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Factory of the Future

Our technological industry is facing big challenges: delivering quality, monitoring and implementing new developments, maintaining the affordability of small production runs, guaranteeing short lead times, delivering large quantities and business sustainability, and more. Certain major transformations are required to achieve the objectives and become a Factory of the Future. The support provided by Sirris and their partners has helped us make our factories future-proof.

Seven new Factories of the Future in Belgium

At the sixth edition of the Factories of the Future Awards, Audi Brussels (Vorst), Kautex Textron Benelux (Tessenderlo), Total (Evergem) and Vandemoortele (Izegem) received Factory of the Future awards from Nathalie Muylle, the Belgian Minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs. Agoria and Sirris have been jointly awarding this prize for six years, together with Fevia Vlaanderen, Fedustria Vlaanderen, Essenscia Vlaanderen, Centexbel, Catalisti, and Flanders’ FOOD.

Daikin (Oostende), Rousselot (Ghent) and Veranneman Technical Textiels (Ardooie) keep the Factory of the Future title for another three years. These companies were assessed for the first time in 2017. The title stands for three years, so they were recently audited again based on an updated methodology.

On 19 June 2020 three Walloon companies received the Factory of the Future award at an online press conference held by Digital Wallonia: Jumo Automation (Eupen), Alstom Belgium (Charleroi) and Valeo (Meslin-l'Evêque).

To hold the Factory of the Future title for three years, companies are required to invest in seven essential transformations, as set out by Sirris and Agoria in the Made-Different methodology. These factories offer their customers specific products with high added value. They are sufficiently agile to anticipate rapidly changing market demand. They are open to new business models and resolutely invest in digital production processes, which are deployed to the greatest extent possible in combination with a strong human-friendly approach.

In 2020, Belgium had 38 Factories of the Future. The new 2021 Factories of the Future have been announced since. Find out more about the new Factories of the Future!
Inspiration for seven transformations to become Factory of the Future

The online training course ”The 7 Transformations Experience” – launched by Sirris and Agoria in 2020 – is aimed at providing the concrete information required by companies to advance and strengthen their position and competitiveness in the Belgian, European and international markets. This training course provides answers to questions on the Factory of the Future and the seven transformations required. The experience offered is inspired by actions taken by other companies: digitisation of the company and their production resources, automation, flexible strategy, organisation of the work, optimisation of collaborative processes, continuous training of staff, etc. 

Sirris experts’ vision on post-COVID-19 industrial recovery 

COVID-19 ruthlessly struck the world in early 2020. The crisis caused by the pandemic has brought about many changes. How do manufacturing companies handle the situation? What will happen after “lockdown light”? What is the impact on Industry 4.0? In late April, we asked our in-house experts these questions at an online round-table meeting.

We drafted a status report on society and the economy in view of the upcoming recovery and looked ahead towards the future. Jan Kempeneers (Senior Engineer, Smart and Digital Factory), Peter ten Haaf (Program Manager, Precision Manufacturing), Alain Jacques (Engineer, Smart and Digital Factory), Bart Verlinden (Program Manager, Smart and Digital Factory), Walter Auwers (Business Unit Manager Advanced Manufacturing) and Benjamin Denayer (former Team Leader, Additive Manufacturing) debated four fundamental questions and provided their view based on their experience within the industry:

  • What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Industry 4.0?
  • Will specific technologies gain significance now or in the future?
  • What potential effect can our companies expect after the crisis?
  • How can companies react to absorb the impact, both now and in preparation for the future?