Another European grant for Northern Netherlands initiative for fully automated production line

Another European grant for Northern Netherlands initiative for fully automated production line


STT Products, DEMCON Industrial Systems Groningen and Menicon Netherlands are proud to be part of the European grant programme SMARTHANDLE. This three-year project will be fully subsidised from the HORIZON 2.4.1 programme for Manufacturing Technologies



The goal of the SMARTHANDLE project is researching and implementing technologies for the use in future-proof production lines. More precisely, it looks into the ways in which products are handled within these lines. Three cases involving the need for smart handling systems are gathered for this.

The consortium consists of fourteen European companies, knowledge institutes and research organisations. The estimated cost of the project is six million euros.


Expected result

Although SMARTHANDLE is a research and innovation project, the solutions that are being developed will be used in real life production lines. The developed SMARTHANDLE solutions will be tested in three very diverse use cases that arose from demands of the European manufacturing industry. STT Products, DEMCON Industrial Systems Groningen and Menicon will work on handling customised, delicate contact lenses. For this, they will make use of the knowledge and experience present within the SMARTHANDLE consortium. The technologies to be developed will use:

  1. Intelligent, reconfigurable elements to provide flexibility
  2. Software making use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to fully exploit the flexibility potential
  3. Higher-level planning and coordination mechanism to allow the successful deployment of the solutions in practice

Contact lenses case

Within the contact lenses case, DEMCON Industrial Systems, Menicon and STT Products closely work together. Each of the partners brings in specific knowledge. DEMCON Industrial Systems focusses on software, digitisation and the application of artificial intelligence. STT Products works on the mechanical and electrical solution, and Menicon possesses al necessary knowledge about the product and quality requirements that are set. Besides, the partners have access to the diverse expertise of the other SMARTHANDLE project partners. Also, there will be an exchange of knowledge between the various use cases, and as many generic building blocks as possible will be developed that can be used in the use cases.

Follow-up to AutomatIQ project

This is the second subsidy project for the Northern Netherlands partners that they are embarking on together. In 2021, AutomatIQ started, concentrating on the development of a fully automated and future-proof production line for contact lenses. The SMARTHANDLE project can be seen as a follow-up to this. Namely, the loading and unloading of the delicate products in this production line. The AutomatIQ project is made possible by the European Funding for Regional Development (EFRD) and the SNN.

This SMARTHANDLE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 101091792.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or HaDEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

A partnership between

All items on this topic

Fully automated production line


Milestone for development fully automated production line

Read more

Another European grant for Northern Netherlands initiative for fully automated production line – SMARTHANDLE

Read more
Automatiq logo

Grant awarded for the development of an automated production line

Read more