Interreg VI news





Projekt zur Förderung von Produktinnovationen mit dem Ziel deutsche und niederländische KMU durch grenzübergreifenden Wissenstransfer für Industrie 4.0/ Smart Industries zukunftsfähig zu machen

Development of Intelligent Products Netherlands-Germany

iPro-noord stimulated the development of intelligent products and production processes, and offered a first step towards cooperation in the Dutch-German border region. The many small and medium-sized enterprises in the border region are highly responsible for the prosperity of the region. Continuously innovating and improving and offering new products on the market strengthens their competitive position and therefore provides continuity for the companies. This project started in January 2016 and was completed four years later in December 2019.

Five steps from idea to prototype

The program had several phases, from the initial idea to the construction of a prototype. Depending on the phase of the innovation, one or more steps could also be skipped. The project offered companies in the work area of the EUREGIO and the Euregio Eems-Dollard subsidies on external and own costs for innovations that result in prototypes of intelligent products. The phases that SMEs could go through were: 1. Intake interview, 2. Deepening interview, 3. Concept development, 4. Feasibility study, and 5. Development project (construction of a prototype).

iPro-noord was especially for SMEs:
– with innovative project ideas;
– in the Dutch-German border area;
– ready for cross-border cooperation.

iPro-noord offers support:
– from concept to prototype development;
– with know-how and subsidy;
– in cooperation with partners across the border;
– with a cross-border network.


The prototypes developed under the iPro-noord flag and participating companies are diverse in nature: from the development of an electrically powered transport bike to transport a loaded pallet, to making extraction systems on cruise ships more energy efficient. And from the intelligent facades of buildings that themselves indicate when maintenance is required, to increasing the range of wired pick-and-place robots:

iPro-noord participant Nijland Cycling develops and produces specialised bicycles. The company from Heeten, Overijssel, focused in the iPro-noord project on the development of a bicycle that can transport loaded pallets: the Delivery Bike XL. This is the working name of the prototype that Nijland Cycling has developed. The bicycle must be able to transport a fully loaded pallet, up to a weight of 300 kilograms. In this way, Nijland is responding to the increasing demand for new forms of sustainable transport and means of transport. Thanks to cooperation with the German partner DNL-Mobiel GmbH, the development of the prototype went optimally.

The German company Wagener Gastronomieproduktion is an engineering company and works among other things on innovative solutions for the shipping sector. Within the INTERREG project iPro-noord, Wagener focused on the development of intelligent, energy-efficient and safer extractor hoods for cruise ships. The main challenge was to cool and control the air extraction in order to reduce energy consumption and increase the effectiveness of the system. Within the project a cooperation with the Hochschule Osnabrück has been made, they helped to carry out the necessary measurements and calculations which were important for the optimisation of the extractor hood. The participation in iPro-noord has provided a lot of new knowledge, perspectives and also new insights.

Alkondor is a facade specialist from Hengelo. The company develops complete facades from design to product and focuses on innovation, sustainability and circularity. For the development of a prototype of an intelligent facade, Alkondor appealed to the subsidy possibilities of iPro-noord. This enables them to make the product smarter and more flexible, to keep more and more data up to date and ultimately to work towards predictable maintenance. Alkondor worked on the iPro-noord project together with Schüco Bielefeld, a German developer and supplier of facade systems. They helped to make the transition to a circular product possible.

Within iPro-noord, Mercatronics GmbH has concentrated itself on the development of a large scale cable-based pick-and-place robot. Until now there were no cable-based pick-and-place robots on the market. They have tried to fill this gap by developing such a robot that is also suitable for use in larger workspaces. An additional advantage of cable-based robots is that they consume a lot less energy and are therefore much more efficient than conventional pick-and-place robots. Within iPro-noord, Mercatronics has collaborated with Robomotive BV, a Dutch supplier of robot parts. They tested the system for applicability and also validated it. In addition, they worked together in the field of product optimisation.

Results in General

Because of the relatively high risk, it is often a big step for SMEs to invest in development. The financial contribution of iPro-noord covered up to 50% of the costs. This allowed entrepreneurs to partially finance a concept development, feasibility study, or the construction of a prototype. Important steps towards the marketing of new products. In total, more than 9 million euros were invested in innovation and generated the programme more than 5.2 million euros from the business community itself. Over the past four years iPro-noord has supported a total of more than 140 entrepreneurs and at least 2500 entrepreneurs have been sensitized.

During the iPro-noord period, no fewer than 470 companies participated in intake interviews (phase 1), and 304 depth interviews (phase 2) were held. Subsequently, 48 companies went through the concept development phase (phase 3). In addition, 48 companies started working on a feasibility study (phase 4) and ultimately 65 entrepreneurs now own a prototype thanks to participation in the development process (phase 5).

All this was only possible because of the innovative spirit of the entrepreneurs from the border region, the support of iPro-noord and its partners and the effective cooperation that made the step across the border smaller for everyone.

Under the INTERREG V A programme Deutschland-Nederland, iPro-noord was supported by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project was co-financed by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the provinces of Drenthe, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen and Overijssel, the Ministerium für Bundes- und Europaangelegenheiten und Regionale Entwicklung – Europa für Niedersachsen, and Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Innovation, Digitalisierung und Energie des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. The partners working together within iPro-noord were: Oost NL (lead partner), Emsland GmbH, Novel T, Münsterland e.V., TAFH Münster and Technologie Centrum Noord-Nederland (TCNN).

To project (external link)


Planned project costs

12.057.981,06 €

Project Duration

1.1.2016 - 31.12.2019


Increase of cross-border innovation in the programme area

Lead Partner

Oost NL - Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Oost Nederland NV

Project partners

Münsterland e.V., Stichting Novel-T, TechnologieCentrum Noord-Nederland, Emsland GmbH, Deelnemende ondernemingen , TAFH Münster GmbH,


Financer Amount
Deelnemende ondernemingen 5.135.089,00 €
Emsland GmbH 0,00 €
TechnologieCentrum Noord-Nederland 0,00 €
Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat 438.613,00 €
Münsterland e.V. 0,00 €
Provincie Gelderland 42.399,00 €
Provincie Drenthe 51.172,00 €
Stichting Novel-T 0,00 €
Oost NL - Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Oost Nederland NV 442.482,18 €
Provincie Fryslân 51.172,00 €
MB Niedersachsen 365.512,00 €
MWIDE NRW 365.512,00 €
EFRE / EFRO 5.000.000,00 €
TAFH Münster GmbH 0,00 €
Provincie Overijssel 96.495,00 €
Provincie Groningen 51.172,00 €