• Oerlikon Balzers has received the 2016 Award for Supplier Excellence from THK Rhythm in Changzhou, China. Oerlikon Balzers was recognized for its contributions to THK’s culture of excellence and commitment to quality, value and cost performance. THK Rhythm Changzhou in China is part of the Japanese THK Group and is a component supplier for the

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    Oerlikon Balzers has received the 2016 Award for Supplier Excellence from THK Rhythm in Changzhou, China. Oerlikon Balzers was recognized for its contributions to THK’s culture of excellence and commitment to quality, value and cost performance.

    THK Rhythm Changzhou in China is part of the Japanese THK Group and is a component supplier for the automotive industry. Since 2011, Oerlikon Balzers has developed customized plasma heat treatment solutions for and in close cooperation with THK Rhythm in Changzhou. The advanced heat treatment process BALITHERM IONIT OX has been adapted to meet THK’s needs, focusing on optimum wear and corrosion protection for ball pins.

    The BALITHERM IONIT OX process makes ball pins, tie rods, brake discs and many other suspension components wear-resistant and durable. Moreover, no hazardous chemicals are used. Thus BALITHERM IONIT OX is the efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to common methods of treatment such as hard chrome plating or salt bath nitriding. Oerlikon Balzers treats millions of ball pins every year for leading vehicle manufacturers worldwide.

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  • The popularity of a normal car usually declines after seven years, at the end of its sales cycle. Built by Volvo Car Gent, the Volvo XC60 is clearly not a normal car. The millionth car has just rolled off the production line. 161,092 Volvo XC60 were produced in the Ghent Volvo plant in 2016. That’s

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    The popularity of a normal car usually declines after seven years, at the end of its sales cycle. Built by Volvo Car Gent, the Volvo XC60 is clearly not a normal car. The millionth car has just rolled off the production line.

    161,092 Volvo XC60 were produced in the Ghent Volvo plant in 2016. That’s 64,000 more than 5 years ago (2011). The millionth Volvo XC60 rolled off the line in April 2017, 8 years after its initial launch.

    All Volvo Car Gent employees were invited to celebrate with a fruit tart during their team meeting.

    XC60 most successful model

    The Volvo XC60 is one of the most successful models in Volvo’s recent history. Equipped with the City Safety system, it was the first car to automatically brake when approaching an obstacle if the driver did not intervene.

    The Volvo XC60 has been the best-selling midsize SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) in Europe ever since 2015.

    Sales of the XC60 have increased year after year. One could say that the SUV is quite a phenomenon, since the classic sales curve of growth, maturity and decline does not apply to this model.

    New sales record in March 2017

    The XC60 is still riding the wave of success. In March of this year, the XC60 was still the best-seller with 18,420 units sold. This is nearly two thousand more than the year before.

    The Volvo XC60 was first produced in Ghent. Volvo Car Chengdu began building this model in 2014 for the Chinese market, and Volvo Car Manufacturing Malaysia is also making the XC60.

    Revamped XC60 revealed

    “The Volvo XC60 was a huge success for Volvo Cars,” says plant manager Eric Van Landeghem. “Volvo is also set to enter the segment of premium compact SUVs with the launch of the Volvo XC40. I am convinced that it will be just as successful as the XC60.”

    At the Geneva Motor Show, Volvo Cars revealed the new XC60 SUV. The current model will remain in production until after the summer break.

     

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  • Toyota Motor Europe is a caring organisation. Based in Brussels, the European marketing organisation of car manufacturer Toyota collects funds, clothes and food for the homeless in Brussels. Internally, these actions boost the team spirit. Based in Brussels, and staffed by 2,700 people of 63 nationalities, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) handles the wholesale marketing of

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    Toyota Motor Europe is a caring organisation. Based in Brussels, the European marketing organisation of car manufacturer Toyota collects funds, clothes and food for the homeless in Brussels. Internally, these actions boost the team spirit.

    Based in Brussels, and staffed by 2,700 people of 63 nationalities, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) handles the wholesale marketing of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, parts & accessories, and manages Toyota’s European manufacturing and engineering operations.

    Over the last four years Toyota volunteers have worked hand in hand with the Belgium-based non-governmental organisation Serve the City. They provide assistance to a wide range of people in need throughout the country including the displaced, the homeless, the elderly and also vulnerable families living on the breadline.

    Money, food and clothes for homeless people

    Toyota employees have achieved quite a lot for Serve the City:

    • In 2013, they filled three Toyota Proace vans with food and clothing for the homeless and deprived in Belgium.
    • In 2014, they filled & delivered 250 boxes of toys, sweets, healthcare products, books & electrical equipment for children living in hostels in Brussels.
    • In 2015, they raised over 26,000 euros. On top of that, TME donated a fully equipped brand new Toyota Proace van to charity.
    • In 2016, they collected over 16,000 euros in just 4 weeks. This money will enable Serve the City to purchase a mobile kitchen & serve more meals on the streets of Brussels. On top of that, Toyota members filled two vans with food and hygiene products that Serve the City have been using to care for homeless people throughout the harsh winter period.

