Digital Innovation Hubs
Flanders Make vzw
- Hub Name
- Flanders Make vzw
- Local Name
- Flanders Make vzw
- Evolutionary Stage
- Fully operational
- Geographical Scope
Flanders Make is the strategic research centre for the manufacturing industry. We are a non profit organisation and have establishments in Lommel and Leuven and work together in a structural way with research departments of the 5 Flemish universities. Our purpose: realising a top-level research network in Flanders that delivers full support to the innovation projects of manufacturing companies. This way, we want to contribute to new products and processes that help to realise the vehicles, machines and factories of the future.
SMEs form an important part of our local industrial ecosystem. We support the digital transformation of this target group by assessing the specific technological challenges and the needs of the companies. We measure the digital maturity and develop tailor made action plans to improve the digital maturity. Together with our eDIH partners we provide training services where needed and engage the SMEs in peer to peer learning as well as networking activities to enhance their digital ecosystem. For specific technological developments we set-up and manage bi-lateral or open innovation projects with the companies. Through our connections with private equity providers (e.g. LRM and PMV) we are also able to give support related to financing of different projects.
Flanders Make is het strategisch onderzoekscentrum voor de maakindustrie. We hebben vestigingen in Lommel en Leuven en werken structureel samen met onderzoeksdepartementen van de 5 Vlaamse universiteiten. Ons doel: een onderzoeksnetwerk op topniveau realiseren in Vlaanderen, waar maakbedrijven volop steun vinden voor hun innovatietrajecten. Zo dragen we bij tot nieuwe producten en processen om de voertuigen, machines en fabrieken van de toekomst te realiseren
- Coordinator (Regional government)
- Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). The Flemish Ministry of Innovation
- Year Established
- Oude Diestersebaan 133, 3920, Lommel (Belgium)
- Social Media
- Contact information
Ger van den Kerkhof
- Contact information
Filip De Coninck
+32 476 71 52 65
- Organizational form
- (part of) Public organization (part of RTO, or university)
- Number of employees
- Micro/nano electronics
- Sensory systems
- Photonics and imaging technologies
- Cyber physical systems
- Internet of things
- Artificial intelligence
- Mobility & Location based technologies
- Virtual, augmented and extended reality
- Simulation, modelling and digital twins
- Additive manufacturing
- Laser based manufacturing
Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
Through the set-up, management and execution of research projects Flanders Make builds up knowledge with regard to the key topics: smart mobility, smart machines and smart processes. Digital technologies are key for these application areas.
Flanders Make is a key element of the Flemish Transition movement towards Industry 4.0. The Flemish Government has appointed a Transition Manager which unites the different actors in the Flemish landscape to manage the digital transition in the industry. Flanders Make is one of the actors in this movement and is active partner in four different living labs in this area.
The activities of the hub are well aligned with the Belgian national initiatives for digitising industry, MADE DIFFERENT – Factories of the future and the Flemish initiative on Industrie 4.0.
Market and Services
- Manufacture of machinery and equipment
- TRL3 - Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept
- TRL4 - Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
- TRL5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
- TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
- TRL7 - System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
- Awareness creation
- Ecosystem building, scouting, brokerage, networking
- Collaborative Research
- Concept validation and prototyping
- Testing and validation
- Commercial infrastructure
Events and networking
Client profile: companies (SMEs and LCs) in the manufacturing industry.
Client needs: to provide more info on what HPC and cloud computing could bring to the manufacturing industry and what this could mean for shop floor digitalisation.
Solution: Flanders Make has organized, together with Leuven Mindgate and VSC a thematic seminar on high performance computing and cloud computing in the manufacturing industry (March 2018).
Program items were:
- HPC and cloud computing in manufacturing
- HPC for conceptual design and simulation driven machine learning
- Why HPC and artificial intelligence engineering go hand in hand
- HPC for process simulation
Technology development service
Client profile: a large manufacturing company making industrial compressor systems.
Client needs: the company would like to evaluate whether virtual reality could contribute to organize their assembly systems. More concretely, following aspects were relevant:
Training of operators for the assembly of compressors using virtual reality: it can help to get acquainted with the assembly procedure and perform the actual assembly more effectively and with higher quality. Also it may allow to detect pitfalls (i.e. difficult or error prone assembly operations) and define countermeasures, e.g. additional instructions.
Evaluation of assemblability at early stages of design. Design engineers have typically only to a limited extend insight in how difficult certain of feasible assembly operations are, e.g. bending ofcables, mounting of piping, etc. Evaluation in VR allows to detect such issues before the actual parts are manufactured and reduces costs for rework of parts.
