for smaller companies that often operate in their own niche market". taxpayers' money with a tangible benefit for all the people in the region. There, too, I see that the story of Smart Tooling makes sense. "After all, innovation always starts on a small scale, as an idea that slowly takes shape. Take an innovative technology entrepreneur from Goes. He logically knows his own sector in his own direct environment. He also has a reasonable picture of the other Dutch players in his niche". “By reading all kinds of publications the entrepreneurs also has a good view of global developments. However, he doesn’t know whether someone in Ghent or Antwerp has any sort of interest in his ideas or his work. Through a project like Smart Tooling, it is precisely these opportunities that come into the picture". "Much has been achieved in concrete terms. But at a time when it could just as easily have been individual in Flanders as it was in the Netherlands, we as Interreg missed our target. In that respect, I think Smart Tooling is a very good project. Many developments have brought together practical knowledge on both sides of the border by companies and educational institutions. For example, a prototype was developed by a company in Flanders, the extra module and tests were carried out at a knowledge institute in the Netherlands. Everyone did what they were good at. All those people, from companies and other organisations, who discover each other and also each other's markets, that's pure profit for the region". "The cross-border aspect is therefore perfectly covered. But, of course, it all has to be economically advantageous. After all, this is about deploying European 56 EMPLOYMENT "Smart tooling is not only about technology but also about employment. In Zeeland, Flanders and part of the south of the Netherlands, thousands of people earn their living in relatively old processing industries. Older installations, in a region where requirements in the field of safety and the environment are high, certainly in comparison with other parts of the world. Of course, the most important thing is that people should be able to work safely and that there should be no environmental incidents. With the robotics applications from a project such as Smart Tooling, you literally give the asset owners the tools to keep their installations efficient, safe and well maintained, at an acceptable cost. Also in the future. "People often think that robotics automates something and thus threatens a person's job. That is by no means always the case. The projects within Smart Tooling do jobs in the industry, which are unsafe, impossible or too expensive for a human being. It is precisely this that creates work for the companies that develop, build and perhaps even export the tools. But also with the users. Work that used to have to be done manually is now done with the aid of a robot, or with other new innovative tools. For a maintenance worker, this means learning new skills. It also creates jobs. Moreover, working in Maintenance is also much more interesting for young people.

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