Perron038 and Windesheim UAS working together on innovation in manufacturing
Engineering is the future. Certainly at Windesheim, where the next generation of engineering professionals is being prepared for a future in engineering in approximately twenty full-time and part-time programmes. But the university does a lot more than just teaching and training. Windesheim houses professorships that conduct applied research in collaboration with companies. And when it comes to the smart manufacturing industry - e.g. automation, robotics or digitization - this is done at Perron038. A successful collaboration that was recently intensified with an official partnership.
Today's education requires us to continuously renew ourselves," says Egon van der Veer, Director of Engineering and Design at Windesheim. "Within our teaching programmes, but also outside the walls of our school building. Perron038 is one of the places we use as a practice and teaching location. But we also use it to innovate in co-creation with companies in the manufacturing industry. And we can see that it's working. It’s a place that (part-time) students, researchers and lecturers like to visit. But it also bears fruit in terms of results: our collaboration with trade and industry is improving all the time. That's why we want to continue investing in this collaboration at Perron038 for the next five years.”
Windesheim’s commitment is one that Marius Woldberg, the quartermaster at Perron038, is very happy about. "Engineers, all students, researchers and lecturers work on joint innovation projects at Perron038. For example, in developing demonstrators, prototypes and modules of high-tech machines. It's so cool to see how different parties inspire each other and help each other on their way. We are pleased that Windesheim, a major player in education and research in this area, contributes to this."
Interaction between education, research and practice
Besides lecturers and students, researchers from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences also regularly go back and forth between the campus and Perron038. At Windesheim University, they are part of the professorships of Polymer Engineering and Industrial Automation & Robotics. One of the regulars at Perron038 is Geert Heideman. As associate professor of Polymer Engineering he conducts research on additive manufacturing, or industrial 3D printing. The very first theme that the University of Applied Sciences has actively started working on at Perron038, according to Heideman: "In 2020, we purchased a large 3D metal printer, which we deliberately installed at Perron038. Together with the companies involved, we are investigating the applicability of this technology in their own production processes."
According to Heideman, all parties are enthusiastic about the collaboration and the first results. "For the lecturers and students, it’s quite unique that they are able to work with various high-tech machines and robots in one place. The partners who make the technology available share their knowledge and experience and come into contact with the students more often and more quickly. An interaction that produces great results! Following Geert Heideman's research, Windesheim has also established the professorship of Industrial Automation & Robotics, the part-time Associate degree programme of Industrial Automation and Robotics and the minor Factory of the Future at Perron038.
Knowledge and resources in one place in and for the regional area
After a year and a half, the Perron038 innovation centre now accommodates an arsenal of advanced robots and machines. In March this year, Perron038 welcomed the arrival of robot number 13: with a cake, the candles of which were – of course - blown out by the robot itself. "With all these robots, machines and knowledge bundled in one place, we can work with students and the professional field to build the know-how to use this equipment in the manufacturing industry. This extends far beyond the companies involved. We develop theory, methods and practical experience for SME companies throughout the eastern Netherlands," says Windesheim Director of Engineering and Design Egon van der Veer.
From left to right: associate professor Geert Heideman, Engineering and Design director Egon van der Veer (both Windesheim) and quartermaster Marius Woldberg (Perron038)
About engineering research at Windesheim
Windesheim University of Applied Sciences wants to actively contribute to an inclusive and sustainable society: by educating professionals and conducting practice-based research. the university offers around twenty full-time and part-time engineering programmes, while engineering research is conducted in professorships such as Polymer Engineering and Industrial Automation & Robotics. With regard to the latter research theme, there are concrete plans to broaden its focus within a new professorship of Digital Business & Society, in which Industrial Automation & Robotics will be housed as a separate line of research.Read more about this broadening of focus here(opens in new tab).
Perron038(opens in new tab) is the innovation centre for the manufacturing industry in the Zwolle area. Engineers from companies and engineering students from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Twente University, Fraunhofer Institute and other educational institutions work on the future of the high-tech manufacturing industry. Tembo, AWL-Techniek, Wadinko and Tolsma are the founding partners of Perron038.