More than 75 interested parties found their way to the DCMC innovation centre at Aviolanda Aerospace on Thursday 28 September 2023. On the agenda is a review of the EFRO OPZuid project that started in 2017 and which now comes to an end. To demonstrate the results of the project, the project partners presented the outcome of the various Work Packages through presentations and demonstrations to the audience. New innovations on composite inspection and repair were shown. In addition to looking back, there was also room for a preview of the future of DCMC.

Martin Knegt, director of DCMC, welcomed the visitors. “Today is a special day and all parties that made DCMC possible are here to witness the results of the project.” Partners of the project are the European Union, Ministry of Defence, Province of Noord-Brabant, Fokker Services Group, Royal NLR, TU Delft, SPECTO Aerospace, Rewin, BOM, Dutch Terahertz Inpsection Services, Damen Naval and Tiat Europe. “We started the OPZuid project in 2017 with ten partners and seven work packages. With the main goal: innovation in composite maintenance. This has brought us to where we are today: DCMC is a consortium for developing knowledge and expertise in the field of inspection, production, repair and maintenance of composites. Located in a beautiful physical innovation center at Aviolanda Aerospace nearby the Woensdrecht Airforce Base.” After the introduction, Mr. Ivo van der Vlis, Managing Director of Aviolanda Aerospace, briefly introduced himself to the audience and emphasized the importance of innovations in MRO as well as his views on the position of Aviolanda to be a center where innovation takes place.

Of course, there is great interest in the question whether project OPZuid has achieved its intended goal. The event has been organized specifically to demonstrate the achievements of the project. Six work packages for inspection and repair have now been realized. To achieve this, NLR and TU Delft have grasped various innovations, of which demonstrations were given during the event. The seventh work package focused on the development of DCMC as a center of knowledge and expertise, in which both regional business development centers REWIN and BOM played an important networking role. In collaboration with ACRATS Training Services, a physical innovation center has been realized. In addition, there is a focus for network development and international collaborations. Of course, we aim to attract more partners in the future.”

After a tour of the AM&TS school of aircraft engineering, the guests walked towards the DCMC innovation center for the various demonstrations. Apart from project partners also a few start-up companies were present to show their innovations related to composites. Start-up Bladesense, founded by students from the Technical University of Delft showed their solution to inspect composite materials. Peter Brans, Global Head of Assembly Technology Expert at Bossard, introduced their innovative fastener device developed by MM-Welding “As an international Swiss start-up company, we bring composite fasteners to the market. With this device you can attach composite material to each other in just a second without the current glue and potting process. With this new innovation, we can do a lot for the aviation industry. It’s educational for us to be here.”

A little further on, Andreas Verbruggen of Bladesense and his partner give the guests a demonstration. “At TU Delft we both studied Aerospace Engineering and that passion brought us together. A year and a half ago, we started talking to DCMC’s partners and started a collaboration. We have really landed here for six months now and it is nice to show here what exactly we do in inspection composite.” LKol Elvis Pinto Texeira, Commander 980 Squadron, representing the Royal Dutch Airforce at DCMC’s event commented “From our side, there is a great need for new innovations. We therefore look very positively at the cooperation with DCMC. The future of innovation lies here and we cannot fulfill the demand ourselves. It really feels like an interaction for us. We stay up to date with the latest innovations in the field of maintenance, the other way around we help DCMC by making our facilities available. This way they can carry out tests on our site again. We strive for a sustainable collaboration for the future.”

DCMC is a breeding ground for students. For example, students from TU Delft work from DCMC on all kinds of research questions. DCMC also offers a great project to students who follow the minor Aerospace Engineering at Avans University of Applied Sciences. They are currently in the start-up phase of a study into the various techniques that take place at DCMC. The next step is to investigate a cheaper way of maintenance inspection and how it can be put into use more easily. Of course, with an eye to the future to put DCMC even more on the map. The DCMC Foundation will soon present their vision on the future which lies beyond the OPZuid project.