ICD Learning Day: 'The Miracle of Drachten'

News | December 10, 2020

One hundred and thirty technicians from Innovatiecluster Drachten presented the results of their search for innovations on Thursday 3 December. This happened during the annual ICD Learning Day. Guest speaker Jouke de Vries, president of the University of Groningen, said he was impressed. 'Your collaborating high-tech companies are 'The Miracle of Drachten'.'

Icd Learning Day Jouke De Vries 01
Jouke de Vries, president of the University of Groningen.

The inventor of the University of the North encourages governments, businesses and educational institutions to work together in so-called ecosystems. He thinks the high-tech ecosystem that the ICD companies have built up in and around Drachten is a good example. 'In my search for opportunities for the university to work together, I came across a bed in Drachten.' We now know the result as the Masters Degree Mechanical Engineering. Studying in Groningen and 'learning on the spot' in Drachten is the best combination imaginable, according to de Vries. 'That makes the collaborating high-tech companies the miracle of Drachten, because it houses wonderful companies that are important for taking the North further.' 


De Vries started the University of the North because of his criticism of the way universities work. According to him, the combination of international and regional is very fruitful and the solution for moving forward together. 'I started developing the Campus Fryslân from Groningen. The next step was cooperation with the ICD in the master Mechanical Engineering. The third step is close cooperation with Emmen and then with the Ems-Dollard region. Then we have a wonderful regional network.' According to the university president, Dwingeloo, Franeker, Leeuwarden, Oldenburg, Papenbrug and Hamburg are also part of this. 'Because, what actually is the North?', says De Vries. 

bring together

Curious about the results of the R&D projects, de Vries has another piece of advice for the engineers of our companies. 'Competition between companies is important, but collaboration and sharing ideas is even more important. After all, you have to stay sharp to develop new things on the edge of technology', he explains. According to De Vries, collaboration with the university is just as important. He advocates continuing to bring together professors, students, employees and executives for the next twenty years. 'Even though professors don't want to be bothered with entrepreneurial problems and commerce and prefer to just do research. Because if we want to keep doing research, we desperately need funding and cooperation from the business community!' 

R&D projects
Icd Learning Day 8 Projects

In four rounds, the engineers got to know each other and the projects that the collaborating high-tech companies are working on are: 

  • Smart Machines 2.0: Discover how big data can improve the predictive maintenance of systems around the world and in your factory.
  • Parts & components Inspection by Vision: new cameras, with vision setups and new vision applications.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: on data fusion, data integrity, anomalies and lessons learned.
  • CCR 2.0: Cobots in practice, new production processes safely automated and connected to Business Information Systems.
  • Paperless Factories: Lessons learned by the famous Fraunhofer Institute and translated in various ICD factories.
  • Advanced Additive: New insights into high performance 3D plastic printing and new 3D metal applications ready for NXT level + 3D electronics.
  • Flexible systems: how far has the team come with rapidly changing machine configurations?
  • Environmental protected electronics: coatings, castings and other protective measures. What is the best way?