Making mechanical engineering in Flanders more Circular
Mechanical engineering in Flanders scores strongly in terms of added value, employment and exports, but at the same time has one of the highest material footprints within the Flemish manufacturing industry. A major challenge for making the sector more circular is reverse logistics, the collection and return of materials for reuse.
Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) business models can provide a solution for this. In this model, the manufacturer retains ownership of the machine, so it collects the product back from the customer after use. After any maintenance and some repair work, the product can be rented out again. Yet this is still underused. Applying PaaS models among machine builders, and SMEs in particular, often still appears to be a step too far. Yet the switch from manufacturer to service provider has a far-reaching impact: machines are monitored more accurately, giving the customer not just a product but also a service.
With the living lab Circular Machine Building, the project partners Designregio Kortrijk, Sirris, Voka Chamber of Commerce West Flanders and three mechanical engineering companies want to offer an environment in which machine builders can test the 'product-as-a-service' through the methodology of design thinking, supported by experts and in interaction with fellow companies. The general learning lessons will be incorporated into a practical and inspiring do-book that can set SMEs in mechanical engineering on the road to making the transition to circular enterprise themselves.
The Living Lab Circular Machine Building is supported by VLAIO and runs until the end of 2024.
Partners Sirris, Voka - Kamer van Koophandel West-Vlaanderen