The 21st edition of the Precision Fair on 16 and 17 November was the largest edition ever. 331 exhibitors, 50 speakers and 5126 professionals met on the exhibition floor for two days. ‘Now more than ever, we see that the entire value chain for precision technology must meet each other, share knowledge and innovate together,’ says Bart Kooijmans, Program Manager Precision Fair at Mikrocentrum.
The latest financial injection of more than 450 million euros from the Dutch government into NEXTGEN-HIGHTECH sends a clear signal: The Netherlands wants to further strengthen its position as a forerunner in high technology. A logical step for a country that is big on micro- and nanotechnology, and where the high-tech sector accounts for around fifty percent of all R&D investments. But more is needed to strengthen that pioneering role. This requires even more knowledge sharing and linking of parties from the entire (international) high-tech value chain.
It was possible to meet other parties to share knowledge at the Precision Fair. ‘It is extremely important: because by seeking each other out and helping each other, you arrive at new ground-breaking innovations and solutions to the major current challenges. In addition, we see that the Precision Fair also attracts new visitors and also manages to attract the next generation of precision engineers. A sample check showed that the growth largely relates to visitors visiting the fair for the first time,’ says Bart Kooijmans.
He continues: ‘To strengthen networks and knowledge sharing and to facilitate even more, this year we have expanded the Precision Fair with new elements. For example, the network hall, where industry associations, universities, high schools, start-ups, knowledge institutions and high-tech projects can meet, has been expanded, the meeting areas have been centralized on the exhibition floor, so that visitors and exhibitors can easily discover a first collaboration with each other, and we added Live Stage. Arena.”
A lot of attention for young tech talents
The growth ambition entails another major challenge: the plans must also be realized, and technical talent is indispensable. The figures are known: There are more vacancies in the high-tech sector than people in work. At the same time, a new generation of young technicians is ready to get started and contribute to those ambitions. To put these talents in the spotlight, this year the Precision Fair offered a solid Young Talent programme. Students, PhD students and start-ups could pitch their projects here. This also gave them the opportunity to further develop their power skills and make new contacts. On Thursday, a student tour was organized for the first time in collaboration with BedrijvenMeeloopDag.
4 prizes awarded
Several awards were presented in the Live Stage Arena this edition. For example, Mikrocentrum awarded two Boost Your Talent Awards in collaboration with KIVI and Wevolver. Lieke de Visscher from team Force Fusion and her team won a training check worth five thousand euros from Mikrocentrum and Tijmen Seignette won a marketing check worth five thousand euros from Wevolver with his research on ground reaction forces in RSPs (Running Specific Prosthesis).
The DSPE Wim van der Hoek Award, the prize for the best graduation project, went to Dennis Struver this year. Struver graduated this spring for the design of a vibration isolation system for use in cryogenic conditions at Eindhoven University of Technology. The DSPE Rien Koster award, the award for a mechatronics engineer who has made a special effort in the field, went this year to Hans Vermeulen, senior principal architect at ASML and part-time professor at TU/e, for his tireless efforts to expand the field and innovate.
Trends and challenges
Mikrocentrum has recently investigated trends and challenges in the high-tech and manufacturing industry together with the research agency Markteffect. These research results are compiled in a white paper, which was presented at the fair by Maarten Roos, head of the Mikrocentrum High Tech Platform. With this research, Mikrocentrum wants to offer companies better insight on the way to the future. The most important results in a nutshell:
- Personnel is seen as the biggest challenge.
- Demonstrable skills are seen as more important than diplomas
- 71% find it difficult to find tech talent
- AI is seen as the most important key technology
- 70% expect growth in revenue in the coming year
- 65% expect the revenue model to (partially) change
Precision Fair 2023
In 2023, Mikrocentrum will organize the next edition of the Precision Fair on 15 and 16 November, again in the Brabanthallen in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. More information can be found at www.precisiebeurs.nl