The step across the border is worthwhile and offers small and medium-sized enterprises in particular numerous opportunities. The iPro-N project makes use of this idea. For four years, it has been intensifying German-Dutch cooperation in the manufacturing sector and promoting the development of intelligent products and processes. This has resulted in numerous exciting innovations, which were presented on Thursday during the closing event at "Emsflower" in Emsbüren to around 80 participating actors and guests.
iPro-N offers small and medium-sized enterprises a wide range of support, from initial discussions to a development project with the construction of a prototype. At the same time, iPro-N supports companies financially and mediates between partners across the border. "The exchange of knowledge with neighbouring countries is becoming increasingly important, especially in view of the complex processes in times of digitalisation. iPro-N has succeeded in establishing a technology network between Germany and the Netherlands, from which companies in the Münsterland region benefit in particular," emphasises Klaus Ehling, Chairman of Münsterland e.V.
More than 30 companies from the Münsterland region have applied for funding through iPro-N since the project started in 2016. Numerous other companies were involved in iPro-N projects as cooperation partners or service providers. As a result, the region accounts for a large share of the total of around 140 companies from Germany and the Netherlands that carried out concept developments, feasibility studies and prototype projects as part of iPro-N.
"The focus of the discussions with the companies was always their project, not the prospect of the funding. Due to the open structure of the project, we were able to tailor the support to the individual needs of the respective company," explained Ruth Petermann, project manager and regional coordinator for the Münsterland region in the iPro-N project.
This was particularly well received by the companies. They said they appreciated the close support and the networking character of the project. "It was the funding from iPro-N that made it possible for us to implement the project," said Stefan Hagedorn, Managing Director of Hagedorn Software Engineering from Warendorf. The company developed a software system called "d.Fence" that enables secure remote access for electronic control systems. The company 3-D.services from Gronau also brought its innovative idea to fruition. Together with the company Wilhelm Severt Maschinenbau GmbH from Vreden and the company Protyp BV from the Netherlands, they developed a robot-supported 3D printing process through the iPro-N funding project, with which the limitation of the component sizes to be printed can be eliminated.
The iPro-N project was launched in 2016 with a total volume of around 11.6 million euros and will run until 31 December 2019. In addition to Münsterland e.V., the project partners are: Oost N.L. (lead partner in the project), TechnologieCentrum Noord-Nederland (TCNN), Novel T, Emsland GmbH and TAFH Münster GmbH. iPro-N is funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the INTERREG VA programme Germany-Nederland.