Centre of Expertise Digital Operations & Finance

Research Group Smart Sustainable Manufacturing

How do you deliver products like heat pumps, satellites or sensors with a ‘sustainability passport’? How can manufacturers contribute to smart products that are as sustainable as possible, measured over the course of their lifespan? Can production lines become self-learning, and for example generate assembly instructions for new products independently, or suggest their own quality tests? How do you switch from being a supplier of airco-unit hardware to being a supplier of ‘airco-as-a-service’?

About the research group

Digitisation and automation allow production systems to become ‘smart’. This enables the regional production of complex products at an acceptable cost level. With the help of sensors, the usage and ‘health’ of a product can be monitored from ‘cradle-to-grave’. This makes it possible to predict the required maintenance of a product, and also gives manufacturers the opportunity to extend the lifetime of a product and make it more sustainable.

The research group Smart Sustainable Manufacturing focuses on the development of automated, flexible and shared production facilities for prototypes and small series, that can be used to experiment, exchange experiences and share knowledge. Secondly, the group aims to contribute to the development of value chains for sustainable ‘Product-Services’ (a type of service that offers product usage instead of product ownership, like for instance a ‘Swap bike’).

Core values of the research group are:

  • Sustainability; by smart (re-)use of materials and resources (also human resources!) in a production chain.
  • Collaboration; collaboration within a supply chain, between people and robots in a production process, working together in a ‘Factory-as-a-Service’.
  • Exchangeability; exchange of data between robots, exchange of information between the engineering and manufacturing process, between different stakeholders that manage a product, between components in order to extend the life of a product etc.

The research group started on the 1st of January 2021. In the coming months, the research group will focus on the preparation and start up of tangible research projects

About the professor

Jenny Coenen

Jenny Coenen, Ph.D. graduated as a maritime engineer from Delft University of Technology and obtained her Ph. D. in 2008 in the field of Ship Production from that same institution. She worked as a researcher, lecturer, developer and consultant for Royal IHC, TU Delft, Shipping & Transport College and Marstrat. She worked mainly on research projects related to process improvement in engineering and manufacturing, enhancing collaboration within complex production chains; both within companies and between companies. Since 2011 she also worked as a part-time lecturer in Master and Bachelor education. In 2021 she has been appointed professor at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS).
Side Activities

Lecturer Shipping & Transport College Rotterdam (Master Shipping & Transport, Maritime Technology)
Partner Marstrat (consultancy aimed at the maritime industry)

06 - 18 53 54 71
Smart, flexible, efficient and sustainable manufacturing industry provides relevant and attractive employment opportunities, now and for the future.

Research themes

  • Development of cooperative and flexible manufacturing facilities for prototypes and small series, that allow for experimentation and shared learning experiences.
  • Circular and sustainable manufacturing.
  • Development and implementation of ‘Smart Manufacturing-elements’ that combine best-practices into ‘building bricks’ for production automation that are easy to implement.


TranSIT-Transferable Smart Industry Templates

TranSIT-Transferable Smart Industry Templates

A significant proportion of the SME companies in our region engineer and assemble custom or small series products. The emphasis is on short lead times and high quality. Quality control is very important. Process improvements are almost always aimed at reducing errors, searches and unnecessary actions. But they don't want to invest in the wrong technology or working methods and are very wary of vendor lock-in or lengthy projects with external consultants. Automation of production steps 'as-such' is, due to the single piece/small series nature, only interesting if the programming effort is limited and the return of investment (ROI) is short.

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RE/manufacturing LAB

RE/manufacturing LAB

The Re/Manufacturing Lab brings together education and research in the domain of Industry 4.0. With cross-links through all degree programmes of our Faculty of Technology, Innovation and Society and the research group Smart Sustainable Manufacturing. Practical questions come from manufacturing companies in the region. The solutions are applications of so-called 'key technologies': engineering, manufacturing and digital technologies. Of course, while considering sustainability, flexible manufacturing and 'Factory-as-a-Service'.

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SMITZH: Smart Manufacturing Industrial Applications Zuid-Holland

SMITZH: Smart Manufacturing Industrial Applications Zuid-Holland

The province of Zuid-Holland is rich in manufacturing industry. Manufacturing companies that develop and sell all kinds of products with the help of technology. These companies would like to produce faster, cheaper, more durable and higher quality products, but are often unaware of contemporary, digital possibilities such as robotisation and 3D printing. SMITZH brings together supply and demand and aims to make the manufacturing industry more innovative, competitive and future-proof. The Digital Operations & Finance Centre of Expertise at The Hague University of Applied Sciences is one of the knowledge and research partners in the SMITZH consortium.

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