High-tech infrastructure on our sites in Lommel and Leuven and at the Flemish universities.
Substantial investments in research and validation infrastructure
Our Flemish manufacturing industry is in full transition. Flanders Make wants to provide companies and researchers optimum support in this process. To this purpose, we continuously invest in state-of-the-art research and validation infrastructure. R&D Manager Gregory Pinte gives a word of explanation on the initiatives that have been taken in the past year and on our short-term plans. “In the course of 2018, quite a few new labs will be taken into use”, says Gregory Pinte. In both its sites in Lommel and Leuven, Flanders Make invests in infrastructure on an industrial scale.
Investments under the ERDF/SALK programme – a boost to Limburg
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the strategic action plan Limburg2 (SALK) provided us with resources for investments in our site in Lommel in three subject areas.
The Joining & Materials Lab (JML) allows us to perform research into the application of adhesive and other bonds between different materials under different ambient conditions (e.g. in terms of temperature and humidity) and to test the resulting quality.
“The second lab has both a mobile and permanent part. The MAKE LAB has been installed in a trailer, which enables us to give on-site demonstrations to companies. These demonstrations offer the opportunity to both laymen and professionals to experience what the new technology on robots and digitisation may have in store for them. The permanent part has been installed in Lommel, where – together with companies – we perform research into the use of robots for specific assembly challenges and study the flexibility of this process. The results of all our research work can then be demonstrated to operators using our mobile lab.
“In the third lab, we focus on testing powertrains of systems. The infrastructure that we make available to companies allows to test drives without having to connect a real vehicle/machine, although we do generate realistic vehicle loads. In other words, it concerns a so-called ‘hardware-in- the-loop system’.
Meanwhile, we’ve taken into use a complementary lab in Leuven where, in addition to the electrical elements that we study in Lommel, we perform research into the mechanical aspects of powertrains. Between source and (electric) motor in Lommel, between motor and wheels in Leuven, the perfect combination.
Brand new building in Leuven
Soon, in its site in Leuven, Flanders Make will move into a brand new building with space for about a dozen labs, tripling its current infrastructure. “The new building will be mainly used for research into machines, think of AGVs, 3D-printing, weaving looms, industrial drive trains. Our focus here is on the digital revolution towards Industry 4.0 and on how companies can deal with this. We will have our own demonstration and validation machines here but we will also allow companies to set up their own machines so that we can help them to make these machines smarter.”
“In the next few years, we will continue to expand our infrastructure, among others with an open vehicle control platform that can be used regardless of the type of vehicle and with infrastructure supporting the further development of Smart Factories. Our third location in West Flanders will focus on production-related research. Awaiting a full-fledged site, we’ve already started in 2018 by setting up a satellite office here.”
“Our Flemish manufacturing is in full transition. Flanders Make wants to provide companies and researchers optimum support in this process. To this purpose, we continuously invest in state-of-the-art research and validation infrastructure.”