On 5 December, we opened our brand new offices and research infrastructure in the Science Park of Leuven (Gaston Geenslaan 8) in the presence of Flemish Innovation Minister Philippe Muyters. With this new infrastructure, we will be able to support the industry in Flanders even better in the innovation and digital transformation process that is needed to jump on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon, the fourth industrial revolution that is taking place as we speak.
Industry in Flanders is doing well: companies announce nice profit figures and invest locally. They’re increasing their digitisation efforts, anticipating 3 global trends:
- The demand for smart products and production systems.
- Consumers increasingly expect customised products at the price of mass production.
- Production must also be sustainable and the operators must receive support, among others by using virtual and augmented reality technology and collaborative robots.
“To be able to give our industry in Flanders optimal support in its digital transformation process, we need high-performance, high-tech research infrastructure. From now on, Flanders Make supports companies in their research and innovation projects from new labs in the Science Park in Leuven. Here, companies can test, validate and demonstrate their new products and processes under expert supervision. This will allow them to accelerate their product and process innovation and keep up with the international competition”, says Urbain Vandeurzen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Flanders Make.
Dirk Torfs, CEO of Flanders Make, provides further explanation: “In Leuven, we work on the further development of our machine building competence centre. We help high-tech companies to realise smart, autonomous machines that can produce customised products at the cost of mass production. We also encourage many other large and small companies with a heart for innovation to reap the benefits of our top research and help the wider industry to digitise and remain competitive on an international scale.”
A few highlights of the Flanders Make infrastructure are a new-generation 3D-printer, a lab for research into the use of drones for inspection and transportation in factories, a self-propelled tractor for research into autonomous cross-country vehicles and a lab for optimising machine drives.
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