    High response from TME employees

    “As much as I am proud to work for Toyota, I am deeply proud of my colleague’s activities to help the local community”, says Elena Kim – Body Group, Research & Development Division.

    “In 2014 we prepared nearly 300 parcels of Christmas gifts for children in need. Each parcel was personalised and addressed to a certain young person who had been identified by Serve the City; they contained toys, sweets, games and hygienic products. I was surprised to see the high response from TME employees towards the activity – people were bringing gifts every day, donating money and helping us to wrap the presents during their lunch times.”

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  • Are you knowledgeable in electric vehicles? Passionate about electronics or IT? If so, the Belgian automotive industry is looking for you. There are currently 600 job vacancies in some 30 companies. Some thirty Belgian companies in the automotive industry currently have 600 jobs to fill. This has been revealed by a survey conducted by Agoria,

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    Are you knowledgeable in electric vehicles? Passionate about electronics or IT? If so, the Belgian automotive industry is looking for you. There are currently 600 job vacancies in some 30 companies.

    Some thirty Belgian companies in the automotive industry currently have 600 jobs to fill. This has been revealed by a survey conducted by Agoria, the Belgian technology federation, on the occasion of the Brussels Motor Show. “Both large manufacturing companies and suppliers are looking for people,” says Agoria CEO Marc Lambotte.

    Electric talent wanted

    Interestingly, the transition to electric vehicles is visible in the list of job vacancies. Many companies are looking for people who are trained in electric mobility, including car manufacturer Audi Brussels, supplier C-Mac Elektromag in Ronse and bus manufacturer VDL in Roeselare.

    10 new jobs at VDL

    Roeselare based VDL Bus & Coach  is playing the electric bus card. Having landed several major contracts, the company is now looking to fill ten new positions.

    “In Europe, public transport is undergoing a revolution which is focusing increasingly on sustainability, eco-friendliness and the application of innovations,” says HR Manager Sharon Lepoudre. “We therefore want to attract new people with a very specific electrical background, at all levels and in all departments of our company.”

    C-Mac Elektromag has 6 new jobs

    Ronse based C-Mac Elektromag produces electronic components for car manufacturers. It is looking for six new people.

    “We are constantly looking for skilled technical staff, because we introduce new technologies and new processes very regularly,” explains C-Mac Manager Danny Detemmerman. “In addition, our products are becoming more and more complex, traceability requirements keep getting more stringent, and production is increasingly automated and digitized. At the same time, we also want to replace the baby boomers who are gradually retiring.”

    Audi Brussels has about 100 new jobs

    This year, at Audi Brussels, preparations are underway for the production of an all-electric vehicle. The company is trying to fill about 100 jobs.

    “Audi Brussels will soon launch a brand new project,” announces HR Manager Erik Prieels. “The Audi e-tron will be the first 100% electric SUV in the Audi Group with production kicking off in Brussels from 2018. This will enable us to build expertise and expand our current knowledge of automotive technology and automation and it means we can offer a dream job to anyone with a passion for the latest technologies.”

    Apply for a job through BeAutomotive.be

    You will find the jobs offered by the automotive companies on http://beautomotive.be/#jobs/. Interested candidates (graduates, alumni and job seekers) should contact the companies via the link or e-mail address listed in each job vacancy.

     

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  • AKKA-MATIS Benelux and Zaventem-based Toyota Motor Europe on Tuesday, 22 November took part in the “Futurs Diplomés Motorisations & Entreprises Partenaires” event held by the IFP School (Institut Français du Pétrole) in the Île-de-France region. Since both companies share the will to invest in a new generation of engineers for the automotive industry, they seized

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    AKKA-MATIS Benelux and Zaventem-based Toyota Motor Europe on Tuesday, 22 November took part in the “Futurs Diplomés Motorisations & Entreprises Partenaires” event held by the IFP School (Institut Français du Pétrole) in the Île-de-France region. Since both companies share the will to invest in a new generation of engineers for the automotive industry, they seized this opportunity to show the students of the Powertrain Engineering programme the career opportunities they can offer them.

    The IFP School trains students from all over the world, helping them become the motorization experts of the future, with specialisations ranging from research to design and the implementation of the entire powertrain and its main componenents. The innovative nature of this programme fits perfectly with the technology DNA of AKKA-MATIS Benelux and Toyota Motor Europe. It is therefore not surprising that both companies are employing a lot of people who graduated from the IFP.

