. You don’t necessarily have to let yourself get carried away with the latest trends – for the sake of convenience, let’s just call them software, the Internet of Things or Industry 4.0. And look at the amazing result. Good reason for us to declare Volkert the 2017 Constructor of Merit.’

The scaled down version of the Taaie Tiller is 7 metres long and 4.3 metres wide. It’s permanently situated in the pond on the campus of the University of Twente in Enschede. You can witness this ‘small’ Taaie Tiller at work every day at 12:45 PM and 4:45 PM (it lasts 70 minutes). Now that this ‘small’ version of the Taaie Tiller is ready, Volkert van der Wijk is going to continue with the larger Taaie Tiller, which is six times the size of this one. It’s going to be installed in the Maas River in Rotterdam and will hoist 32,000 kilos 18 metres above the water. Read more on the Taaie Tiller website.

Constructor’s day
Engineersonline.nl organises the constructor’s day once a year. It’s a day full of inspiration and knowledge with prominent speakers, representatives from industry and colleagues. Participants include mechanical engineer constructors, technical designers, project engineers, project managers, R&D teams, consultants and lecturers/students (college/TU).