In the presence of Vice Minister-President and Flemish Minister of Economy, Innovation and Work Hilde Crevits, POM West Flanders, Centexbel, KU Leuven and PlastIQ officially opened the doors of the Circular Materials Center, the new training and research center for the plastics and textile sector, in Kortrijk on October 6th, 2020.
Circular entrepreneurship is on the rise. With the opening of the Circular Materials Center (CMC), West Flanders is taking a pioneering role and bundling all its expertise and know-how in the field of circular entrepreneurship. With more than 900 companies, some 15,000 jobs and an added value of more than 1.2 billion euros, the spearhead sector Advanced Materials is a key sector for West Flanders' economy and prosperity.
Investing in people and machinery
Centexbel has been the research partner for the textile and plastics sector for many years. "Circular economics will radically change the textile and plastics industry", Patrick Rigole, president of Centexbel, realizes.
But circular economy is more than just recycling. It also requires a new way of designing products so that, for example, they have a longer lifespan or can be easily dismantled. This center plays an important role here by developing the necessary competences in recycling or, for example, optimizing the eco-design of products. Thanks to the investments in people and machines made in recent years, the CMC is responding to this challenge
The CMC is primarily there for companies. "Companies can contact the CMC for a combination of new material developments, material characterization, numerical simulations and test runs. The research expertise is highly developed in the field of injection moulding, extrusion, compounding, fundamental and applied polymer research or 3D printing", sums up Piet Desmet, Vice Rector of KU Leuven. "Companies can develop and test innovative ideas on site in co-creation and under supervision. We are ready for both solving simple problems and long-term research for companies".