Open innovation

Open innovation

Open innovation in East and West

Cooperation with other organizations leads to faster innovation, to complementary knowledge and capacities, and to more cost-efficient R&D. While many of our development projects are in cooperation with industrial partners, we rely mainly on academic partners for our longer term research.

In 2010, we cooperated with the Institute of Metal Research in Shenyang, Tsinghua University and Beijing Research & Design Institute of Rubber Industry, both in Beijing. At the same time, we worked on establishing similar collaboration programs with Indian research institutes.

In Belgium, we were active in research programs with the Belgian universities in Leuven and Ghent. Other research partnerships in Belgium were set up with the Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM) in Ghent, a new initiative to cluster and boost material research in Flanders and create a strategic external platform for Bekaert’s Belgium-based R&D facilities.

Building up application knowledge

In 2010 we took the technology partnerships with our customers to the next level. It involves taking our customers’ process in-house to build up application knowledge in close collaboration with the customer and with machine manufacturers. In short, we invest together with our customers and help them optimize their production processes.

Protecting our intellectual property

In 2010 Bekaert filed 41 first patent applications. This is the second highest number ever, reflecting our ever growing efforts in R&D.
We also further expanded our IP team in Belgium, while in China, our IP team focused on bringing about systems capable of further improving the quality of the confidentiality structure.

Acknowledgements

Our thanks go to the Flemish government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). Its subsidies for R&D projects, involving highly-educated scientific personnel and researchers in Flanders are pivotal in securing the foothold of our R&D activities in Belgium.

In 2010, we presented six new R&D projects to IWT, and we applied for the Eureka Label for those projects involving European partners. Furthermore, Bekaert registered for two new European projects under the FP7 Framework Program.

Bekaert is ready for future growth in India, which is one of the reasons why we installed the Bekaert India Technical Center (BITC) in Ranjangaon. Bekaert’s first steel cord technical center in India supports the technological challenges and needs faced by local tire manufacturers as India surges forward in steel reinforced radial tire.

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