    AKKA-MATIS Benelux and Toyota Motor Europe: a lasting partnership

    After a four-year collaboration, AKKA-MATIS Benelux and Toyota Motor Europe recently decided to enter into a special partnership aimed at providing a unique opportunity to one of the final-year students of the Powertrain Engineering programme of the IFP School. This student will have the opportunity to participate in a programme during which he/she will be able to complement his/her studies with added work experience at Toyota Motor Europe through the consultancy firm AKKA-MATIS Benelux.

    During one year, this student will be able to enjoy personal coaching as well as our [CW1] management system which focuses on proximity, while working directly at the Toyota Motor Europe site on the projects of one of the major players in Belgian automotive.

    AKKA-MATIS Benelux: close relationships with industrial partners

    This new initiative, which fits in with the ambition of AKKA-MATIS Benelux to expand its activities in the automotive industry, strengthens the already strong bonds between AKKA-MATIS Benelux and Toyota Motor Europe even more.

    By nurturing this kind of robust and close relationship with its customers, AKKA-MATIS Benelux has made it to number one on the Belgian industrial engineering consultancy market and the company is able to give its employees the opportunity to work on the biggest technological projects in Belgium.

    More information: www.akka-technologies.com

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  • Volvo Trucks Belux will be holding the Volvo Trucks Hackathon Challenge on 17 and 18 February 2017. The idea behind the event is to bring students, start-ups and developers together to collaborate on a creative solution to calculate the real know cost of a trip for a carrier and hence improve mobility. Nowadays, connectivity allows

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    Volvo Trucks Belux will be holding the Volvo Trucks Hackathon Challenge on 17 and 18 February 2017. The idea behind the event is to bring students, start-ups and developers together to collaborate on a creative solution to calculate the real know cost of a trip for a carrier and hence improve mobility.

    Nowadays, connectivity allows us to combine very diverse datasets together, which, in turn, offers whole new possibilities, also in the area of mobility.

    In everyday life, carriers find it very difficult to know the exact cost of transporting goods from point A to point B. Eager to assist carriers in these efforts, Volvo Trucks is wondering whether it would be possible to devise a solution.

    Can this solution take into account the most effective transport time based on specific routes?

    • Is it possible to take into account the kilometre levy in this calculation?
    • Can this[CW1]  be integrated with the fuel consumption?
    • Is it possible to include traffic information?
    • Is it possible to factor in safety issues?
    • Is it possible to take into account the maintenance costs of the truck?
    • Can the safety of the driver and his environment be taken into account?
    • In short, is it possible to develop a tool that can display the cost per trip using as many parameters as possible in the computation?

    Volvo Trucks is organising the Volvo Trucks Hackathon Challenge on 17 and 18 February 2017 to determine if these questions can deliver workable solutions.

    Developing a Route Cost Calculator

    Volvo trucks are already generating a lot of interesting and useful data which is displayed through the Volvo Dynafleet telematics solution. However, Volvo Trucks believes that this data could also be used in other ways and is making it available to its customers through the Dynafleet API. In addition to this Dynafleet data, other datasets will also be used, such as traffic information, fuel costs, tolls, traffic conditions, certain road types, etc. For this purpose, Volvo Trucks has contacted many ‘data providers’ who will make their data available for the hackathon.

    Ultimately, the Volvo Trucks Hackathon Challenge aims to develop a Route Cost Calculator.

    The participants will be given 32 hours to develop their ideas and then submit them to an international jury. The jury will evaluate the proposals on the basis of:

    • Innovation
    • Feasibility
    • Value for the end-user

    Pieter De bruyn, Product Support Engineer at Volvo Trucks: “It’s incredibly exciting to be able to organise this Volvo Trucks Hackathon Challenge. We hope to attract a wide variety of teams with unbridled creativity and insight into data analysis. The event, we firmly believe, will generate many ideas for useful tools, which will be of great value to our customers.”

    What is a hackathon?

    A hackathon is an event where people come together to solve a problem, often using software. The term is a contraction of Hack and Marathon. As for “hack”, it is used in the benign sense of exploratory programming. During a hackathon, several teams with different specialties are given a set number of hours to develop usable innovative ideas.

    For more information, please visit http://www.volvotruckshackathonchallenge.be/

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  • Employees are celebrating at Volvo Car Gent, as they rolled the 6 millionth Volvo off the production line. Reason enough for plant manager Eric Van Landegem to treat his people to 6,000 éclairs. With a daily output of 1,200 cars, the production rate at Volvo’s Belgian plant is brisk. It looks like Volvo Car Gent

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    Employees are celebrating at Volvo Car Gent, as they rolled the 6 millionth Volvo off the production line. Reason enough for plant manager Eric Van Landegem to treat his people to 6,000 éclairs.

    With a daily output of 1,200 cars, the production rate at Volvo’s Belgian plant is brisk. It looks like Volvo Car Gent will produce more than 250,000 Volvo V40, S60 and XC60 this year, and this for the sixth year in a row.

