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The evolution of digital technology and the resulting exponential complexity increase in the products that we use all the time, also affects production technologies deeply and requires close cooperation between many companies, each delivering their unique process technology and modules. At the same time Industry 4.0 and the innovation towards product personalization – up to production lot sizes of 1 – and product servitization – where the producer remains the owner of their products during their full lifetime – bringing about the need for more local production and maintenance.

To solve these extremely complex puzzles timeously, companies need to innovate and work together closely based on mutual trust. By sharing their problems and helping each other in solving the issues in an atmosphere of open innovation, working solutions can be created in the shortest possible timeframe and further improve continuously. After having experienced this open innovation in research and development in practice at the HTC in Eindhoven, I was convinced that this was and is the way to go -also between engineering and manufacturing companies – to enable more and more local production. Therefore I immediately accepted the challenge to build an Open Manufacturing Campus OMC at Turnhout and a related ecosystem on and around the premises of Philips Lighting (now Signify), while their activity would gradually decline in parallel.

After renovating two large production halls, opened in 2015, more than 20 companies work together at OMC around themes like 3D printing and Renewable energy systems, as you can read on the following pages. Time to start the construction of a new space to keep innovation going at an even larger scale, next to the highway, half an hour’s drive from both Antwerp and Eindhoven and always open to welcome visitors!

Marc is a passionate engineer who has been active for more than 40 years in first-of-a-kind product development from the first multi-media computers to DVD recorders to smartphone chipsets and EUV light sources for the newest chip making machines of ASML. Marc spent most of his international career in The Netherlands at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

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