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Sirris Hub Mechatronics and Digitising Manufacturing Sirris Hub Mechatronica en Digitising Manufacturing

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Contact Data

Coordinator (Research & Technology organization)

Sirris, The collective Centre for and by the technological industry in Belgium

Coordinator website

Year Established



Celestijnenlaan 300C, 3001, Leuven (Belgium)


Social Media

Contact information

Pascal Pollet
+32 498 91 94 60



The DIH addresses the need of the local industry for practical and advanced knowledge about mechatronics and digitizing manufacturing. The DIH started its activities in 2015. The scope of the initiative is introducing new and digital technologies into products and processes.

The themes for mechatronics are:

  • Mechatronical product development
  • Smart connected products
  • Mechatronical integration in production
  • Ecomechatronics

The themes for digitizing manufacturing are:

  • Dealing with complexity
  • First time right production
  • Enabling fast response in production
  • Support the operator
  • Making the shop floor transparent

The services of the DIH are:

  • Industrial feasibility studies
  • Research projects for industry
  • Sensibilisation and inspiration for new technologies
  • Training, Master Classes
  • Making the bridge between new technologies and industry

The DIH is linked to the Flemish and Wallonian regional Industry 4.0 policy and linked to Factories of the Future to digitise the industry;

Het initiatief beantwoordt de nood voor de lokale industrie op het vlak van praktische en geavanceerde kennis betreffende mechatronica en digitising manufacturing. Het initiatief startte zijn activiteiten in 2015. De scope is het introduceren van nieuwe en digitale technologieën in producten en processen. The themes for mechatronics are: • Mechatronisch productontwikkeling • Slimme geconnecteerde producten • Mechatronische integratie in productie • Ecomechatronics The themes for digitizing manufacturing are: • Omgaan met complexiteit • First time right productie • Korte doorlooptijden in productie • Ondersteuning van de operator • De werkvloer transparant maken De dienstverleningen van het initiatief zijn: • Industriële haalbaarheidsstudies • Onderzoeksprojecten voor de industrie • Sensibilisatie en inspiratie voor nieuwe technologieën • Training, Master classes, • De brug maken tussen nieuwe technologieën en de industrie

Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry

The DIH is linked to the Flemish and Wallonian regional Industry 4.0 policy and linked to Factories of the Future to digitise the industry; The Madedifferent Factory of the Future approach is now being rolled-out towards Europe. 

Market and Services

Market sectors

  • Manufacture of rubber and plastic products
  • Manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products
  • Manufacture of machinery and equipment
  • Manufacture of electrical and optical equipment
  • Manufacture of transport equipment

TRL Focus

  • TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
  • TRL7 - System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
  • TRL5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
  • TRL8 - Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration
  • TRL9 - Actual system proven through successful mission operations

Services provided

  • Awareness creation
  • Ecosystem building, scouting, brokerage, networking
  • Collaborative Researchs
  • Concept validation and prototyping
  • Testing and validation
  • Commercial infrastructure
  • Incubator/accelerator support
  • Education and skills development

Service Examples

Ecosystem building

An example of ecosystem building is the cluster ‘IBN Digitising Manufacturing’. This cluster was started with the support of the Flemish government end 2016. The cluster has about 20 members. 50% of the members are manufacturing companies, the other 50% are ICT-companies. These companies are working together in 6 themes: Dealing with complexity, First time right production, Enabling fast response in production, Support the operator, Making the shop floor transparent, Connected Factories. The purpose is to set up development projects where a manufacturing company has a challenge that can not be solved with commercially available solutions and an ICT company has an idea for a new product or service that needs testing in an production environment. The first activities of the cluster were bringing the companies together and getting to understand their specific needs. In the next step now the first concrete project ideas start to emerge. This is an elegant way to bring digital solutions into an production environment. The benefit for a production company is that they obtain a solution for their problems, and the IT company gets a free testing environment and a first reference case.

Product development

From adding sensing, actuation and control to a simple mechanical product to extending a mechatronical system with cloud connectivity: by embedding intelligence and connectivity into their products product builders can add value to them in myriad ways.

The DIH supports companies in their shift towards smart, connected products, both through collective research projects and bilateral projects. Haelvoet, a Belgian manufacturer of furniture for care centers, is such a company that the DIH has been supporting from feasibility study to industrialization of a smart bed. In the context of the collective project Mechatronics 4.0 the mechatronics group of the DIH studied the feasibility of various sensor systems, resulting in a proof-of-concept of the smart bed. The generic learnings from this case were shared with a user group of SME’s facing similar technological challenges. In a bilateral follow-up project the DIH is supporting Haelvoet with the actual development of the innovative smart bed by bringing in design and industrialization expertise in low-cost sensing, mechanical integration and embedded software.

MadeDifferent: transition towards Factory of the Future

An efficient manufacturing industry is vitally important to the prosperity of our region, because if even more manufacturing disappears from Europe, it will irrevocably be followed by planning, design, research and development, provisionsupply, logistics, technical education, engineering faculties and a number of other support services.

The aim of the Made Different action plan is for the Flemish government, the technology federation Agoria and its joint research centre Sirris to strengthen Flanders' manufacturing industry and make it a world leader. The Made Different action plan is designed to give the manufacturing industry in Flanders a future in the industrial landscape of the 21st century. Our approach entails raising awareness, providing information and offering specific guidance. To ensure the latter, we have designed seven paths, each of which spotlights one of the seven necessary transformations our companies need to undergo to become real ‘Factories of the Future’.

More details:

A typical example of a feasibility study is the project together with Provan. Provan is an SME specialized in subcontracting metal working (sheet metal, welding). One of the main challenges for a company like Provan is dealing with a large variety of components that need to be produced. Within this context short lead times and a good delivery performance are not easy to achieve. Sirris helped Provan to introduce a complete new way of production organization. This was based on the principles of Quick Response Manufacturing. In a second phase Provan digitized the production flow. Combining the new way of production together with the right digital tools has led to significant improvements for Provan. Lead times were reduced by 80%, and the variety they could handle was even increased.


Organizational form

(Part of) Private organization



Number of employees


Evolutionary Stage

Fully operational

Geographical Scope



  • Regional funding
  • Memberships
  • Other


Sirris partner network

Partner Type



Technological competences

  • Sensors, actuators, MEMS, NEMS, RF
  • Broadband and other communication networks (e.g. 5G)
  • Cyber physical systems (e.g. embedded systems)
  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Internet of Things (e.g. connected devices, sensors and actuators networks)
  • Artificial Intelligence and cognitive systems
  • Data mining, big data, database management
  • Simulation and modelling
  • ICT management, logistics and business systems
Last updated: 08/09/18 11:14