Helping engineers eliminate repetitive work

Reinier van Dijk and Max Baan, two co-founders of ParaPy, have an ambitious plan: to help automate repetitive and time-consuming design processes and give engineers more space to test creative iterations of their products. With an investor and Fokker Aerostructures as their first big customer already onboard, the two are definitely on the right track.

“Our vision is that, nowadays, engineers are a bit too much of an assistant to their computer. Many of them are sitting behind their screens, pressing buttons and doing repetitive work… We hope to reverse [this trend]: We want to make applications that become an assistant to the engineer again.”

Reinier and Max, both with a background in aerospace engineering, met a bit over a year ago and quickly bonded over their enthusiasm for building a software platform that would help engineers do their work faster and more easily. They developed ParaPy (short for Parametric Python), a platform consisting of source code libraries that developers use to make applications. These applications, in turn, “enable them automate design processes […] for complex products”, Reinier explains. Such products include “aircraft, boats and cars, where a lot of time is currently spent on repetitive work like 3D modeling and simulations.” While customers can use ParaPy’s libraries to single-handedly create applications that serve their own needs, they can also outsource the application development process to ParaPy’s team.

The goal of it all is to help engineers become more productive by doing things faster, and by testing multiple iterations in a process. “We envision that companies will easily be able to do tens of thousands of iterations to come up with the best products,” Reinier said.

After months of research and some initial prototyping, ParaPy was officially founded in April 2016, with Reinier, Max and their first investor onboard. Also in April, the team secured a three-month pilot project with aviation company Fokker, which has become one of their first big customers together with the TU Delft. Reinier and Max are looking forward to a one-year project with the company, during which they will work on developing applications.

Apart from that, the team has also negotiated a five-year deal with the TU Delft to use their technology for research on the one hand, and to teach a course in Knowledge-Based Engineering on the other hand.

Helping them along the way has been YES!Delft, whose Incubation Program the two co-founders describe as a one-of-a-kind learning experience.

“We learned a lot in a very small amount of time,” Max said, referring to the myriad of workshops on different topics that they have gone through. “Also, it has been a good reality check for us, to have [experts] critically look at our company – the team and the product – and get some assessments. Now we are better prepared for what’s coming.”

And what’s coming is actually a whole lot. As a main priority, Reinier and Max are looking to attract more projects in similar industries. “We have one good market fit, but that’s only for aerospace engineering,” Max said. “We’re curious to see if that’s also the case for the automotive industry or maritime, among others.”

In the meantime, the team will be working to improve their product and deliver exceptional quality to their first customer, Fokker, by creating applications that would offload engineers from a lot of their repetitive work.

At the end of the day, the mission is clear: Engineers should once again have the space to “ask the questions, come up with the ideas and then have the tools to help them in answering them quickly.”

April 2016
– Founded company
– First investor onboard
– Pilot project with Fokker

May 2016 – Admission to YES!Delft’s Incubation Program
November 2016 – First industrial customer (Fokker) signed

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