The manufacturing industry remains an important engine for the economy in Limburg (and in Europe) and indirectly creates a multitude of jobs in other sectors. ‘Industry 4.0’ - digital factories that flexibly deliver complex and personalised products - brings innovation to the Western manufacturing landscape. In order to achieve this innovation and digital transformation of the manufacturing sector, a SOC Manufacturing Economy will be created in the context of the SALK expert report and implementation plan to promote strategic top research. There will also be a Smart Manufacturing Campus at the Thorsite in Genk.

The manufacturing economy is still more strongly represented in Limburg than in Flanders. The initiative for the manufacturing campus is therefore based on the composition and characteristics of the Limburg economic fabric, but also on the SALK recommendations and a survey conducted by Flanders Make among its members.

The project consists of the following elements:

  1. The construction of a main building: the core of an ecosystem around contract and pilot manufacturing. This is where the technology infrastructure and expertise will be concentrated. In the main building there is also room to house companies in the manufacturing economy. 
  2. The extension of Sirris technology equipment in the field of Smart Manufacturing/AM Integrated. Sirris is moving its Smart Manufacturing operation from Diepenbeek to the Smart Manufacturing Campus.
  3. The purchase of new technology equipment to start operation of the SMC.