- An iron made from biopolymers from beet pulp?
- A plane comprising only fiber-reinforced composites?
- Producing a complicated razor blade in one single movement, instead of 10?
- Completing the cycle but then in mass markets?
New materials (or new technologies for processing of materials) are important drivers behind innovation in the high-tech industry. The Northern Netherlands plays a larger role than you would expect in this working field. The ‘thinking about materials’ aspect may well be attributable to those sectors which in the past, but even now, process enormous volumes of materials. Ship-building for example, or the stainless steel sector. Whatever the reason, various companies and institutions are very actively moving forward.
Fokker in Hoogeveen is becoming the competence centre for lightweight materials (composites – aluminum) with a planned project in World Class Composite Solutions (WCCS) developing a regional ecostructure. Drenthe has a strong cluster in the field of green plastics and fiber chemistry (Green Pac), while the University of Groningen is exploring the limits of materials technology in the famous Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials (ZIAM). The Innovation cluster in Drachten is experimenting with 3d-technology. The bio-based economy, which is strong in the Northern Netherlands, and the Smart Factory program, the ‘thinking about materials’ process will certainly gain a new impulse. Could the materials side be the silent strength behind the HTSM sector in the Northern Netherlands?
Theme driver of the HTSM Northern Netherlands Task Force is Rob Goossens of Fokker Aerostructures