Sebastiaan got the opportunity in Twente to make innovative spin-off company successful

Sebastiaan Haanappel went to Twente for his studies. There, he joined forces with his business partner to establish their spin-off company in the worldwide composite materials market. Their company, AniForm Engineering, supplies software to the aerospace and automotive industries. This simulation software provides insight into the behaviour of composite materials during and after production so that the materials can be used more efficiently. This means that less material is used and that parts can be constructed in a better and more efficient way. AniForm Engineering works closely with the TPRC in Enschede and the Production Technology department at the University of Twente. They have specialised knowledge of materials, including thermoplastic composites. Want to know more about Sebastiaan? Continue reading below.

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In het kort

  • Sebastiaan moved to Twente to follow a master’s programme at the UT and then did his PhD research at the TPRC and the UT
  • Subsequently, Sebastiaan and his companion joined forces  to make successful their spin-off company; AniForm Engineering
  • AniForm’s software is used by many entities in the worldwide aerospace industry

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This article is part of a series called “Twente Leeft!” (Twente Lives!). You can read personal stories here about living and working in Twente. Twente is a nice place to be, according to the talents we meet. The beautiful nature, space, the down-to-earth mentality; they all characterise Twente. There are also plenty of career opportunities! Twente has many innovative, international and future-proof companies that are desperate for staff. Want to know what Twente has to offer? You can find Sebastiaan Haanappels' story below. 

Favourable business climate

Sebastiaan Haanappel is the father of two young children and co-owner of the successful spin-off. He grew up in the Randstad and also lived in Kampen for a while. He is not originally from Twente but settled down here when he started his master’s degree at the University of Twente (UT). He studied Mechanical Engineering at applied sciences level in Zwolle. Then, he wanted to deepen his knowledge and got in touch with the UT. The specialist expertise about thermoplastic composites in Twente and the favourable business climate for innovative and creative spin-offs are what ultimately made him decide to stay. 

TPRC

Sebastiaan was already very interested in composites during his studies. Composites are lightweight materials that are widely used in the aerospace industry. He was lucky that Twente is the place to be when it comes to thermoplastic composites because the TPRC research center (ThermoPlastic composites Research Center) is located in Enschede. In the end, Sebastiaan was the first PhD student to work at the TPRC. He did research on how thermoplastic composites behave during production. Having gained this knowledge, Sebastiaan decided to partner with his current business companion and make AniForm composite forming simulation software the golden standard in their targeted market. 

AniForm Engineering

Sebastiaan and his team develop software that simulates the behaviour of composite materials during production. They mostly supply their software to the aerospace and automotive industries, where all kinds of structural parts are made from composite materials. AniForm’s intelligent tool helps these companies to predict what will happen during production and how the product will behave in practice. “With a better understanding of how the material behaves during production, technicians will be able to find the optimal process and product through better reasoning. This allows companies to produce and develop products much more efficiently”, says Sebastiaan. This is not only more cost-effective; it also contributes to a more sustainable world. “I think this will have a long-term, global impact. Producing more intelligent reduces emissions and raw materials needed. For example, by reducing the needed amount of materials, constructing parts better and lighter, and by using production resources more efficiently. Composites are used in vehicles, both in the air and on the ground, so making the parts lighter will also reduce fuel consumption and emissions.” Ultimately, AniForm Engineering’s software, therefore, makes a very positive contribution to a solution for our environmental problems.

Opportunities for innovation

“I really like it in Twente, even though I am not originally from here. You can find nature within minutes, and the people are friendly and level-headed. I love mountain biking, and the environment here is perfect for that. Having that freedom is such a luxury.” Sebastiaan thinks that for him, Twente is the perfect place for developing his company. “It is peaceful here, and there is no busy and competitive atmosphere. This allows you to be as creative as you can be. If you put too much pressure on creativity, it will only backfire. You need mental space to be able to innovate, and you have that here; even as a company.”

Date: 18 May 2020
Source of tekst: AniForm Engineering
Author: Twente.com
Audio / video: Eric Brinkhorst