Flanders Make helps Flemish companies to realize significant technological breakthroughs
Date: 19-01-2016
The new strategic research centre for the manufacturing industry initiated last year many new projects for a total of 50 million Euro.
Flanders Make, the strategic research centre for the manufacturing industry, successfully supports Flemish companies to realize important innovation projects for the vehicles, machines and factories of the future. The research centre mobilized approximately 50 million Euro of new resources from the Flemish Government and 34 companies for the realisation of 21 new multi-annual projects. 
The manufacturing industry – 5700 high-tech companies with in all about 200,000 employees – is the motor of the Flemish economy. These companies face the challenge to keep on developing and manufacturing products in Flanders. Flanders Make supports them to innovate.
Urbain Vandeurzen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, explains: "Our mission is to contribute to the transformation of the manufacturing industry, which is very important for Flanders. In the past year, Flanders Make already contributed significantly to breakthroughs in product and process innovation with a dozen core members of the new research centre. In the following years, the Flemish government and about thirty companies will in all invest about 50 million Euro in 21 new open innovation projects. With this, we will realise our ambition to strengthen in a structural way the competitive strength of the manufacturing industry established in Flanders.” 
CEO Dirk Torfs explains: "At this moment, we are working on new projects with 17 SMEs and 17 large companies across Flanders. We are developing, for instance, technology for the realisation of self-driving vehicles, like buses for public transport. We also focus on smart, energy-efficient machines and on 3D-printing in a flexible production environment combining mass production with customisation."
Examples of technological innovation in companies:
  • Punch Powertrain, manufacturer of a/o hybrid powertrains, succeeds in lowering the fuel consumption of the hybrid cars of its customers by 17%. 
  • Weaving machine producer Picanol improves the weaving quality and energy-efficiency of its machines. 
  • Benes, a SME distributing printing systems, markets a budget-friendly and accurate system for printing both on paper and on panels up to 40 kg.
Philippe Muyters, Flemish Innovation Minister, on the significance of Flanders Make: "Flanders Make brings companies together for open innovation projects and bridges the gap between research at universities and in the industry. The results are also applicable for a wide range of companies that often face similar technological challenges. Flanders Make plays an important part in strengthening our manufacturing industry, which as a member of the Flemish Government I will continue to give my full support."