    1 million cars every 4 years

    Let’s look back briefly at Volvo’s fascinating history. Volvo Car Ghent began building cars in 1964 in Alsemberg. In 1965, it launched the current plant in Ghent.

    The first millionth Volvo in Ghent was built in 1988. It took almost another decade to reach the two-million car milestone in 1997.

    In 2004, the yearly output of 200,000 cars was exceeded for the first time. The pace picked up from then on: three million cars at Volvo Car Gent in 2004, four million in 2008, and five million at the end of 2012.

    Ghent customer gets party going

    In keeping with tradition, a group photo was taken of the six millionth Volvo with (left in front of the car) plant manager Eric Van Landegem and Javier Varela, the new Sr Vice President Manufacturing and Logistics.

    The feted car is a white V40 T2 (petrol) in the ‘Volvo Ocean Race’ version. By buying his first Volvo, Dirk Everaert from Ghent kicked off the party ahead of the festive season.

    6,000 éclairs for all staff members

    Six thousand éclairs were ordered so that all staff members could celebrate this milestone. They were able to sample them during team meetings throughout the day.

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  • Punch Powertrain, VCST and Tenneco are already employing more than 2,400 people in the automotive sector in Sint-Truiden. A new R&D complex and a testing centre will eventually add another 500 jobs. The new R&D complex will require 450 developers while plans for a new test centre with different test rigs, a new prototype workshop

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    Punch Powertrain, VCST and Tenneco are already employing more than 2,400 people in the automotive sector in Sint-Truiden. A new R&D complex and a testing centre will eventually add another 500 jobs.

    The new R&D complex will require 450 developers while plans for a new test centre with different test rigs, a new prototype workshop and a high-tech test track will lead to the creation of the remaining 50 jobs.

    This impulse in the Limburg automotive sector is the result of an agreement between LRM, VCST and Punch Powertrain. Investment Company LRM purchased half of the land owned by VCST, to later lease the site of over 9 hectares to nearby Punch Powertrain, allowing the CVT transmission expert manufacturer to expand its operations.

    Future-proofing local automotive industry

    The city council of Sint-Truiden, which has a right to repurchase these industrial sites at Schurhovenveld, has agreed to this sale.

    “Punch Powertrain and VCST together with Tenneco constitute the automotive industry’s largest R&D centre in the region,” Mayor Veerle Heeren (CD & V party) told Sint-Truiden web magazine Truineer.be. “We intend to do our utmost to support these important companies which have now been anchored in our city for decades. By doing that, we can future-proof the automotive sector in Sint-Truiden.”

    Expansion possible for Punch Powertrain

    “Punch Powertrain is glad expansion plans in Sint-Truiden can proceed quickly. This is necessary in order to keep up with the growth,” says Punch Powertrain CEO Cor Van Otterloo.

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  • The increase in production at the Volvo plant in Ghent also means more people have to be hired. The Belgian car manufacturer is looking for 100 temporary workers, in addition to the 350 temporary workers already hired last summer. The success of the V40, S60 and XC60 models, which are built in Volvo’s plant in

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    The increase in production at the Volvo plant in Ghent also means more people have to be hired. The Belgian car manufacturer is looking for 100 temporary workers, in addition to the 350 temporary workers already hired last summer.

    The success of the V40, S60 and XC60 models, which are built in Volvo’s plant in Ghent, continues unabated. Demand for the V40 and XC60 mainly is growing in all regions, and especially in Europe.

    This year, the Belgian plant will roll an additional 16,000 cars off the production lines at the request of the Swedish headquarters. This may well bring the production of Volvo Car Ghent above the 250,000 vehicles threshold for yet another year, and this for the sixth year in a row.

    No economic unemployment

    The work pace at the plant on John Kennedylaan in Ghent has shifted up another gear. Fifteen shifts overtime have been introduced and three vacation days in the penultimate week of the year are being moved to 2017. The plant won’t have to use the previously planned economic unemployment scheme.

    Managing Director of the Ghent plant Eric Van Landeghem is delighted. “Otherwise, this would put pressure on our organisation and our logistics,” Van Landeghem said in an interview with De Morgen newspaper. “Our people are certainly working overtime a lot, and they choose now if they prefer to be compensated with vacation days instead of being paid for that extra time.”

    100 additional employees wanted

    There are currently close to 6,000 people working at the plant. In order to compensate the permanent employees for the overtime by offering them vacation days, Volvo Car Ghent has already hired 350 additional temporary workers since the summer holidays. But this is not enough. The HR department is now looking to hire another 100 temporary workers.

    Not an easy task. “We are frantically trying to recruit,” spokesman Mark De Mey told De Tijd newspaper. “There is a noticeable shortage in the labour market.”

