An Interview with Mark Simms – Research & Development Director at Ventac

Innovating a Quieter and More Efficient Future: An Interview with Mark Simms, R&D Director at Ventac

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In the world of cutting-edge research and development, Ventac is a leading player in the noise and control industry, serving major clients across the automotive and building sectors. At the helm of Ventac’s acoustic and thermal solutions is Mark Simms – the Research and Development Director. His commitment to excellence and innovation continues to reshape the landscape of electric vehicles, industrial projects, and thermal technologies. Keep reading to dive deeper into Mark’s fascinating role, current projects, and his favourite moments at Ventac.

Focusing on his role as the Research and Development Director at Ventac, Mark says: “My responsibilities encompass leading our research and development efforts since 2015. This includes overseeing production, manufacturing, and laboratory operations, as well as working closely with clients to deliver optimal solutions in line with industry regulations.”

Ventac is known for its innovative acoustic and thermal solutions. When asked about some of the exciting projects Mark is currently working on, Mark comments: “One of our key projects is the Thermal Battery Wrap, specifically designed for the electric bus market. With the rapid growth of electric vehicles worldwide, protecting battery performance becomes paramount. We see this as a crucial product, particularly as batteries age in the field. Our goal is to ensure battery longevity and mitigate potential failures, aligning with the evolving demands of the automotive sector.”

Ventac addresses unique challenges in the electric vehicle market. In order to achieve this, Mark explains his key processes: “To address our customers’ key challenges in the electric vehicle market, we’ve implemented new strategies. We’ve invested in state-of-the-art sound quality analysis equipment and software to better understand acoustic issues in vehicles. We’re also developing targeted, lower-weight acoustic and thermal solutions, crucial for electric vehicles where range is a top priority. Additionally, we’re working on high-efficiency thermal radiation elements to enhance passenger comfort while maintaining vehicle range.”

Mark and his team of engineers and acousticians continuously push the boundaries, and with the Innovation and Acoustics Laboratory, research and development breakthroughs are a common occurrence at Ventac. Most recently, Mark tells us: “In 2023, our prototype trials of the Battery Wrap resulted in immediate performance improvements, especially in harsh weather conditions. We also have a patent pending on a new acoustic composite floor, and we’ve expanded our R&D team, fostering a more innovative approach. One of our team members is even publishing an academic-level paper on the acoustic experience in new electric vehicles.”

Adaptivity to industry needs and trends are one of Ventac’s major strengths. Beyond electric vehicles, Ventac is exploring advancements in the acoustic, thermal, and vibration solutions space. “We’re actively exploring sustainable materials, such as Tersh, to address the increasing demand for reducing processed plastics. Sustainability is a significant focus, given our customers’ concerns about microplastics. Collaborations and partnerships are pivotal to our strategy, and we engage closely with our customers and third-level institutions to drive innovation.”

Innovation is at the core of Ventac, providing unexpected discoveries that shape the team’s journey to providing diverse solutions to multiple projects. Mark shares: “We stumbled upon the acoustic benefits of a 1000 degrees Celsius silica material, which also exhibited extreme temperature resistance. It was a pleasant surprise that has opened up new possibilities in our research. We’ve been structuring our R&D processes more efficiently, establishing an internal R&D Steering Group with cross-functional stakeholders to capture intellectual property effectively.”

Spanning 16 years at Ventac, Mark has worked on all sorts of projects, with some quite surprising testing methods, locations and customers. When asked about some of his favourite projects or moments, Mark responds: “I’ve had the pleasure of working on some fascinating projects, but two stand out. First, we worked on an army tank for the Royal Dutch army, combining acoustic solutions with an operator cabin made of glass. It was a niche project, but it exemplified our flexibility and problem-solving approach.

“The second memorable project involved measuring the acoustic properties of a bus on the Mira test track, a professional testing ground featured on Top Gear. It was quite an experience having to clear the track of Maseratis to bring a bus around a corner at full speed!”

For those interested in learning more or reaching out or working together with Ventac’s team on an upcoming project, you can contact Mark directly at msimms@ventac.com or at 045 851 500.

Ventac continues to lead the way in acoustic and thermal innovation, with great teammates like Mark who are making strides in the market while exploring sustainable solutions for a quieter and more sustainable future.

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