Big Science in the North


The ILO-net together with ICD (Innovation Cluster Drachten) organised a meeting to explore mutual opportunities for high tech companies located in the North of the Netherlands from pending and future calls originated on behalf of the Big Science Infrastructures as covered by ILO-Net.

Over 35 attendees joined this successful event held in the SKIL-lab and the meeting started with a brief introduction by Ramón Navarro of the goals of the ILO-Net: To join forces bridging the Dutch high tech industry with Big Science to enlarge the economical return of Big Science infrastructures by supporting industry to gain challenging contracts from Big Science.

Joost Krebbekx introduced the ICD as a group of 23 high-tech innovative companies in Northern Netherlands that work together on solutions for future challenges at the cutting edge of technology, emphasizing on collaborating and not competing each other. He also announced a new innovative industry school called 'Technicnoord' . It will start the next educational season in September 2024 and will address the growing demand for highly skilled technical professionals.

The various Industrial Liaison Officers (ILO) gave a presentation of the current projects and Call’s for Tenders. These presentations can be find here.

Several companies took the opportunity to share their capabilities in relation to collaborating within the high tech community including the Big Science infrastructures:

·         Photonis (Roden, NL) is a market-leading provider of electro-optic technology used in the detection and imaging of low light or single photon generated events. Well known for its advanced image intensifiers, it’s products find their way in various commercial and scientific applications. 

·         Exact Fijnmechanica B.V. ( Drachten NL) is specialist in manufacturing of high precision mechanical parts to specification, typically in high volumes(100k – 1M pcs/y) with accuracy below 1 um. Emphasising quality control for high demanding customers. Exact has a Micro Pulsating Electro Chemical Machining (PECM) unit for low Ra and high surface integrity. 

·         Titomic Europe (Akkrum, NL)has sites in Australia, Europe and the United States. Titonic Europe, focusses on cold gas spraying metal particles to produce 3D structures. Customers are Aerospace & Defence Industries as well as Mining, Oil & Gas, Transport and Marine Industries. They have various use cases of metal restoration and creating lightweight, rapidly manufactured solutions, even by applying Titanium. 

·         NTS drachten (NTS Norma) focusses on ultra-precision/ultra-small and ultra clean mono parts and small assemblies of high complexity materials with ultra precision  (<1µm) and very small objects. NTS can handle complex materials, including molybdenum, niobium, etc. NTS additionally offers DfX and Value engineering services.  Customers are e.g. in the Wafer Stepper OEM’s and OEM’s of scientific instruments intended for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic, government, environmental and industrial research, as well as the clinical laboratories.

The event was concluded by a guided tour along the premises of Philips Drachten. This site of Philips Consumer Lifestyle B.V. is one of the largest R&D and manufacturing centres of Philips in Europe. The manufacturing of personal health products like shavers still is at a worldwide competitive edge.

Also a guided tour was done along the advanced production facilities of NTS Norma B.V. NTS Norma is a high-tech first-line supplier that designs, manufactures and assembles complete mechatronic systems. Norma's core strength lies in its extensive experience in the field of ultra-precision activities. 

Contact details of the Innovation Cluster Drachten can be found at

All ILO’s can be reached via


Opening of the event
L: Joost Krebbekx (programm manager of the Innovation Cluster Drachten)
R: Ramon Navarro (NOVA-ASTRON) – chair of this Big Science event.