    Working students also welcome

    Worth noting is that experience, even though preferred, is not a deal-breaker. A good attitude, on the other hand, is crucial in order to be recruited by Volvo.

    This is good news for the growing population of students who want to work during the year, since working students are also allowed to apply.

     

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  • Driver training in Belgium can easily cost between 1,400 and 2,000 euros. Not cheap for those who want to learn to drive. Absolutely unaffordable for the unemployed and people living on income support. The leasing company Arval and social driving school Chantier have come up with a solution. A person with no driving licence, no

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    Driver training in Belgium can easily cost between 1,400 and 2,000 euros. Not cheap for those who want to learn to drive. Absolutely unaffordable for the unemployed and people living on income support. The leasing company Arval and social driving school Chantier have come up with a solution.

    A person with no driving licence, no secondary education diploma and no professional experience has very little chance of finding a job. Only 16% of people who are unemployed and receiving benefits do find a job, according to a study by Forem in 2010.

    A driving licence increases job opportunities

    For this target group, having a driving licence dramatically increases the chances of getting a job. It is precisely the reason why the association Chantier offers driver training to low-skilled adults, in addition to other programmes in real working conditions and with individual coaching.

    The lessons at Chantier cost less than traditional driver training and the association is looking into enlisting organisations such as health insurances and unemployment agencies to foot part of the bill.

    50 additional trainees get driving lessons

    The leasing company Arval has been supporting this key project in terms of social responsibility by supplying a free lease car for the past three years.  As a result, Chantier has been able to offer driving lessons to 50 additional trainees each year.

    Arval, which was founded in 1989 and is a 100% subsidiary of BNP Paribas, specialises in the full service leasing of commercial vehicles. The company employs more than 5,500 people spread across 28 countries. Arval has a fleet of 949,000 vehicles worldwide (December 2015). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is part of Arval’s DNA.

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  • More and more Belgian students choose studies in the field of Automotive. This is evident from the registration figures from the Automotive Technology programme at Thomas More on Campus De Nayer in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. Registrations have gone up by almost thirty per cent there. The news of rising enrollment figures is good for Belgian companies active

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    More and more Belgian students choose studies in the field of Automotive. This is evident from the registration figures from the Automotive Technology programme at Thomas More on Campus De Nayer in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. Registrations have gone up by almost thirty per cent there.

    The news of rising enrollment figures is good for Belgian companies active in automotive. They often struggle to attract the right type of staff and in sufficient numbers.

    For the academic year 2016-2017, the Automotive Technology programme has managed to attract no less than 29 percent more students. Unfortunately, this has happened partly at the expense of the other technical courses at Campus De Nayer: Electro-mechanics (-6 percent) and electronics-ICT (-8 percent).

    Registrations for Design and Production Technology remain stable.

    “Studies with a future”

    “In total, this amounts to a hundred students enrolled in the first year,” Director of Studies Wouter Lutin from Thomas More Campus De Nayer told the Gazet van Antwerpen newspaper. “We are pleased that so many have registered, because it is a pathway with a future. Our studies produce technicians with a broad know-how who can score high in today’s automotive industry. Our practice-based syllabus seems to be highly valued.”

    Fast track to employment with an automotive technology diploma

    The BeAutomotive interviews clearly show that young people with a degree or experience  in automotive are sought after. The last figures released by VDAB support this. Graduates in Automotive Technology, among other degrees, quickly find work upon completing their studies.

    “Our students get into the automotive industry one way or another, in technical after-sales services for manufacturers, leasing and insurance companies, testing departments and more and more garages. As a result of the automotive sector’s increase in scale, car service companies hire higher qualified employees than they used to,” says Wouter Lutin.

    There are a lot of job vacancies on BeAutomotive.be/#jobs

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  • On 1 July, Bart Bosmans was appointed Managing Director of DAF Trucks Belgium-Luxembourg, taking over from Marty van den Dungen, who became Director Used Trucks at DAF Trucks in Eindhoven. Bart Bosmans (36) has been working at DAF Trucks since 2004. His goal over the next few years is to further consolidate DAF’s position in

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    On 1 July, Bart Bosmans was appointed Managing Director of DAF Trucks Belgium-Luxembourg, taking over from Marty van den Dungen, who became Director Used Trucks at DAF Trucks in Eindhoven.

    Bart Bosmans (36) has been working at DAF Trucks since 2004. His goal over the next few years is to further consolidate DAF’s position in Belgium and Luxembourg.

    Career at DAF Trucks

    Bosmans has a degree in Civil Engineering (Electromechanics) from the University of Leuven and a master’s degree in Business Economics from the Vlerick Business School. He joined DAF Trucks Westerlo’s Production Engineering department in 2004, before moving on to Quality and then Production Management. His responsibilities increased over the years and in 2012, after completing the PACCAR Leadership Development Program, he was appointed Quality Manager at DAF Trucks NV in Eindhoven.

