HAMR3: Personnel turnover in the advanced machinery world (and beyond)

On December 10, 2014, NTS Mechatronics Shanghai organized the 3rd Holland Advanced Machinery Rotation platform meeting. At NTS in the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, industry leaders from 5 Advanced Machinery builders, as well as representatives from Schouten China and the Netherlands Office for Science and Technology, came together to discuss employee turnover rates.

Employee turnover is generally seen as a management challenge, and a strong indicator of competitiveness on the job market. The attending advanced machinery firms are facing ca. 20 to 40% turnover of workshop floor employees, with one outlier having a turnover rate of only 6%.

During two rounds of presentations (from NTS and Schouten), attendees discussed the benefits of using financial vs. personal development/cultural incentives as a strategy to keep employees that add value to the company. Financial incentives, such as higher salaries and systematic over-hour schemes, have generally been addressed as the first solution for high turnover rates.

Schouten recognizes a fitting company culture as an important factor for personnel retention. The lower turnover rates at NTS among personnel that has worked for more than 3 years at NTS may indeed confirm Schouten’s view. Furthermore, in other companies, a number of former employees who left because of financial motivations have already made clear their desire to return, in spite of a lower expected income.

Strong Dutch bonding in e-commerce

The Netherlands Office of Science and Technology (NOST) in Shanghai and several Dutch E-commerce entrepreneurs set up an e-commerce platform. The first meeting took place on December 10, 2014, at the Consulate-General in Shanghai.

A vivid brainstorm hour during the e-commerce platform gathering

The aim of this first meeting was to openly discuss the need, goals, activities and structure of the platform. While details still have to be filled in, the platform members appreciated the benefits of working within a platform. The added value of actively communicating members, who share information, should be translated in a stronger position on the Dutch e-commerce sector in China. By stimulating technology development among the team members, mutual support in dealing with logistic and policy hurdles, and welcoming valuable new platform members, a stronger position is readily achieved.

The Netherlands Office for Science and Technology (NOST) will act as a moderator within the platform. We are very pleased with the dedication among the platform members and are looking forward to a strong collaboration as well as upcoming activities, such as webinars, seminars and exhibitions.




New LED technology from Zhejiang

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are rapidly replacing traditional light-bulbs in many applications. Organic LED (OLED) is an efficient LED technology, as it supplies the light only when needed and in the color that is desired. However, the production of OLED is expensive. It requires a deposition of small molecules in vacuum, and the application on large surfaces is limited.

Solution-processed LEDs, with quantum dots as the generators of light, may be a cost-efficient and widely applicable alternative. A group of scientists from Zhejiang university has recently made a breakthrough contribution to this new technology. They report a quantum-dot based LED with a performance that equals the best vacuum-deposited OLED, such as a 100.000 hours lifetime.

The scientists have generated a lot of excitement in the community (for instance, their nature paper obtained over 30.000 views in the first month after publication) and expect that the results will initiate the development of a new generation of LED. Such light sources should find applications in displays and other solid-state lighting technologies.

PM series: human naïve embryonic stem cells

In a short series, we will focus on various topics on personalized medicine in China. Third in this series: the on-going search for naive human stem cells.

At a cellular level, controlling multiplication and specialization drives growth and development. The less a cell is specialized, the more directions it can develop into. For instance, once a cell has started to develop into a brain cell, it will be complicated –though perhaps not impossible- to turn around and become a skin cell.

Finding the least specialized cell – know as the naive stem cell – may open up exciting developments in therapeutics and research. They are difficult to find, though: researchers have been looking for them in embryonic tissue, where they are mixed with a bunch of non-naive stem cells. From animal systems other than human, they have been pretty well identified and described. For numerous reasons – including obvious ethical ones – the hunt for the naive embryonic stem cell in humans has not been as productive yet.

An international consortium, from Germany, Canada, the UK and China has come one step closer in resolving the presence of naïve embryonic stem cells in human stem cells, either derived from induced stem cells, or cultured embryonic stem cells. They identified the molecular fingerprint of these cells.

The findings are promising, as the naïve stem cells can be labeled and collected for down-stream research. At the same time, the findings were unexpected: a prominent genomic structure that was associated to the naïve stem cell state appeared to be a functional trace of a virus that is only present in primate (monkey and ape) genomes. This does not fit with the expectation that maintaining a naïve state is conserved throughout, at least, vertebrate species. This study was published in nature


CHInano: NOST and HHTCC stimulate Sino-Dutch high tech partnering

CHInano China, organized by Nanopolis in the Suzhou Industry Park (SIP), took place this year from September 24 to September 26. The NOST offices in Shanghai and Suzhou have participated in the extracurricular program of Dutch high-tech participants, in cooperation with the Holland High Tech Center China (HHTCC), also located in Suzhou. Dutch participants included Advanced Packaging Center, Business Cluster Semiconductors (BCS), Boschman technologies, Sempro and Trymax. These attended company visits, such as at Nedcard, Imec, SMIC and VDL ETG, exhibited at the CHInano conference, contributed to the International Round Table session on nanotechnology, and participated in networking and matchmaking events.

Meeting at SMIC, dressed up for the site visit
Meeting at SMIC, dressed up for the site visit
The booth of the Holland High Tech Center, an orange spot in the exhibition hall
The booth of the Holland High Tech Center, an orange spot in the exhibition hall

Extended HAMR event – networking

The Yangtze River delta hosts a number of Dutch rooted advanced machinery producers, which are collected in the Holland Advanced Machinery and production Rotation platform (HAMR). These companies were invited to attend a networking event with Ducth CHInano participants, in order to increase the connectivity and expose those who have the ambitions to extend their business in China to those who have already done so.

This event took place on the evening of September 24 in the Suzhou Kempinsky hotel. It attracted 20 participants, among which business and academic professionals from VDL ETG, Tecnotion, NXP, iBOT and Guilin University, who exchanged and discussed their Chinese experiences with the Dutch CHInanono participants.

Nanopolis matchmaking

In the morning of September 26, the Holland High Tech Center China and NOST hosted a matchmaking session at Nanopolis. The Chinese counterpart for BCS, who had collected high-potential matches to the Dutch companies, was the Suzhou IC association (SICA). This organization had introduced ASEN, GERAD, WLCSP and Miramems to this event.

After BCS and SICA shortly presented their organizations, the attending companies addressed individual companies, or posed specific questions to those who attended, and exchanged information.

Networking and matchmaking… part of the long breath of maneuvering in China, with more often than not no direct results. Nevertheless, orders have been placed on Friday the 26th and the Dutch consortium is looking forward to shortly broaden its activities in China, both in sales as R&D.

matchmaking at Nanopolis
matchmaking at Nanopolis