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Materialise may call itself a 'Factory of the Future'

8 February 2019

On 6 February no less than ten new companies received a Factories of the Future Award and joined the select group of pioneers in Flanders who are holder of this certificate. Leuven MindGate member Materialise is one of them.


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

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 a 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.

Ten new winners, much more in the pipeline

During the fifth edition of the Factory of the Future Awards in Kortrijk ten companies received the title of Factory of the Future presented by prime minister Geert Bourgeois, in the presence of more than 700 attendees from across the industry. This year’s winners 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). And five companies were able to renew their certificate for 3 years: Van Hoecke, Ontex , ED&A, Te Connectivity en Bio Bakkerij De Trog.

“These production companies have each shown to be international top-level manufacturers,” says Peter Demuynck, general manager of Agoria Flanders. 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 programme. To encourage even more companies, the best students in the class are given the title Factory of the Future.

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