Flanders has ten new Factories of the Future

One of the key objectives of Agoria and Sirris is to encourage the technological industry to contribute to a prosperous and sustainable society. Together with other partners, Agoria and Sirris support manufacturing companies to achieve this goal, for example by means of the ‘Factory of the Future’ project.

10 new winners

During the fifth edition of the Factory of the Future Awards in Kortrijk, another ten companies received the title of Factory of the Future from Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois. The companies are BMT Aerospace (Oostkamp), Bosch (Tienen), Colruyt Group Fine Food (Halle), Duracell (Aarschot), Janssen (Geel), Lavetan (Turnhout), Mirion Technologies (Olen), Niko Group (Sint-Niklaas), Materialise (Leuven) and RF-technologies (Oosterzele). “These production companies have each demonstrated to operate on an international top-level”, says Peter Demuynck, general director of the technology federation Agoria Vlaanderen, who presents the awards together with Sirris, Fevia Vlaanderen, Fedustria Vlaanderen, Essenscia Vlaanderen, Centexbel, Catalisti and Flanders’ FOOD.

Factories of the Future invest in digitisation, smart processes and products and in global production, while also thoughtfully dealing with energy and materials and paying attention to involvement, creativity and autonomy of their employees.

Digitised production processes

In order to become a Factory of the Future, companies must go through seven transformations. “With the Made Different action programme, we have been preparing the manufacturing industry for industry 4.0 since 2012”, says Herman Derache, Managing Director at Sirris and Head of Innovation at Agoria. In order to remain successful - despite or thanks to the quickly changing technological, economic and social evolutions - our companies have to reinvent themselves time and time again and must also thoughtfully deal with energy and materials, besides adopting a human-oriented approach.

‘Factories of the Future’ deliver customer-specific products with high added value and have the agility to respond quickly to rapidly changing market demands. With an open mind to new business models, ‘Factories of the Future’ are fully committed to digitised production processes. They make maximum use of modern production technologies.

More jobs and investments

Over the past five years, the 30 Factories of the Future have invested more than €850 million in the renewal of infrastructure, digitisation and automation. In addition, their employment increased by 15 percent. “This is proof that robotisation and automation do not come at the expense of employment, on the contrary”, says Herman Derache.

More than 600 Flemish manufacturing companies in the technology industry have now started the transformation with the support of the Made Different partners. To encourage even more companies, the best students in the class are given the title Factory of the Future.

International success

Not only the Factories of the Future spread their wings and turn to the international outside world. Agoria and Sirris do the same. They promote their vision of the Factory of the Future and the Made Different methodology in Europe, and this has not gone unnoticed. In Germany the attention for ‘the human factor’ in Industry 4.0 is quickly rising, the Netherlands has adopted the concept of ‘Factories of the Future’ since last year and 15 other European countries, under the auspices of the European Commission, are also preparing to integrate an action programme such as Made Different in their approach.

The Flemish government can also co-invest

Peter Demuynck, general director of the technology federation Agoria Vlaanderen, calls on the Flemish government to take Flanders further to the top in Europe in industry 4.0 and to emphasise industry-driven innovation. Agoria Flanders therefore proposes to set up an ‘advanced manufacturing’ impulse programme, which, in addition to R&D, also pays attention to awareness raising and concrete application by as many Flemish companies as possible, in analogy to the impulse programme on artificial intelligence and cyber security. Such an impulse programme could also be the trigger for industry, government and knowledge and research institutions to jointly draw up a industry 4.0 roadmap for Flanders.

BMT Aerospace, Bosch Tienen, Colruyt Group Fine Food, Duracell, Janssen, Lavetan, Mirion Technologies, Niko Group, RF-technologies and Materialise are joining the growing group of Factories of the Future. Last year Borit, Reynaers Aluminium, Dekeyzer-Ossaer and Lantmännen Unibake won an award. In 2017 it was Daikin, Nuscience, Rousselot, Veranneman Technical Textiles and Valeo. And in 2016 the awards were granted to E.D.&A., JTEKT Torsen Europe, Ontex, Punch Powertrain, TE Connectivity, Bio Bakkerij De Trog and Van Hoecke NV. Continental, Provan, Dentsply implants and Newtec received the first awards in 2015.

For more information please contact the award winners, Agoria Vlaanderen or Sirris.

Discover all factories of the future !

Sirris, Marie-France Rousseau - Communication Manager Sirris, tel. +32 498 91 94 56 – marie-france.rousseau@sirris.be 

Agoria, Frederik Meulewaeter - Marketing & Communication, tel.  +32 477 39 75 43 - frederik.meulewaeter@agoria.be