ProNano is a pilot production facility under development. The practice refers to RII as a strategy to build an ecosystem for commercializing nanotechnology.
ProNano is created to provide companies with an environment where they can rapidly expand in an industry that globally is growing approximately 17% annually.
The facility will provide some process equipment and metrology instruments that can be shared, but also space for the customers to place their own tools. Most of the equipment will be operated by the SMEs themselves, as it is important to develop personnel in parallel with processes and products. By providing companies with an environment and infrastructure designed for development using production tools, they can quickly move into an ecosystem with other necessary services. As this facility will be located in a high tech science village together with the university, it will provide SMEs with an opportunity for interacting and working with stakeholders such as academia and other service providers. It is also very important to be part of international networks, to be able to steer SMEs to international facilities that are better suited for needs that cannot be met by ProNano.
The overall required investment for a 2100 m² cleanroom for electronics is approx. 50 m€, which includes basic equipment. The operation of the facility will require about 10 people, including administration.
Evidence of success
The setup is based on input from SMEs and also academia, that recognize that there are other requirements in the development phase vs. the discovery phase. Production equipment and stellar data acquisition, combined with full access to the tools, will provide the quickest and least expensive path to market introduction. It is imperative that the development takes place in an environment where the results are not compromised by contamination. High Tech factory at UTwente is a success story.
It is important to specialize the activities to a certain field, and to carefully listen to potential customers requirements. The nanotechnology field is so broad, that it is impossible to properly provide the best environment for everybody.
Potential for learning or transfer
Learning and inspiration on how to foster development within an area closely linked to academia, such as nanotechnology. Inspiration on how SME-needs for RII are turned into a strategic roadmap lead by public organisations.