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  • Research
  • Innovation

VLAIO Baekeland mandate for Ben Cloostermans in VUB-ERIKS collaboration

13-07-2020

B-PHOT receives one of the newly granted Baekeland mandates. In a collaboration with ERIKS, VUB professor Thomas Geernaert will work with Ben Cloostermans to develop smart gaskets for Industry 4.0.

The Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) has announced newly approved Baekeland mandates. Such mandates aim to give researchers the opportunity to perform a PhD research project in close collaboration with an industrial partner, and mobility of the PhD researcher between industry and academia is encouraged.

This year the success ratio was 52%. This type of mandate is a perfect fit for the collaboration between VUB B-PHOT and ERIKS, that kicked off initially through ACTPHAST4.0 innovation projects. ERIKS is an international industrial service provider and multi-product specialist that offers a wide range of high-quality mechanical engineering components and associated technical and logistics services. ERIKS currently has branches in 17 countries, with a strong position in Western Europe, the United States and a presence in South-east Asia.

In the context of Digitalisation and Industry4.0, ERIKS envisions sensorized products that can provide continuous feedback to plant operators to establish a win-win to allow for improved profitability and sustainability. ERIKS will benefit from the expertise that has been build up at B-PHOT on optical fibre sensors. Recently the optical fibre sensing lab moved to a new facility at the VUB Photonics campus. After the first feasibility studies for smart gaskets in which Ben Cloostermans was already deeply involved, this innovation track will now accelerate thanks to the additional resources of this Baekeland mandate. Ben will join the Optical Fibre Sensors team of B-PHOT, under the joint supervision of dr. Ineke van Severen (ERIKS) and prof. Thomas Geernaert (VUB B-PHOT).

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