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Innovation for life

TNO is an independent research organisation that connects people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the competitive strength of industry and the well-being of society in a sustainable way. This mission drives the 3,200 professionals that work at TNO, in their work every day. TNO works in collaboration with partners and focusses on nine domains.

TNO believes in the joint creation of economic and social value. It focusses on transitions or changes in nine social themes such as healthy living, traffic and transport and future industry. When it comes to future industry innovation is aimed at improving employment, welfare and well-being.

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38 locations


9 focus domains
3,200 employees



Fieldlab to establish a smart connected supplier network

Together with a great number of high-tech suppliers and IT companies, TNO is involved in a smart industry fieldlab called Smart Connected Supplier Network. This fieldlab is part of a Dutch roadmap on smart industry. The fieldlab is supported by government and is aimed at improving communication and exchange of information in the supply chain and making it more efficient. Tens of high-tech suppliers and their IT suppliers work together on standardisation and interoperability of their ERP software. In this setting TNO, as a knowledge institute has an independent role in guiding the companies in this complex process.

Collaboration essential for being competitive
The companies that are involved in the fieldlab have made the specs of their ERP systems available with the support of the province. In the Brainport Eindhoven environment that is characterised by low-mix, high volume, high complexity good communication between the comprehensive supplier network is essential for the flexibility, quality and time-to-market of OEMs. This gives them a global competitive advantage.

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A playground for building future industry

Matthijs Punter is researcher Data Science and Smart Industry at TNO. One of the projects he is working on is the Smart Connected Supplier Network fieldlab. Together with a multi-disciplinary team he works on building the future of industry. To Matthijs the fieldlab feels like a playground. ‘The experiments will pave the way towards industry 4.0.’

Developing and implementing smart industry solutions
“At TNO we work on innovations in the field of smart industry with a multi-disciplinary team. What we do in Eindhoven is an example of one of the projects we are working on. In general, we invent and develop new solutions for smart industry or help companies implement solutions that already exist. We actively propose improvements towards industry.”

Get to see a lot of companies
“We are also involved in a European project called industry 4.0. In this project, we look at data value and how companies can retain ownership of their data. What makes my job really exciting is that I get to see and get to know a lot of different companies and learn a lot.”

Focus on technology
“I myself am mainly involved in the technology. I look at how companies organise their information technology. I visit a company, look at how the ERP system is organised and what is needed to optimise it. A lot of our technical solutions depend on the willingness to implement them. I among others look at semantic interoperability, data security and what a generic data connector should look like.”

Fieldlab is like a playground
“I have a very comprehensive job. When you have an IT background you expect to end up at a large company with an IT-department or in consultancy. In our role, we are exactly in the middle. We have an independent role. To me, the fieldlab is a kind of a playground. These open initiatives make me very enthusiastic. I cannot wait to see our solutions in practice. Some of the solutions we have come up with are already implemented on Brainport Industries Campus. That makes it really it really tangible. In the end, I will have helped to build the future of industry and that is great.”

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Societal impact

Working on smart industry and improving employment, welfare and well-being

The smart industry fieldlabs help Brainport Eindhoven strengthen the competitive force of its manufacturing industry and pave the way towards the industry of the future. In this process TNO actively contributes to stimulating and improving employment, welfare and well-being in the region and entire country. The collaborative setting helps accelerate innovation. Together all parties involved come up with solutions that support developing future industry for the best possible future society.

Help people who have a hard time finding employment
TNO also actively proposes options to industrial partners that are in the market but are still unknown. One of these solutions is called horse: an operator support system that helps mechanics assemble products and systems in a fast and faultless way. This robot makes it possible for people with a distance to the labour market to work as a mechanic and also reduces errors made by trained mechanics. Horse is only one example of a variety of technologies that TNO is currently investigating in order to make work more efficient on the one hand an help people find employment on the other hand.

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Brainport factor

Concentration of world’s best high-tech suppliers and manufacturers and willingness to collaborate

The ‘champions’ league’ of 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier high-tech suppliers in Brainport Eindhoven are united in Brainport Industries, a high tech open supply network. Together the members of this network work on being competitive as a region and chain in a global playing field. In this, the individual members keep their common goal in mind even if they are competitors. This collaboration exceeds being able to manufacture the best high-tech products on a global scale but is also aimed at establishing the world’s most competitive climate when it comes to future manufacturing.

Joining forces while maintaining specialisation
Supported by government and independent research institutes these network members work together on Product Lifecycle Management, to improve the collaboration in the supply chain, shorten the time-to-market and on pick up innovations in a shorter period of time by joining forces while individual companies maintain their specialisation.

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