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VIS project gets innovation followers on track with new technologies

While open source technologies and rapid development platforms are lowering the barriers for SMEs, these players are not always aware of their systems’ improvement potential or how to implement improvements cost-effectively. With the VIS project ‘Mechatronics for innovation followers’, Sirris is showing them the way.
  • Open source technologies offer opportunities for small businesses
  • VIS project informs and assists innovation followers to make smart use of these technologies 
  • Large and diverse target audience, resulting in various follow-up projects

 

The main aim of the VIS (Flemish innovation partnership) projects funded by IWT/VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship) is to take a practical problem experienced by a group of companies and come up with innovative solutions that can be implemented quickly and result in visible changes with clear economic added value. The main target group is SMEs with limited R&D capacity.  

“With the VIS project ‘Mechatronics for innovation followers’, Sirris is getting SMEs on track with open source technologies and rapid development platforms.” 

Open source opens new doors

The rise of open source technologies and rapid development platforms in recent years has lowered barriers, particularly for smaller mechanical engineering firms with limited R&D capacity. It means they require less in-house technological expertise and can concentrate fully on the applications themselves.

However, these players are not always aware of their systems’ improvement potential or the most cost-effective way to implement the new technologies. With the two-year VIS project ‘Mechatronics for innovation followers’, Sirris is helping them to make the right choices and so bolster their competitiveness. 

Various contact methods

The target group consists mainly of product designers, integrators and family-run mechanical engineering firms with limited scope for investing in competency development or product innovation. They were approached in various ways, both individually and collectively. For example, companies were able to present a specific case or technological issue at an individual workshop, at which Sirris experts gave neutral advice or outlined various possible solutions. Group sessions and demos were also held, and innovation followers received plenty of practical information via digital newsletters and blog articles.

Specific follow-up projects

The goal was to help 125 companies in two years, whether through individual or collective contact. This target has been exceeded, with over 150 companies receiving support. The innovation followers showed particular interest in low-cost digital sensors and rapid development platforms, and there have been various specific follow-up projects since (e.g. SME portfolio, IWT project applications).