Innovation and collaboration are central during a prominent visit to technological companies in the northern Netherlands
News | November 17, 2023
On Thursday, November 16, the ICD had the honor of welcoming Sandor Gaastra, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. This visit gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the diversity and high level of technological companies in our region.
The program started at Photonis (Exosens Group), where plant manager Melvin Akker provided an overview of recent developments in the defense industry. These developments have led to the company making maximum efforts and now employing more than 400 employees.
This progress in the development and production of high-tech sensor and detection equipment is typical of the Northern Netherlands, where similar innovations are taking place at several locations. The visit concluded with a tour of the production facilities, where numerous precision processes could be witnessed.
Our second stop was at BD in Drachten, where host Joost Zeilstra, director of R&D, explained the significant impact of their technologies. BD works under the banner of SDG3: Health to combat bacterial resistance to antibiotics. With their rapid diagnostic methods for bacterial infections, they save lives around the world every day.
During this visit, during which representatives of the province of Friesland, the municipality of Smallingerland and the University of Groningen were present (with Prof. Dr. Joost Frenken, dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering of the RUG, who contributed via a video message), the future ambitions and plans of the ICD and the broader systems community are set out.
This was intended to better profile the unique 'Northern DNA': autonomous (factory) systems, a globally connected 'installed base' (>250,000 systems), high-tech sensoring & HPC, and the region's unique relationship with universities in Northern Germany.
The third visit was on NTS Drachten, where developments in high-tech ultra-precision technologies were highlighted. Klaas Geschiere, Managing Director of NTS Drachten, explained that renowned customers from all over the world come to NTS Drachten for the production of parts with extremely precise tolerances. R&D Manager Sytze de Graaf, PhD, Materials Specialist, demonstrated using electron microscope images the precision achieved when milling at the atomic level, comparable to machining risotto, but in metal.
Finally, each company discussed the collective benefits of the ICD and how these have and will continue to provide benefits in practice. In short, it was an inspiring day, not only for the visitors but also for the ICD board, which took this opportunity to get acquainted and see the impressive work flourish in practice.