Dr. Mireille Maenhoudt on her role as Head of Research & Development

Dr. Mireille Maenhoudt, Head of Research & Development, about her work at Heraeus
Dr. Mireille Maenhoudt, Head of Research & Development

“Innovation is a top priority at Heraeus. ‘It can’t be done’ is not in our vocabulary. Innovations require freedom – and that’s exactly what Heraeus allows its employees.”

Dr. Maenhoudt, how much innovative power does Heraeus have?

Innovation is indispensable for Heraeus. We know that innovation can arise only if you have the courage to question old practices and to replace them with new ones. At the same time, Heraeus gives its employees much freedom. Only this enables innovative thinking and acting.

You and your team at Heraeus Electro-Nite have just recently achieved a breakthrough.

Exactly. As Head of Corporate R&D at Heraeus Electro-Nite at our headquarters in Houthalen, Belgium, I am responsible for the worldwide development of innovative sensors for the steel, aluminium and foundry industry. Huge amounts of electrical energy are consumed especially in the steel industry. We have succeeded in developing a new type of sensor for the on-demand measurement of temperature in electric arc furnaces. This enables a better determination of the energy necessary to achieve the required end-temperature. Melting processes can thus be shortened. Each minute gained in this process means huge energy savings. The worldwide efficient use of our new sensor can enable energy savings equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of up to a million European households.

Apart from innovative power, what else characterises Heraeus as an employer?

I have consciously decided to work for Heraeus for several reasons: Heraeus shapes the future – we are developing new technologies on a regular basis. Heraeus Electro-Nite was one of the first companies to develop immersion sensors, which has made things even more exciting for me as a physicist. And I also find the fact that Heraeus is internationally positioned an important aspect for my personal growth but also the company's progress.

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