With the commissioning of the new production line, Drenthe deputy Henk Brink will give the official go-ahead for Technologies Added in Emmen on Thursday, May 17. Technologies Added originated at the location where Philips closed the gates of its fixtures business at the end of 2016. After 1.5 years of preparations, during which the old Philips factory was dismantled to make way for a modern "Smart Factory," production is now actually starting.
Shared Smart Factory
Technologies Added is an initiative of the Brabant investment company Chezz Partners, supported by the NOM (Investment and Development Company for the Northern Netherlands). They converted the old Philips factory into a location where several companies, under the banner of Technologies Added, can start joint production. To make this possible, a unique production process was developed, using state-of-the-art robot and information technology, where different products can be produced simultaneously.
Rob Goossens, the new CEO of Technologies Added: "We are at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution and this has a major impact on the manufacturing industry. The Smart Factory is becoming the standard. Large companies can develop their own Smart Factory, but for small companies that is becoming increasingly difficult. So they have to rely on suppliers, often far away in low-wage countries. However, companies want more control over their production process and they want to produce close to their market. That is why we offer an alternative with Technologies Added: Producing together under one roof; in a common factory. With the slogan: "It feels like your own factory, but it works as a shared facility."
The development of Technologies Added as a new "shared facility" for SMEs and startups is financially supported by the Municipality of Emmen, the Province of Drenthe and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.
This support is intended to preserve as many jobs as possible after the closure of the Philips factory that employed 250 people in its heyday. Currently, Technologies Added and the partners involved employ 50 people. Within two years, the initiators expect to have at least as many people working as were at Philips at the time.
Emmen has brought in a first with Technologies Added because, as far as is known, it is the first 'shared Smart Factory' in the world. Therefore, two weeks ago, during the Hannover Messe, Technologies Added received the recognition of an official Fieldlab on the national Smart Industry Agenda from the hands of State Secretary Mona Keijzer.
Technologies Added will focus mainly on series production of products with built-in intelligence ('smart products') such as smart fixtures, charging stations, products for smart homes, medical and energy products. In the coming years, Technologies Added will be expanded into a 'Smart Industry Campus' with all kinds of facilities for the modern manufacturing industry such as training courses, an innovation center where companies can have their 'smart production process' developed and an incubator for high-tech startups.
The consortium that will put the Shared Smart Factory on track has been expanded to include Engie of Roden that is developing the flexible-robotic production process, Oldenburger|Fritom (Veendam, Emmen) that will take care of the 'in-house' distribution and logistics and Rockwell Automation that is signing for the industrial automation. During the kick-off next Thursday, these partners will sign a cooperation agreement. Meanwhile, six companies have started production, or preparations for it, under the roof of Technologies Added. These are Sustainder from Emmen (smart street lighting), Scoozy from Delft (electric mobility scooters), Hydraloop International from Leeuwarden (in-house water recycling system), Persafe from Breda (products for personal safety), SenseGlove from Delft (Virtual Reality glove) and Embedded Fitness from Helmond (interactive fitness equipment). This group is expected to grow rapidly because Technologies Added's formula is catching on well, especially among SMEs with their own products and hardware startups.