Field labs boost industrial digitisation

27 Jun 2018

Intensive cooperation between companies and knowledge institutions accelerates the digitisation of Dutch industry. This is shown by TNO research into the first ten of thirty-two field labs in which this collaboration is taking shape. Field labs are ideally suited for developing technological innovations and spin-offs. They also contribute to the creation of new jobs. The field labs are the result of the Smart Industry agendas.

Read the full report for more info

Going Digital: Field labs to accelerate the digitization of the Dutch Industry

to report

Tackling shared challenges

The field labs are successfully developing innovative digital technologies. TNO sees opportunities to further increase the impact. "The field labs are active in a wide range of sectors, from livestock farming to the metal industry. For example, by setting up joint workshops, one can learn from each other where there are shared challenges. Examples are financing, intellectual property or technical issues, such as the large-scale exchange of data," says Claire Stolwijk. She is a researcher at TNO in the field of innovation policy for Smart Industry. Together with her colleague Matthijs Punter, a researcher in the field of Smart Industry and ICT, she carried out a study into the impact of field labs.


The field labs investigated led to five spin-offs. This is how two new companies were created from the 'Smart Connected Supplier Network' field lab. SupplyDrive and Tradecloud help manufacturing companies realise new forms of chain cooperation. In this way, the manufacturing companies improve their competitiveness and quality as well as reduce time to market. They do this on the basis of knowledge developed in the field lab in the area of data sharing.

Smart control of processes

The current thirty-two Dutch field labs are aimed at smart use of ICT in a sector to, for example, interconnect machines and manage them smartly. The field labs investigated mainly work on the innovative application of artificial intelligence in products and processes. They also develop and implement methods to share data within production processes in a safe and controlled way.

Smart Industry agenda

The field labs are part of the current Smart Industry agenda. An initiative to promote the transition from an analogue-driven industry to a digital world in which ICT penetrates deeply into all facets of the production process. This leads to changes not only within the factory but also between companies and between companies and customers. In order to achieve these changes, FME, TNO, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, VNO-NCW, the Chamber of Commerce and the ROMs have joined forces and established the Smart Industry Platform. Together they have developed the Smart Industry Action Agenda 2015-2017 and the Smart Industry Implementation Agenda 2018-2021. The study on the impact of field labs was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the OECD.

Digitising data streams between companies – Smart Industry

Strategy & Policy

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Smart Industry

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Data Science

TNO’s Data Science department has expertise on how to share and analyse structured and unstructured data. In a world where people and machines are becoming increasingly interconnected, data – both complex... Read more

Dr. Claire Stolwijk

  • Innovation policy
  • public-private partnerships
  • Smart Industry
  • Key Enabling Technologies

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