But what happens the rest of the year?
Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) is preparing for the opening of the eighth Dutch Technology Week, a large event for which hundreds of visitors are expected. Campus Director Erik Veurink is very proud to welcome the top of the Dutch technology sector on Monday. “We are the face of the high-tech manufacturing industry. This is the place where the most innovative and successful companies and institutes from the Brainport region come together as one.” For Veurink it is also a good reason to show the country what has happened on his campus lately. We already made a selection.
In the green building along the A2 motorway, companies are working on complex, small parts, such as lenses smaller than 1 mm. Anteryon makes optical modules for the measuring of land or the freshness of fruit and vegetables. It also supplies precision glass and sensors for ASML machines. At the beginning of this year, the company came into Chinese hands. In that country, there will be a factory to produce large volumes for the consumer market—lenses for cameras, 3D facial recognition and fingerprint scanners in smartphones. CEO Gert-Jan Bloks assures that the knowledge gained here cannot possibly all be moved to China. However, the company must continue to focus on innovation to develop optical modules that can do more than they do now.
In this programme, seven fieldlabs will be set up around trends in the high-tech manufacturing industry under the ‘Factory of the Future’ innovation programme. More than seventy companies and educational and knowledge institutions are currently involved. The fieldlab Advanced Manufacturing Logistics, for example, opened its doors last week. Here, companies test in a real-time test environment with robots and AGVs to gather knowledge about logistic processes.
These autonomous trolleys and robots also require smart software, which they are working on at the Software Competence Centre (SCC). “Everyone sees the complex machines, but the software behind them remains hidden. Here we want to show how important good software is,” Wim Renders says. The SCC must become the place for companies in the manufacturing industry to gain insight into the changing role of software, to experiment with new technologies and to start working on innovations that secure their future. Renders: “Digital twins, for example, allow you to modify an entire production process or design a 3D prototype. An AGV in a factory must be able to work with different systems, in such a digital environment we can test that and add software.”
At BIC, you will not only find entrepreneurs but also students from Summa College. Here they follow regular courses or are retrained for companies such as VDL. Summa College draws up these courses in cooperation with companies. Students are taught here with the practice staring them in their faces. And Solar Team Eindhoven, the famous student team of the TU/e, has also found its way to BIC. They are producing the fourth edition of the solar-powered family car here. The presentation of the vehicle will be in July at the latest, then the car should be able to drive over 1,200 kilometres with one charge. In October, the team will travel to Australia where they will participate in the Solar Challenge.
Besides Anteryon with their small parts, KMWE also produces metal parts for the JSF, of which more than 3000 will be built in the coming years. KMWE Director Edward Voncken is happy to expand this assignment on campus: “We are currently manufacturing parts for both the aircraft itself and its engine. Some 50 to 100 people are now working on our defence activities. We would like to see that grow to 100 to 150. There is still plenty of room for that at the location where we are now.”
Brainport Industries Campus is one of the hotspots during the DTW’s High-Tech Discovery Route – Saturday 25 May.