Dries Rosseel (electrician)
It gives me a kick every time a bus rolls out of the factory under its own power.
For several years now, VDL Groep has been involved in the development and production of electric transport vehicles. Dries Rosseel works in the Electro Hoogspanning department at VDL Bus Roeselare and is one of the employees within the group that ensures the hybrid and electric buses work as they should when they roll off the line.
How did you end up in this department?
“In 2010, when I began at VDL Bus Roeselare as an interim employee, this department did not yet exist. I started in the 24 volt electrical department, also referred to as Laagspanning Electro. This department handles the connection of all the components that require low voltage to operate, such as lighting, opening and closing of the doors and ventilation. In mid-2013 the Electro Hoogspanning department was established for the construction of hybrid buses. Given that I had expressed an interest in taking on new challenges in my work, I was asked to work in this department. Facing the unknown and working on innovative projects is exactly what appeals to me.”
Was it a big change?
“Yes, it sure was. Working with high voltage is quite different and requires new technical knowledge. In order to work in this department I completed a special safety training programme. The course was specifically prepared for VDL Bus Roeselare, in collaboration between our internal occupational safety and health department, various technical departments and an external knowledge and training centre. I'm currently following an electrical training programme. Seeing as how the training is continuously updated to include the latest technology, they are adding to the programme all the time.”
And how are things going now?
“It is and remains an improvement process. After delivery of the hybrid buses we remain in contact with the customer via our after-sales colleagues. When a problem arises, we regularly go to the depots to see what is going on and how we can solve it. The information we gather is fed back into the process so it doesn't happen again. Recently, for example, we implemented a change to all the emergency stop buttons. They were frequently producing a false signal, preventing the bus from continuing on its way.”
Where are the batteries actually located in the bus?
“That depends on the customer's preference. We have produced series in which the batteries were placed at the rear of the bus, but for the order for 43 VDL Citea SLFAs we placed the batteries – in that case nine – on the roof. These batteries are first connected to each other and then to the inverters. But before we do that we first measure whether all the insulation values are correct to ensure it is safe to connect the bus to the high voltage. I'm always a bit on edge when it comes time to start a system for the first time. It gives me a kick every time a bus rolls out of the factory under its own power.”