Solution: Flanders Make developped a VR-based training for the assembly of a compressor, in which the operator gets work instructions about how to perform the different tasks.
Collaborative research and innovation
Client profile: SMEs and LCs in the manufacturing industry.
Client needs: to further digitalize the information flow to and from the operator on the shop floor.
Solution: Flanders Make has set-up the collaborative research project FAMAR with collaboration of 2 University Labs, 6 SMEs and 2 LCs with the aim to implemen augmented reality work instructions which relate to the specific context of the manufacturing process.
Flanders Make is building the methodology to allow effective creation of such work instructions for assembly and maintenance.
On the one hand the manufacturing industry, product variety and complexity are increasing to cater to the market trend of mass product customization. However, as product series become smaller, work complexity increases for assembly operators and service technicians, as they need to handle many more product configurations. This results in reduced efficiency, quality issues and the need for frequent retraining.
On the other hand, recent years have seen strong progress on both hardware and software for ""Augmented Reality"" (AR): the ability to enhance what someone actually sees with digital information. Headsets and software platforms are maturing, as well as underlying building blocks like object recognition.
Collaborative research and innovation
Currently the market is facing increasing demands for customized high-tech quality products with short delivery times. This puts extra pressure on the human operators that need to cope with a highly flexible and complex, automated production process. New information and instruction systems will support the operators and allow a first-time right assembly process and reducing the load on the operators. Through the ICON project ""OperatorInfo"" the necessary tools, guidelines and methodologies are developped to implement new information interfaces to improve the information flow towards the operators during the assembly process. The project will focus on how, when and which information is presented to and requested from the operator to make bi-directional information sharing possible in the context of long-cycle work and increasing product variations. The information provided to the operator will be dependent on the context (e.g. momentary situation, personal preferences, experience and skills, needs, etc.)
The recently submitted ICON follow-up project ""OperatorKnowledge"" targets an adaptation methodology and support system to create and maintain an evolvable set of digital assembly instructions based on real time operator feedback. The most relevant and complete information can be recorded by the operator himself on the job , by explicitly documenting his assembly process knowledge and allowing intelligent algorithms to implicitly identify and classify his tacit knowledge.
A second case relates to autonomous (electric) driving. In the ICON projects EMDAS, SITCONTROL and LOCATOR Flanders Make researches the different technologies which support clean and smart mobility in 4 different application areas:
1. Smart farming (tractor)
2. Smart public transport (bus)
3. Smart vehicle (Landrover Evoque)
4. Smart logistics (AGV)
Testing and prototype services
Flanders Make has established a ""Make Lab"". This is a mobile, fully connected research and testing infrastructure (living lab). This infrastructure is used to co-create innovative digital solutions together with companies (focus on SMEs). Flanders Make performs feasibility studies, validates own research results, developes digital operating instructions for and with companies and we perform experimental training in VR/AR technologies.
Together with a pharmaceutical company we are currently exploring the use of digital working instruction on the shop floor in one of their manufacturing plants.
Training and education
Flanders Make acts as accelerator in (digital) innovation in the manufacturing industry. Within this role Flanders Make set-up a project with 6 Flemish Fab Labs.
Between 2015 and 2017 Flanders Make invested € 180k in workshops at schools for 10 to 14 year students. The purpose was to make the students more aware of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This is the age that students make important choices about their future education. By working together with the Fab Labs and schools we also reach target groups which traditionally think less about scientific carreers, such as girls and disadvantaged.
- Horizon 2020
- European Regional Development Fund
- National basic research funding
- National specific innovation funding
- Regional funding
- Private funding
- Partner resources
- Number of customers annually
- Type of customers
- Start-up companies
- SMEs (<250 employees)
- MidCaps (between €2-10 billion turnover)
- Large companies, multi-nationals
- Research organisations
- Case New Holland
- Atlas Copco
- Van Hool
- University of Ghent (UG)
- DSP Valley
Networked, cluster organization
Private investor, institute
- Van Hoecke Automation
- Free Univeristy of Brussels (VUB)
- Thomas More Highschool
- Leuven Air Bearings
Chamber of Commerce
- Siemens AG
- Flanders Bike Valley
- Science and Innovation of the Flemish Ministry of Innovation
- Punch Torino
- University of Antwerp (UA)
- University of Hasselt (UH)
- Catholic University of Leuven (KUL)
- Agoria - Technology industry