In the Dutch town of Emmeloord, within the region of Flevoland, CompoWorld was recently established as a joint venture involving the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), several education entities and private sector companies. Its objective is to put Flevoland, part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area, on the map as the country’s premier center for the development and application of composites, say the organizers. For 2012, the Flevoland provincial government has allocated more than €677,000, or approximately $846,000 (USD), to get CompoWorld off the ground.
The CompoWorld Foundation brings together parties that include NLR, Fokker Landing Gear BV, the Friese Poort Regional Training Center and Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. They plan to stimulate composites growth by attracting new business activity and linking entrepreneurs with researchers. This collaborative effort is expected to result in more timely development and marketing of new composite products. The foundation’s four-year goal is to establish an economic composites cluster in the Flevoland province. CompoWorld also will organize hands-on education in composites, in association with the schools involved, and provide support for entrepreneurs and composites companies, particularly start-up businesses.
NLR’s involvement means that CompoWorld will have the use of advanced automated equipment, including a new fiber placement machine that can be used to make prototypes, and access to fundamental research regarding composite design. In concrete terms, NLR will offer students research and work experience placements so they can gain practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge. And if they subsequently begin their own businesses, they will already be familiar with NLR and will know who to approach for know-how and advice, says Jasper Klarenbeek, CompoWorld’s business developer.