Now that heavy-duty company Dewulf from Winsum, Fryslân, has joined Innovation Cluster Drachten (ICD), the partnership of high-tech companies celebrates the fact that it has been officially assigned the status of Smart Industry Fieldlab, the fourth in the Northern Netherlands. The ICD companies are highly digitized and their machines, production resources and organizations are closely interconnected, which makes them an example for the manufacturing industry of the future.
According to Binne Visser, Chair of Innovation Cluster Drachten, Dewulf is a regional gem. “Many engineers from senior secondary vocational education schools and universities of applied sciences in the region find a job there, and its smart agricultural machines for harvesting potatoes and root crops are renowned worldwide for their good quality.” When Dewulf joined ICD, it introduced heavy-duty systems into the cluster of companies. According to Binne Visser, Dewulf is a wonderful addition to the cluster and fits perfectly within its scope. “With Dewulf in our midst, we get the opportunity to share technology and knowledge with a company in a different work field. This is the next step in the development of our cluster.”
Johan Boonstra, Plant Manager of the Dewulf Group, realizes that his company can only remain a trendsetter through technological development. “With our team of specialists, we work on product improvement and technological innovation every day. Retaining a technological advantage is essential to our customers. Because technological changes come so fast nowadays, it is clear to us that we can no longer keep up on our own. We look forward to collaborating with the companies in Innovation Cluster Drachten.” Among the high-tech companies in ICD, Boonstra will find partners that will strengthen the innovation power of his company and the region. “We offer future employees a chance to do a research or work experience internship in our company. In this way we strengthen our position in the region.”
The fieldlab status does not come as a surprise. According to Binne Visser, the ICD companies show that they can produce in a clever and highly flexible manner. “Not only in product properties, quality and design, but also in quantity and delivery time. Efficient use of raw materials is another characteristic of smart industry, which is our contribution to a sustainable world.”
Fieldlabs are practical environments where companies and knowledge institutes develop, test and implement Smart Industry solutions in a targeted manner. Fieldlabs provide an environment in which people learn to apply these smart solutions. Fieldlabs also strengthen the link with research and education and support policies aimed at Smart Industry. There are 41 Smart Industry Fieldlabs in the Netherlands, in which over 500 companies, knowledge institutes and governments collaborate. Examples in the Northern Netherlands are the test environment for the latest generation of mobile internet 5Groningen, the shared smart factory Technologies Added in Emmen, and the partnership of North-Netherlands manufacturing companies, the Region of Smart Factories.
From its expertise and production center in Winsum (Fryslân), Dewulf has been managing the development of innovations in planting and storage technology. The company is a world leader in agricultural machines for the cultivation of potatoes and root crops. The Dewulf Group sells the well-known Dewulf and Miedema brands. With its three locations in Belgium, the Netherlands and Romania, it can rely on 150 years of combined experience. The Dewulf group is rightly seen as the leading company in the development and production of agricultural machines for soil cultivation, planting, harvesting, grading, sorting and transport of potatoes and vegetables. Market knowledge, continuous innovation, enjoyable collaboration and a passion for the industry are the cornerstones of the company strategy. The group realizes a turnover of 70 million euros with a close-knit team of 300 employees worldwide (2019).