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FLANDERS MAKE AND SIRRIS ANNOUNCE NEW RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE IN LEUVEN

6400 SQUARE METRE IN SUPPORT OF THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF OUR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

Leuven, 6 December 2017. Today, in the presence of Flemish Prime Minister Bourgeois, Flanders Make and Sirris will lay the foundation stone of their new offices and research facilities in Leuven.  With this application and living lab environment, both organisations will strengthen and expand their activities. As from September 2018, companies from the manufacturing and technology industry will find here even better support for their research and innovation projects.

Urbain Vandeurzen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Flanders Make, the strategic research centre for the manufacturing industry, explains: “To be able to offer our Flemish manufacturing companies optimal support in their digital transformation processes, we need high-performance and high-tech research infrastructure that they can use to assess, validate and demonstrate their new products and processes. This building in Leuven will act as a “gate” for the technology industry.”

René Branders, CEO of FIB Belgium and Chairman of Sirris, the joint centre of and for the technological industry, confirms: “Here, companies can turn to us for all their questions on innovation, from in-depth research up to advice and coaching during the implementation.”

Flemish companies face many challenges and opportunities: the increasing demand for customised products and small series, the use of new lightweight materials and the digitisation of production processes are but a few of them. Flanders Make and Sirris support companies through research and knowledge sharing so as to enable them to join the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).

In their new buildings at the entrance of the Science Park, both organisations will install their current and future lab infrastructure for supporting innovation projects in the field of machine automation and digital production systems and, as such, promote co-creation with companies. The infrastructure will also accelerate the conversion of research results into actual product and process innovations. The strategic location at the entrance of the Science Park ensures easy access and will encourage companies to experiment with technology and cooperate with other companies and knowledge institutions.

“The investment in a new building and research infrastructure for Flanders Make and Sirris is a vote of confidence in the future of the Flemish manufacturing industry and in the future of the technology industry. The fourth industrial revolution is in full swing. The Flemish Government firmly believes in its potential for generating welfare. Investing in research and development is a top priority for this”, says Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois.

The new infrastructure will be ready in September 2018 and will have a floor space of no less than 6400 m². Expectations are that by 2025 about 200 researchers and advisers will be at work here.

The building will house the following laboratories:

Lab for testing digital and automated machines

  • Big data-based monitoring and controlling of machines
  • Development and testing of innovative, high-power machine powertrains
  • Development and testing of automated and electrified off-highway vehicles

Lab for testing digital and automated production cells – including inspection, post-processing and quality assurance

  • For smart, material-converting production technologies
  • For innovative, additive manufacturing

Applab for the design and production of composites for lightweight applications (SLC-Lab)

Test environment for production and organisation management

Labs for electronic engineering and the creation of mechatronic prototypes and smart products

A co-creation/co-design environment supporting the cooperation with and transfer of knowledge to companies