The first Belgian Factories of the Future are announced!

February 3 was the big day: the first companies to earn the label 'Factories of the Future' were announced. As many as four companies qualified for the title. And the winners are ...

Four Belgian companies from different sectors recently transformed themselves in several areas and may from today onwards rightly call themselves Factories of the Future: Newtec, Dentsply Implants, Continental Mechelen and Provan

Newtec is a specialist in the design, development and production of equipment and technologies for satellite communications. The software, hardware and functionality of each device are adapted to fit the customer’s wishes. Their production site in Erpe-Mere is tailored to this high mix / low volume market. The most important transformations made in the course of the Made Different programme were the roll-out of a digital factory, the introduction of end-to-end engineering and the adoption of a human-centred production process. 

The main results achieved with this were:

  • A first-pass yield of 95 percent.
  • The creation of a digital factory concept in three layers, bringing people, processes, suppliers and customers closer together in the value chain.
  • More flexibility and a better optimisation of the whole operational flow as a result of cross-training employees in all departments

Dentsply Implants is a world leader in the dental implant market. The production site in Hasselt makes patient-specific aids for restoring teeth by using modern production techniques such as 3D printing and CAD/CAM milling. In their transformation into a Factory of the Future, Dentsply Implants were able to reduce their materials costs by 40 percent thanks to an investment in 3D printing technology. What’s more, it can now build on a strong network of vertical, horizontal and multi-dimensional partnerships. 

Other notable achievements were:

  • Halving the overall turnaround time.
  • A reduction in the amount of waste from 10 to 3 percent.
  • A rise in first-time-right from 60 to 90 percent.

At Continental Mechelen ABS system components and fully-finished braking systems for cars are made. During the last four years, we worked hard for a better future - the company invested heavily in the advanced automation of its production equipment, intelligent production systems and reducing the carbon footprint. With an active development policy for its employees, the company confirmed its commitment to retaining its human capital. 

Some of the most notable results achieved by Continental Mechelen were:

  • Absenteeism fell below 3 percent.
  • Continental Mechelen became the Factory of the Future Competence Centre for the entire group.

Provan, with branches in Genk and Bilzen, provides welding, laser and sheet metal working, section machining and assembly for customers from various industrial sectors. A thorough approach based on quick response manufacturing is central to everything the company does. With the introduction of a new operational planning system, it gave a great deal of attention to the concept of the digital factory. The system also increases the involvement of employees and encourages their independence. The creation of a partner network for suppliers ensured better consistency across the value chain. 

The three most important results were:

  • The throughput times of some of the major products were significantly reduced.
  • The added value of the production process at Provan tripled over the past five years.
  • The environmental impact of production was significantly reduced.

A look back at the event and an introduction to the four winners: