Sometimes it’s hard to focus on business objectives. As a group of companies we design, produce and sell instruments based on precision mechanics, photonics and thermal controllability technologies. The markets are well-defined: high-tech systems, pharmaceutical, medical, aeronautics and space. So far so good, and as CEO I try to keep everybody focused on the right projects and products.
But what to do if you are asked to do something very exciting, in an area that is not even a market yet? Let it pass, or accept the challenge even though this is not part of your core business?
Last month we discussed and executed projects in fields that could be called “expensive hobbies” or “cash-consuming sports”. One concerned monitoring the forces on and the shape of the sails and masts on a racing yacht. Very interesting to see what could be learnt about the optimum trimming of a sail and mast and the real-time reconstruction of these shapes on a screen.
Another fascinating project was measuring the down force on the rear wing of a racing car. We only had a very limited time slot to set up the system, but we managed to get it up and running in a few weeks by using some fibres and FBG sensors from stock and the demo Gator multiport monitoring system. The data acquired by taking measurements at various locations on the car was quite confidential, but I can reveal that the behaviour of the wing at high speeds was surprising, at least to us.
So, hobby or business, you never know what comes out of these projects and they are too much fun to turn down.
Focus is good, but it shouldn’t stop us from taking on those unorthodox challenges from time to time.
Pim Kat, CEO