The milestones of 2018

January

We join the first VLAIO Industry 4.0 living lab projects through which companies can experiment with new techniques and business models in an easily accessible manner. Flanders Make contributes to a living lab on Smart Connectivity, the workplace of the future (CollWork 4.0) and Smart Maintenance.  

 

Flanders Make is awarded the Heart Safe label from the Red Cross. Since a couple of years, we have an AED device available on a central location. In the autumn of 2017, several colleagues followed a resuscitation and AED training course. In this way, we continue to promote safety. 

February

Optical communication systems use optical glass fibres that have a core that is smaller than 10 micrometre. Glass fibre connectors must thus be able to align these optical fibres very carefully to minimise losses. FlandersMake@.VUB applies for a patent for the design and 3D production of structures that enlarge the beam diameter on an optical connector end face in view of increasing the alignment tolerances and lowering the sensitivity of connectors for ambient pollutants such as dust.  

 

We develop a virtual design platform for engraving in sheet material. With this platform, we can determine the effect of the printing process on product parameters such as sheet thickness as well as the properties of the final product.

March

During our annual network event for our members, visitors can for the first time hop in for a ride in our self-driving bus. We focus our research on the development of specific control algorithms for avoiding obstacles and use this knowledge in other applications for autonomous systems. 

 

When processing large components in composite material, it is very important that the panels are securely clamped. Flanders Make develops a smart clamping mechanism and registers it in view of obtaining a patent. 

 

April

For the first time, Flanders Make takes part in the Hannover Messe. This trade fair also marks the first international presentation of our MAKE LAB, the mobile co-creation lab bringing knowledge and technology to companies. 

 

We develop a magnetic spring that offers solid support to electric motors at high torque impulses and file a patent application for it. 

May

The Board of Directors of Flanders Make announces the decision to expand its operations in West Flanders. From Kortrijk, Flanders Make supports manufacturing companies in their production research and innovation efforts. 

 

Learning controllers continuously improve their performances on the basis of experiences from earlier task executions. We optimise learning control algorithms for industrial applications. This will help companies to accelerate the development and calibration of advanced controllers. 

June

Experimental tests for the validation of controllers are both time-consuming and expensive. We therefore develop virtual controller tests and extensive test strategies which offer a solution.

July

Rapid energy storage is important for drivetrains of machines making back-and-forth motions to avoid major speed variations on the drive shaft or energy flows between machine and electricity grid. We therefore develop a model-based design tool to select the best possible energy technology and corresponding drivetrain components. 

September

Flanders Make could not remain absent from the first edition of technology fair SuperNova. We demonstrate innovative technological solutions at our own stand on the SuperNova Tech Fair. We also co-curate the pavilion ‘The Future of Work’ at the Super Nova Expedition, where Flemish companies demonstrate tomorrow’s working methods to the general public through the use of interactive installations. 

 

To lower the innovation thresholds for Flemish companies, we launch the ‘Innovation Boosting’ initiative. Together, we look at the potential technological and commercial innovation potential and, once established, proceed with feasibility studies and much more. In this way, we accelerate growth within the Flemish manufacturing industry. 

October

Flanders Make opens new state-of-the-art infrastructure in Lommel. Representatives of both large companies and SMEs can experience live how 3 brand new living labs with state-of-the-art (robot) technologies can help them to test and optimise their new products. They are also introduced into the latest production technologies that are needed to jump on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon. The general public can visit the new labs and other research infrastructure during ‘Open Bedrijvendag’.

November

On 27 November, we organise our annual Symposium with almost 450 registered visitors. CEOs, R&D Managers and engineers from both large and small companies discover what the future has in stall for the manufacturing industry through inspiring presentations, concrete success stories and accessible demonstrations.

 

The finishing of large components in composite material for aerospace applications is difficult and expensive. Our research achieves a breakthrough in the process for vibration-supported machining operations, reducing production time and cost and raising the quality of the final product. 

December

On 5 December, we open our brand new offices and research infrastructure in the Science Park of Leuven in the presence of Flemish Innovation Minister Philippe Muyters. With this new infrastructure, we will be able to support the industry in Flanders even better with the innovation and digital transformation that they need to jump on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon, the fourth industrial revolution that is taking place as we speak.