What works today, has to keep working ten years from now
The (intelligent) parts used by Duco for the development of its ventilation and solar shading systems carry a substantial amount of data. The cooperation with Proximus Accelerator Codit ensures that this information is used to its maximum capacity.
“We design and sell ventilation and solar shading systems, but not directly to the fitter,” Duco’s R&D Director Koen Maertens explains. “The fitter buys them from his dealer and afterwards he installs them. It is at that moment that these components, which are often bought separately, work together for the first time. We don’t play a part in that as such, but considering we work with modular system components, we do, of course, want our products to run smoothly.”
Maximum use of information
Koen: “Don’t forget that every house is different. Structural designs evolve as well, and let’s not forget the life cycle of a house either. What works today, still needs to work in ten to twenty years’ time. That is exactly why using smart control with our products is so important for us. Not only for use in specific circumstances, but also and mainly because they provide us with a substantial amount of information. In order to use that information to the fullest, we signed a partnership with Codit.”
“The core of the matter is that quite a lot of data is gathered about these used components,” according to Codit’s Marketing & Communication Manager Francis Defauw. “These data concern the components’ use, the environmental data, the way in which they are controlled and so on. We built a platform where all this information is brought together.” Francis: “In a next phase, we need to ensure that we handle these data carefully, because we differentiate between different levels. There is data for the end user, information that the fitter needs to be able to consult, and there is of course the helicopter perspective that needs to be available for Duco. The latter is a conditio sine qua non necessary to implement improvements. Moreover, these data can be linked with external circumstances. For example, a heatwave. That is, without a doubt, something that affects the way ventilation systems are used.”
Koen Maertens is Duco Ventilation & Sun Control’s R&D Director, which means he is ultimately responsible for everything to do with research and development, but also for a lot more than that. “I am combining this R&D position with product management, which means that apart from the current research projects, I am also involved in Business Development projects,” he says. “The key question that keeps me busy is: What can new technology offer us, the client and all stakeholders?'”
“The core of the matter is that quite a lot of data is gathered about these used components. These data concern the components’ use, the environmental data, the way in which they are controlled and so on. We built a platform where all this information is brought together.”
Preventive or predictive maintenance?
The information provided by these intelligent components appears to be extremely important for their maintenance. Koen states that “Traditionally speaking, maintenance is done based on fixed time schedules. As such, they are easy to plan, but this way of working also has one substantial disadvantage. Our devices are inevitably used differently by our various end users. If they are used less intensively, scheduled maintenance will be done too early. In the opposite case maintenance could be too late. And maybe malfunctions already occurred. So, economically speaking, this is not the best choice. Predictive maintenance means being able to carry out self-diagnoses. And that evidently brings us to smart products. Therefore, predictive maintenance allows you to reconcile efficiency with maximum cost reduction and the best possible customer service.”
“Predictive maintenance means being able to carry out self-diagnoses. And that evidently brings us to smart products. Eventually you reconcile efficiency with maximum cost reduction and the best possible customer service.”
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“Believe in the interaction between house, environment and inhabitants”
Duco Ventilation & Sun Control was founded in 1991, with roots firmly planted in the Westhoek (Maritime Flanders). The name of the company summarises its activities perfectly: to develop and market ventilation and solar shading systems. In the meantime, the company employs 250 people and covers the whole of the Belgian and Dutch markets of intelligent ventilation systems. The company is also a substantial exporter to all surrounding countries in Europe. “We strongly believe in active houses where there is an interaction between the building itself, its environment and its inhabitants,” R&D Director Koen Maertens explains.
“We offer total concepts. Not only for residential areas, but also for offices, schools and care facilities. In order to improve these total concepts, we expanded our product range with mechanical ventilation components ever since 2014. It is incredibly exciting to operate on both the Belgian and the Dutch markets. Whereas in the Netherlands, we are often faced with a project market where inhabitants are mostly tenants, in Belgium inhabitants want to build their own homes.”
- Founded in 1991
- 250 employees
- Specialist in the development and marketing of ventilation and sun protection systems. Offers total concepts. Not only for residential applications and apartments, but also for offices, schools and care facilities.