“Whoever you may be, you can’t do it alone”

Yaskawa, which is located at the Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) in Eindhoven, is one of the participants in the Flexible Manufacturing Field Lab, one of the seven Field Labs that together make up the Factory of the Future. The project involves businesses and knowledge institutes working hand-in-hand to create new manufacturing technologies for the fourth industrial revolution. “Whoever you may be, you can’t do it alone,” says Eddie Mennen, managing director of Yaskawa. “If you want to answer the question of what the future of the manufacturing industry will look like, you have to join forces with others.”

“Yaskawa is one of the world’s top industrial automation companies: robotics, propulsion and control systems. In Europe we are particularly heavily involved in putting Industry 4.0 into practice, and that is what we are trying to give shape to here at the BIC, something we can only do through cooperation.”

When dreams come true

“The Brainport Industries Campus started off a handful of years ago as just a dream, but today it is housed in a brand-new building where innovative production companies, technology suppliers and educational bodies are actively working together. This is something that we have seen come true.”

“A lot of people bandy about terms such as Industry 4.0 and Smart Industry. And while we can all see those far-off prospects in the abstract world of PowerPoint presentations, what really matters is which concrete steps and action plans we can take today in the workplace. It is in that respect that we are now taking major strides forward.”

Can be used anywhere

“The desire to work together had existed for a long time, but nobody could figure out how to do it. Today we are working through the field labs on concrete cases using a solid program – not with complex contracts, but rather on a basis of trust. Exclusivity is not an issue here. If we manage to make a success story of it here at the BIC, then that business case can be used far beyond its walls and in many other places in the world. That is why the partnership is so appealing for a company like Yaskawa that operates globally.

If you’re happy to both take and give, you have everything to gain from the BIC. Eddie Mennen, managing director of Yaskawa

Smart Industry Hubs

“For a number of reasons, the field labs in the Netherlands were initially regional in nature. With the creation of the Smart Industry Hubs, we have seen a marked improvement in the region, the structure, and in particular the exchange of knowledge. That was moreover an essential development – we cannot have a situation where you don’t know what’s going on in Eindhoven because you happen to live in Zwolle. That is not how we are going to win the war against countries with much larger budgets. It is absolutely critical that the exchange of knowledge between the 40 field labs in the Netherlands is as smooth as possible.”

International interest

“We regularly receive international delegations, and despite the fact that the building is still not yet totally finished they are very impressed with what is going on here. It’s not just the building that captivates them, but the level of dynamism and the startup atmosphere too. That also holds at an international level. In Germany they may still be spending the next two years testing out new technology, and meanwhile over here we put into practice the solutions we come up with within half a year.”

Give and take

“If you want to get the very most out of the opportunities that the Brainport Industries Campus has to offer, you cannot think of it as take without the give. If you’re happy to both take and give and if you’re prepared to work together with others, you have everything to gain.”