The ‘Smart Assembly & Production’ and ‘Smart Production Organisation’ application labs of the University of Ghent and the 'Augmented & Virtual Reality Technology' Lab of Howest opened their doors in Kortrijk on Thursday 13/06. Together with the two innovation labs at KU Leuven’s Bruges Campus, these labs are part of the five high-tech Machinery & Mechatronics Labs in West Flanders which help manufacturing companies take the next step towards Industry 4.0.
High-level knowledge and know-how
West Flanders and especially the south of the province is buoyed by a strong industrial ecosystem. Digital innovation and the integration of new technologies are essential if the potential of these manufacturing companies is to be fully utilised in the future. The five Machinery & Mechatronics Labs combine expertise around Industry 4.0 and help to smooth the future path of the region’s manufacturing industry. Production companies can use these labs to make their production methods smarter and more flexible through digitisation and automation. West Flanders accounts for 40% of all Flemish jobs in mechatronics, and close to 25% in metal processing. The companies of this important industrial cluster require accessible, high-level knowledge and know-how for their further development.
Investment plan meets results
For the time being, these labs are the final part of an investment plan intended to meet that demand. “Joining forces with all knowledge partners in West Flanders and keeping a finger constantly on the pulse of the sector has now resulted in an active network of top labs in the immediate vicinity of our companies”, said Jean de Bethune, Chairman of the West Flanders Development Agency (POM) and TUA West. “The knowledge centres’ team of experts is in direct contact with our companies who are thus able to quickly test new technologies tailored to their own production systems.”. Jean de Bethune further explained these efforts: “The manufacturing industry is close to our heart. It not only puts the province on the world map thanks to top products, it is also a crucial employer in our region.”