"Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed the birth and evolution of Flanders Make. Let me explain. I work, since 2000 already, for KU Leuven within the research group ‘Dynamics of Mechanical and Mechatronic Systems’, led by my colleague Wim Desmet, and I’ve experienced from close by its predecessors Flanders Drive and FMTC. Since 2008, it is my job as an industrial research manager to build bridges towards companies, other research organisations, universities and public authorities. This entails, among others, setting up valorisation activities concerning the research performed within our research group, think of service and research projects, patents, spin-offs and suchlike. Since Flanders Make’s incorporation in 2014, I perform business development tasks on behalf of our DMMS lab (Dynamics of Mechanical and Mechatronic Systems). In this same period, our team has grown from about 15 members when I started to almost 100 employees today.
On an organisational level, Flanders Make has made considerable progress. The initial structure with various virtual departments appeared to have its limits and was replaced in 2017 by a new structure with core labs, which now works much better. Flanders Make remains a somewhat complex organisation that still has some room for improvement but I am also convinced that this complexity is one of our strengths. We can use the diversity that characterises us to distinguish ourselves from other players on the innovation market.
For our Flemish – and by extension European – stakeholders, we’ve created throughout the years ever more visibility and brand awareness. Witnessing and feeling this progress is a strong incentive and motivator. We owe this evolution no doubt to the fact that we’ve chosen for a clear focus on our strengths: dynamics (vibration, noise, motion) of mechanical and mechatronic systems, developing and applying experimental analysis, identification, monitoring and control techniques and linking them within the scope of 'digital twins' to a broad range of powerful physical behavioural modelling techniques. In these domains, we and our core partners in Flanders and the rest of the world are pioneers in the international scientific state-of-the-art and in the industrial state of use. Our focus on and investments in these areas clearly pay off. We notice more and more that stakeholders from around the world come to us, encouraged by the solid reputation that we’ve built over the past 20 years.
It is good to see that companies are convinced of our added value and come to us themselves for the areas in which we are strong. We continue – today and tomorrow – to develop our comprehensive offer by working together with other internal Flanders Make core labs with complementary expertise. In this way, we and our stakeholders help to ensure that Flanders remains the top region that – with the available brains and work ethics – it deserves to be."
“The diversity and complexity that is so typical of Flanders Make is a major asset distinguishing us from other players on the market.”