a division of Centexbel
VKC-Centexbel is a division of Centexbel, the Belgian textile research centre, and is focused on services on behalf of the plastics processing industry.
Centexbel was founded in 1950 by the Belgian textile industry in order to reinforce its competiveness by innovation. In the meantime, Centexbel has evolved into an organisation that is strongly embedded in the industrial tissue and which competences are recognized on a European level. Centexbel industrial services are broad covering research and development, textile testing and material characterisation, technological support, certification and training. Centexbel employs about 150 people in Gent and Grace-Hollogne.
Due to the nature of the activities of the Belgian textile industry, Centexbel has been carrying out research in the melt processing of polymers for fibres and filaments, a field that has become one of its core competences. Because this activity is closely connected with the ones of the plastics processing industry, the latter also appealed to the services of Centexbel in this area.
VKC, Flemish Plastics Centre
VKC has been founded 15 year ago, on the initiative of the Flemish plastics processing industry. The VKC objectives were the reinforcement of the plastics processing industry’s competitiveness by offering services (testing, consultancy, research).
The centre is located on the university campus in Kortrijk in the Etienne Sabbelaan.
In 2012 the centre became a division of Flanders PlasticVision, the competence pool of the plastics processing industry. This competence pool stimulates research and innovation in companies.
Under the impuls of the Province of West Flanders and being part of the strategic plan “Factories for the Future - new and smart materials and products”, supported by the plastics processing companies and the federations essenscia and Fedustria, it has been decided to reorganise the structure of Flanders PlasticVision and to assign the innovation centre to FISCH and the technology centre to Centexbel.
Factories for the future
In addition to VKC-Centexbel, other organisations are working for the plastics processing industry as well. The project of “Fabrieken voor de Toekomst” of the Province of West Flanders offers a platform to structure and optimise the offer of research and services. Centexbel has taken the lead in this initiative. More in particular, the university groups of KULAK, KULAB reinforce the academic aspects, the competence pool FISCH stimulates the idea of sustainable chemistry in the industry and the services of SIRRIS and UGent are integrated in the offer. In this way, the ambitions of the “Factories for the future”, with the VKC building as its central hub, will, in time, have a European dimension.