    New Director in Eindhoven

    Under the leadership of Marty van den Dungen (49), DAF Trucks Belgium-Luxembourg saw its market share grow in recent years. He has now been appointed Director Used Trucks at DAF Trucks in Eindhoven.

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  • It’s clear that Belgian automotive companies are ambitious. They invest heavily in internationalisation, R&D and new production technologies. However, realising these ambitions requires talented and motivated people. There are currently more than 500 vacancies at Belgian companies in the automotive industry, most of which can be viewed on www.beautomotive.be On March 16 Agoria and Karel

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    It’s clear that Belgian automotive companies are ambitious. They invest heavily in internationalisation, R&D and new production technologies. However, realising these ambitions requires talented and motivated people. There are currently more than 500 vacancies at Belgian companies in the automotive industry, most of which can be viewed on www.beautomotive.be

    On March 16 Agoria and Karel de Grote University College organised their fifth automotive job fair. Some 80 final year students in various automotive specialisations were given the opportunity to have initial talks with more than 20 participating automotive companies in the supply, production, service, and import fields.

    Each student had time for a personal meeting with someone from the HR team of the participating companies who had received résumés in advance, so they were well informed about the students’ profiles.

    The responses were extremely positive from both students and companies: several companies organised subsequent interviews with candidates and students said they had a better insight into the options and opportunities offered by the participating companies. The companies also said they were pleasantly surprised by the students’ enthusiasm.

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  • The second edition of the Auto Experience Week was held from February 29 to March 4, immersing first-year students in Automotive Technology at Karel de Grote University College into practice. “Our students heard inspiring lectures presented by auto professionals from home and abroad the entire week,” says teacher Geert Van de Velde. Technical workshops and

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    The second edition of the Auto Experience Week was held from February 29 to March 4, immersing first-year students in Automotive Technology at Karel de Grote University College into practice.

    “Our students heard inspiring lectures presented by auto professionals from home and abroad the entire week,” says teacher Geert Van de Velde. Technical workshops and company visits were also on the program. “We want to inspire our students and experts in the making and deepen their passion for the profession,” Van de Velde adds.

    Speakers from companies such as SNCB, VAB and Goodyear were present, a guest speaker from the University of Trier in Germany talked about vehicle safety, and there was a demonstration on car wrapping. An entire day was planned for company visits: BMW, Volvo Cars Gent, ArcelorMittal, Van Hool and more, while another day was dedicated to sustainability. Sven Augusteyns of Ringland told of how the electric car could make Ringland obsolete, and two employees from OVAM talked about recycling discarded vehicles. The week finished with a lecture by Agoria Transport Systems and Solutions and Professor Sebastian Verhelst from Ghent University on new developments in combustion engines. Finally, third-year students gave a presentation to first-year students on their internship and thesis.

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  • Television show De Bollebozen broadcast by regional television channel ROB-TV stresses that “cars will drive themselves someday”. But how? Imec searches for answers in Leuven. The television report ‘How will our cars drive themselves someday?’ on ROB-TV focuses on Wim van Thillo’s job as a civil engineer. Together with his team he looks for answers

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    Television show De Bollebozen broadcast by regional television channel ROB-TV stresses that “cars will drive themselves someday”. But how? Imec searches for answers in Leuven.

    The television report ‘How will our cars drive themselves someday?’ on ROB-TV focuses on Wim van Thillo’s job as a civil engineer. Together with his team he looks for answers to the question of how will cars drive themselves someday at Imec in Leuven.

    No more blind spot accidents

    For clever clogs it’s obvious that intelligent cars offer many advantages, such as safety. As well, researchers assume that with cameras, sensors and radars a vehicle sees much more what’s happening around it than today’s drivers do.

    “Each year more than 1.25 million people die in traffic related accidents”, explains Van Thillo. “This problem is caused by people and can also be solved by people. Take blind spot accidents, for instance. By properly placing sensors, blind spots could be a thing of the past.”

    “We could become an accident-free society because self-driving cars aren’t under the influence, don’t suffer from road rage, and are 100% present. Moreover, machines are more aware, make faster decisions, can look round corners and can process multiple parameters simultaneously.”

    The Imec radar sees all

    The Imec radar plays a decisive role in this regard. This little gem measures a mere 2-3 cm, but is jam-packed with technology. “We’re working on the next generation of sensors and communication. Tomorrow’s sensors will have computing power and will be connected to other sensors and the cloud”, says Van Thillo. “These types of sensor systems are called ‘perceptive’ and will be able to autonomously integrate with one another. The radars we develop in this context are more robust than the ultrasound technology we use nowadays to park, for example. As well, they can handle extreme weather, are emission-free and cheaper than current built-in cameras and radars.”

