Koen Maertens, Picanol

“We want to know today already the questions that our customers will have in future. Flanders Make helps us with this.”

“Our customers expect from us that our machines can handle increasingly complex tasks. But they also want their operation to remain simple and intuitive.” Portfolio Manager Koen Maertens of Picanol, manufacturer of weaving machines, explains the role of Flanders Make in the search for solutions for the challenges they face.

“We work together in various research projects. For instance, we are investigating how our machines may be able to process cheaper basic materials because our customers are working with ever cheaper products. Unfortunately, these do not have the same consistency as their more expensive alternatives. Therefore, it is important that we can map this variability and we do this by using sensors. These enable us to fine-tune our machines.”

“And this immediately brings us to another challenge. Because you want these measurements to be as accurate as possible, irrespective of the ambient factors. This implies the need for highly robust sensors. An aspect that we can improve thanks to our cooperation with Flanders Make.”

“But our cooperation goes beyond application-specific improvements. We also take a long-term view. Because, as market leader, we want to know today the questions that our customers will ask us within 10 years. Questions to which we do not yet have a cut-and-dried answer ready. We might not even have any idea about the technologies that will be available for this and could be applied by us. The strategic basic research projects that we carry out together with Flanders Make focus on such issues. Together, we can pave the way for future challenges and identify possible answers.”

Koen Maertens, Picanol

“Together, we can pave the way for future challenges and identify possible answers.”

Koen Maertens, Picanol