TUE project for waterway locks yields technology and startup

René Raaijmakers
Leestijd: 3 minuten

Rijkswaterstaat, the Department of Public Works in the Netherlands, produces slightly more than one lock a year but wants to have renovated 52 of its 137 locks in 20 years. A search with Eindhoven University of Technology for greater efficiency yielded a standardized language and the new startup Ratio.

The vast majority of locks in the Dutch waterway system date back to the last century. Many of them are at the end of their lifespan. The increasing intensity of waterway traffic also calls for expansion. That’s why Rijkswaterstaat launched the Multiwaterwerk initiative in 2014. MWW aims to renovate or replace 52 of the 137 locks by 2040. This will require a substantial efficiency drive, as the the Dutch Department of Public Works produces just over one lock per year.

“We were faced with the problem of renovating a large number of our locks,” says Han Vogel of Rijkswaterstaat. “Doing that one by one is very inefficient.” Vogel was a member of the team that had to address the problem. The solution had to come from standardization and innovation. Vogel stumbled upon an article on standardizing production processes by Eindhoven University of Technology professor Koos Rooda.

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