CDA Fryslân on a high-tech safari

News | November 7, 2019

Why is there so much attention worldwide for public transport? Is hydrogen really the future? And why do large high-tech companies share knowledge with small ones? Wednesday 6 November received CDA States members from Fryslân answers these and more questions during a high-tech safari. 

After the successful working visit, DGA Bas de Nooijer from door producer Ventura Systems in Bolsward received an invitation to share his knowledge about the future of public transport at the provincial government. Because it is logical that sustainable public transport is a priority for States members. After all, the pressure on mobility is increasing. Not only because of the harmful emissions of CO2 and nitrogen, but also to guarantee the accessibility of urban areas and, important for Fryslân, to keep the countryside liveable. According to De Nooijer, the Northern Netherlands is the ideal test region for new forms of public transport, including autonomous driving. "With 5G, we have the infrastructure, there is high-tech knowledge and our roads are very suitable for it." 


During the tour of his 'bus door factory', he shows how complete bus, metro and train door systems are delivered to the customer within six weeks. Worldwide, because only two bus manufacturers in the Netherlands use Ventura doors. “All buses in London, Singapore and Sydney run with bus doors from Bolsward. No fewer than 30,000 doors leave our factory every year and this number is growing'', explains De Nooijer as an example.

Share knowledge

Chairman of Innovatiecluster Drachten, Binne Visser van Philips, already summarizes the cooperation of our high-tech companies at the start of the working visit. ,,We are not a support group, we do something!''. The stories of plant manager Sybren Reinsma van prove this Stork Turbo Blade from Sneek and DGA Rob Castien van resato from Assen. The collaboration of our high-tech companies works. When it comes to sharing knowledge, but certainly also about recruiting technical talent or retaining it for the Northern Netherlands once the degree has been obtained. Castien summarizes the motivation for collaboration in this way. “We work together on subjects that we are too small for independently. We learn from each other because we speak the same language, we all develop our own products and run into the same problems in international sales and service.” With open arms, Castien welcomes trainees, who make up no less than 10 percent of its workforce. “And we contribute to the hydrogen policy for the Northern Netherlands. We now have 40 people working full-time with hydrogen and this number will continue to grow in the coming years.”

3D printing

Reinsma of the 'vane factory' for power plants wants to lead the way within Stork (18,000 employees in 100 countries). “We don't want any Stork location to be able to get around us. And that is successful, partly thanks to the collaboration within Innovatiecluster Drachten.” Stork in Sneek is assigned production from different locations, because of their lead with 3D metal printing. ,, Together with other ICD companies, we use the 3D metal printer in the ICD shared facility center in Drachten. Started with a few hours of development time, we now have an employee of ours two days a week.” Reinsma is discovering the possibilities of 3D metal printing together with other companies and students from the University of Groningen. “It means a different way of thinking and working. In printing, you design products to build on while milling designs on the take-away principle. The best part is that we can now make things that we couldn't do before with metal milling. Colleagues in other Stork locations also see that.”


The States members are very interested in hydrogen, when Castien talks about the construction of special filling stations throughout the Netherlands in which his company is participating. He does not completely remove the fear of hydrogen as hyperflammable, although they do understand that the technology is in good hands at Resato. After all, Resato is a specialist in the field of extremely high pressure of 14,000 bar. A member of the state wants to know whether the wild stories about the unfeasibility of the infrastructure are correct. Another has questions about the range of hydrogen buses. But the key question is: will everything be electric or not? Castien believes that everything that now runs on petrol will be electric and all diesels will be hydrogen. "In both cases we speak of electric driving and only the energy storage differs." Fuel cells (with hydrogen) are necessary, because otherwise the current electricity network would have to be five times as heavy. That, according to Castien, is not realistic. “That is why we are in talks with other parties about a plan for good coverage of hydrogen filling stations. Because pay attention, within five to ten years driving on electricity will be cheaper than fossil fuel."