29 January 2008

Additional information Xennia

On the website of Mechatronica Magazine, an article is published about the Programme for Hightech Systems. The article states that The Netherlands should be focused more on knowlegde management and sharing. The inkjet technology is one of the key technologies in this programme.

The original article is in the Dutch language. This is a summary of the article in English.

Mechatronic research and innovation are traditionally the domain of large companies and universities. However, in order to remain competitive in the high-tech world, things must change. The Programme for High-tech Systems explains how.

Dutch society has an economy that is performing exceptionally well, thanks to its export-driven High-Tech Systems (HTS), petrochemical and food-processing industries. The HTS industry, in which mechatronics plays an important role, is one of the major exporters: 18 of the 20 billion Euros added value comes from exports. Thanks also to this substantial balance of payments surplus, the Netherlands is well able to provide welfare and care.
In the future the Netherlands will, however, have to depend even more on its strong position in the international web of knowledge economies. This is because its supply of natural gas is running out and thus the income that this produces will cease. From that moment on we shall have to rely entirely on our own strength. Standing still means decline. We cannot afford to allow others to lead the field while we lose market share.
That is why the Netherlands has to invest in its HTS industry, which is precisely the aim of the HTS platform, with its Programme for High-tech Systems (PFHTS). This platform is made up of OEM companies, suppliers and knowledge institutes.

First step
The Programme can be divided into three sectors: advanced motion systems, nano-instrumentation and autonomous robotics. The focus within the motion systems is based on the competences that Dutch industry has built up over the past few decades, such as inkjet systems, overactuated and ultralight systems, systems for use in a vacuum and systems with active soundproofing. In all these examples accurate positioning – in other words mechatronics - plays a central role
The same competences lie at the heart of the nano-instrumentation sector. The development of the required imaging and calibration systems, such as Atomic Force Microscopes, electron microscopes and aerospace instruments, demands ultra-precise control of the position. They thus dovetail perfectly with the HTS industry.
The third sector, autonomic robotics, needless to say, also involves mechatronics. Historically, this field has been strongly oriented to production environments. During the past ten years or so, however, robots have been emerging from the factory and moving ever closer to people. Unlike industrial automotons, these robots operate in an undefined and changing working environment. This is a new challenge because it is not about working even faster and more accurately, but because the environment is completely different from a static production setting.

Advanced motion systems
This sector can be divided into four areas: inkjet systems, overactuated and ultralight systems, motion in a vacuum and active soundproofing systems.
The organizations that are working together within the Hiprints project to access the market for inkjet systems are Assembléon, NTS, Océ, OTB,  Stichting Mechatronica Vally Twente, TNO, the TU Delft and the University of Twente. This market is expected to grow from almost 900 million Euros in 2007 to 35 billion Euros in 2017.

Océ’s interest in this project is in the development of print heads with a wider area of application. For Assembléon, printed electronics offers an opportunity for broadening its scope and for growth. The need for new machines may generate new companies, such as Pixdro, from a partnership between Assembléon, NTS and OTB. Sales in the order of fifty to a hundred million Euros a year will then become feasible.

The website of the Programme for Hightech Systems.

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