    Van Thillo expects to see this type of technology in cars within 5-10 years and believes the self-driving car could be on the road as of 2020.

    “Technically, it’s already possible in 95% of cases,” he claims. “But we have to be able to offer a 100% guarantee. This technology cannot fail, regardless of the situation and weather conditions.”

    Grandchildren will see self-driving cars as normal

    What about the critical responses from the general public and their fear? “My grandchildren will see a self-driving car as something normal, not frightening at all,” Van Thillo predicts.

    The television series De Bollebozen on ROB-TV transports you to the near future for eight weeks, through the world-renowned research centre Imec in Leuven where the clever clogs of today push back the technological limits of tomorrow.

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  • Audi Brussels is the Top Employer 2016. This is the result of the annual survey of working conditions at companies around the world conducted by the Top Employers Institute. Ultimately, only the best employers get this certificate. This is more highly positive news from the Audi plant in Vorst, considering that the production of Audi’s

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    Audi Brussels is the Top Employer 2016. This is the result of the annual survey of working conditions at companies around the world conducted by the Top Employers Institute. Ultimately, only the best employers get this certificate.

    This is more highly positive news from the Audi plant in Vorst, considering that the production of Audi’s electrical SUV was recently assigned to the Belgian plant. The company is now being rewarded for its sustained efforts to ensure its employees’ well-being.

    What makes Audi Brussels a top employer?

    “Each of these organisations demonstrated a forward-thinking Human Resources environment that is continuously working to optimise its employee conditions and leading the way in the development of its people,” commented the Top Employers Institute.

    If we look at the way this actually manifests itself on the shop floor at Audi Brussels, we notice:

    • the highest standards in terms of working conditions and staff development;
    • an excellent working environment;
    • numerous individual development opportunities;
    • flexible working hours;
    • many opportunities for lifelong learning;
    • exclusive advantages in the provision of passenger cars;
    • comprehensive health management, including the Audi Check-up health screening programme;
    • a pioneering role in the area of associated education in Belgium.

    Management proud of recognition

    “The ‘Top Employer’ certificate makes us proud,” said Thomas Neuhaus who became Director of Human Resources in Brussels in January 2016. “It shows that our employees enjoy the best framework conditions to perform their innovative work.”

    One of these innovative tasks is to contribute to the future of the electric car. From 2018 the plant will be the only one in the Audi group to produce the first battery-electric Audi SUV for the world market. The plant is also getting its own battery production for that purpose.

    Umicore also top employer

    Audi Brussels is in good company. The full list of Belgian Top Employers includes companies such as Umicore, Barco, BNP Paribas Fortis, CapGemini, Port of Antwerp and Thomas Cook.

     

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  • There are currently 481 vacancies in thirty companies of Belgium’s automotive industry, according to a survey conducted by Agoria, the federation for the technology industry, on the eve of this year’s Brussels Motor Show. These include positions in major manufacturing companies and R&D departments, as well as jobs at suppliers and OEMs. Candidates can apply

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    There are currently 481 vacancies in thirty companies of Belgium’s automotive industry, according to a survey conducted by Agoria, the federation for the technology industry, on the eve of this year’s Brussels Motor Show. These include positions in major manufacturing companies and R&D departments, as well as jobs at suppliers and OEMs. Candidates can apply online on www.beautomotive.be.  The drive system manufacturer Punch Powertrain, the Volvo Group truck maker, and the engineering company Altran are among the employers looking for new talent.

    For its Saint-Trond site, Punch Powertrain, which produces variable transmissions and hybrid drive systems for passenger cars, will be recruiting more than 150 people this year. HR Director, Yves Frenay: “We are a company focused on the international market looking to attract new employees. Not only do we offer them good working conditions, but also the opportunity to work in a high-tech environment. We are developing tomorrow’s products, from the design phase to the actual production stage. At Punch, engineers can therefore make the most of their talent.”

    At Volvo Group also, there are currently 150 job vacancies. Head of HR Christian Gobert: “Volvo trucks are currently in high demand. In order to be able to supply our customers with the vehicles they are requiring, we will step up our production from March. To this end, we need an additional 150 employees to fill in production operator or materials handler functions across different departments of the company. All new employees first complete a training programme in our Training Center, followed by “on-the-job” training. They are subsequently immersed in an exciting technical environment, surrounded by supervisors and colleagues who are passionate about HGV manufacturing.”

    Altran, a world leader in R&D engineering with a large customer base in the automotive sector, is looking for 15 engineers for projects in this sector. “Our engineers are tasked with implementing projects at customers, especially relating to connectivity, embedded software, process optimization and the development of innovative products, as well as research projects,” clarifies Johan Van Oefelen, Division Director of the Transport, Industry, Mobility and Electronics department at Altran. “In 2016, too, we are seeking talented individuals with a predilection for innovation and a passion for the automotive sector. This year, we will be recruiting 15 engineers in order to carry out the most ambitious projects in the automotive industry.”

