Engineering Spotlight: Daniel Hernandez

Tell me a bit about your role within the Digital Displacement team?

I’m a Product Application Engineer based in Ames, Iowa working within the Digital Displacement team. I joined the team in April so I’m fairly new but it has been fantastic so far!

My responsibilities are focusing on the application of the product when it comes to integrating it into customer machinery or technology and how it will react with the rest of the machine as well as how we can optimize the performance for each individual customer. We support the customer in the application of DDP and troubleshoot any issues they may have. We like to position the role as sitting in between sales and engineering. 

How did you get into engineering?

I grew up in Mexico where I lived with my dad who owned a company that specialized in radio antennas. During the Summer break, I would work in the manufacturing facility, so I have had an interest in engineering from a young age, at school I was fairly proficient in maths and physics so a career in engineering was always something I wanted to pursue.

After high school, I studied for a degree in mechanical engineering, and right now I’m studying part-time for my Masters in Controls and Mechatronics at the University of Washington. Danfoss is currently supporting me with this which is fantastic.

How did you fall into the role you are in now?

A friend that I studied with was interning at Danfoss and they told me it was a great company to work for and a great experience, so I applied for an internship for a year in 2017 then transitioned full time in 2018.

The first team I worked with was supporting traditional axel piston pumps before transitioning to the Digital Displacement team so I was aware of DDP and what they were trying to achieve before I joined the team– I would hear about it within the company when it was in research and development, and I thought it sounded really interesting. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to move over the team 

What do you find the most interesting thing about Digital Displacement?

The sheer number of possibilities that it offers! The pump can not only affect the efficiency of the valves and pump system but the whole entire machine it is applied to. The benefits to the customer include increased energy efficiency, reduced carbon as well as an increased level of control which would make operation easier on the user. 
What would you say to someone considering using Digital Displacement pumps within
their technology/machinery?

 I would say, you need to try it and see how it feels – we’ve been able to accomplish so much with just a pump! That’s my sales pitch! For example, the changes we have made to the excavator market so far has been amazing, we’ve been able to show how the pump would work in multiple situations and also, it is really quiet which people have been surprised by in compared to a traditional hydraulic pump. 

What streams of engineering do you see yourself being involved with in the future?

I would like to get more into general systems engineering and controls once I complete my masters it would be interesting to explore what opportunities within DD would be available to me at that point. Having said that, I do really enjoy my role as applications engineer as it’s allowed me to learn so much and get involved with such an exciting project that is really going to be a game changer in the market. 

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