Co-creation and open innovation

We team up with customers and suppliers around the globe to develop, implement, upgrade and protect both current and future technologies. Listening closely to our customers and understanding how our products function within their production lines and products is key to developing fit-for-use solutions.

There is an increasing trend in co-development projects with our strategic suppliers. We also consider corporate venturing by investing in companies and venture capital funds worldwide. Our related investments are minority interests in young start-up companies with innovative technologies that can support Bekaert’s sustainable profitable growth strategy.

Bekaert seeks international partners for cooperation with universities and research institutes. In 2013, we continued to cooperate with academic institutes, technology clusters and research partners from different countries in order to bring an outside-in approach.

  • Bekaert is active in several Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM) programs. We have a research partnership with the University of Leuven (Belgium), the metal research activities cluster in Ghent (Belgium) and the ‘Université de Lille’ (France). Bekaert started a new partnership with the University of Brussels (Belgium). Bekaert is an active member of the Flanders Mechatronic Center and Flanders Drive and collaborates with the Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI) in Eindhoven (The Netherlands).
  • In China, we have a partnership with the Institute of Metal Research (IMR) in Shenyang (Liaoning province) and with Tsinghua University in Beijing.
  • In Slovakia, we have a research contract with the University of Trnava.
  • In the US, collaborative research efforts continue to be carried out at the Colorado School of Mines.

We wish to thank the Flemish government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) as well as the Belgian federal government. Their subsidies and incentives for R&D projects, involving highly-educated scientific personnel and researchers in Flanders, are pivotal in securing a foothold for our R&D activities in Belgium.

Bekaert_Seminar HSTS

In October 2013, Bekaert organized and hosted an International Scientific Seminar on high strength steel wire. Renowned international experts in the field of high strength steel, from various institutes and steel-making companies, attended the seminar and discussed new developments in the field with Bekaert’s technology specialists.

Innovation in production processes and equipment

The need for more sustainable solutions in energy and materials consumption is a major force in Bekaert’s innovation-driven culture. We therefore put a lot of effort into making our plants and processes more environmentally friendly. We do our utmost to remove hazardous materials from our production processes. We continue our search for alternative, environmentally friendly coatings. In 2013, we continued several projects that further reduce emissions, waste residue and the consumption of chemicals and materials. On top of this, in close development with some customers, we invest in solutions that make their production processes more environmental friendly.

Bekaert’s in-house engineering department plays a key role in the optimization of our production processes and machinery. This department designs, manufactures, installs and services the critical equipment for our production plants worldwide. Bekaert’s engineering activities are organized on a global scale with a network of engineers and technicians in Belgium, China, India, Slovakia and Brazil. Newly designed equipment by Bekaert Engineering always combines performance improvement in various areas, including product quality, production excellence, cost efficiency, ergonomics and environmental impact.

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