    How to apply? 

    Vacancies at automotive companies are published in the “Jobs” section of this website. Interested candidates (technical education and/or university graduates and job seekers) can contact the companies through the links or e-mail addresses listed in the job offers.

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  • The newest generation of product developers with a passion for automobiles thinks about more than just flashy design and maximum performance. “We are on the verge of seeing the most interesting developments in mobility since the invention of the car”, say Jeroen Claus and Fabian Breës from Design by Frank, a new collective of designers

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    The newest generation of product developers with a passion for automobiles thinks about more than just flashy design and maximum performance. “We are on the verge of seeing the most interesting developments in mobility since the invention of the car”, say Jeroen Claus and Fabian Breës from Design by Frank, a new collective of designers and experts. The duo hope to help the collective make its mark.

    Design by Frank’s first designs look futuristic yet feasible. You can learn more about its Next Generation Long Distance Coach in our article “Whale-riding holds out the prospect of safe coach travel by 2030!”  And let’s not forget the fourth generation smartbike with charging stations designed for Clear Channel, the charging points for e-bikes, or the OONA sailing yacht, an in-house project.

    Car of the future

    According to Jeroen Claus, the future of mobility is revolutionary…and open. “Congestion on roads means that now anything can be called into question, the fight against pollution is gaining momentum and it is becoming clear that the way we travel is not the most efficient or environmentally friendly option”, says Jeroen in an interview with BeAutomotive.

    “It is only through conceptual thinking that we can come up with solutions for the future that we would never devise otherwise. Disruptive innovation must bring about the biggest changes in the way we travel.”

    Co-creation and open innovation

    Rather than working alone, Design by Frank works at the House Of Innovation’s open innovation workspace in Antwerp.

    “We work with other creative agencies in one room, so we can easily team up on larger projects while still focusing on our own expertise: designing the look and feel of the product. For example, any aspects of a project involving user-interface design (UI) or user-experience design (UX) we then pass on to a specialist, Monkeyshot. If a customer wants to further develop a product or concept for production, then we call on Smidesign.”

    Why concept cars are great

    In summer 2015, Claus and Breës completed their degree in product development at the University of Antwerp, where they learned that for every task they needed to take four pillars into account, namely the human, economic, technological and aesthetic aspects of the product in question. Wherever these four meet, there lies the ultimate product: user-friendly, desirable and profitable.

    “Thanks to concept design, we consider how a product could look without limiting ourselves. We believe that it is better to cut back a good idea when developing it for production rather than to try to make a lesser product.”

    “Compare this to the concept cars you see at motor shows. Production cars are ultimately less futuristic but they have captured most of the essence of the look and feel.”

    Bicycles, sailing yachts and coaches: opening the door to the automotive industry

    Design by Frank is currently working for Procter & Gamble, among other clients, and the collective is forging its first links with the automotive industry.

    Which Belgian automotive company will take on the challenge?

    Read about the Next Generation Coach here.

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  • Mitsubishi premiered a new electric car at the Tokyo Motor Show. The car was designed by the Belgian Thomas Bigwood, who used to work for Renault before that. In Belgium, Thomas Bigwood is not that well known as a car designer. Not like Luc Donckerwolke who has designed cars for Lamborghini, Seat, Bentley and now

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    Mitsubishi premiered a new electric car at the Tokyo Motor Show. The car was designed by the Belgian Thomas Bigwood, who used to work for Renault before that.

    In Belgium, Thomas Bigwood is not that well known as a car designer. Not like Luc Donckerwolke who has designed cars for Lamborghini, Seat, Bentley and now Huyndai.

    Yet, Bigwood – who owes his name to his English grandfather – has had quite a remarkable career path so far. Bigwood was one of the designers involved in creating the Renault Laguna Coupé, and he was later posted by Renault in Moscow for three years.

    Bigwood gives Lada a new look

    In Moscow, he was entrusted with running the new AVTOVAZ design studio. On the programme: Give Lada a new image. “Moscow is indeed not an obvious choice of place to live and work in,” Bigwood told newspaper Le Soir in connection with his appointment. “But we, as designers, are sponges that thrive in a creative environment. That’s what we have here. A city full of surprises, unexpected obstacles and sudden solutions.”
    Electric Mitsubishi concept car

    With this experience under his belt, Bigwood moved to Mitsubishi in January 2015. He is Senior Design Studio Manager at the Japanese car manufacturer, where he kicked off his career in style with the design of the eX concept car. This electric car was recently unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.

    Typically, a concept car allows all kinds of futuristic technology features. Likewise, this electric SUV model gives us a glimpse of the future: wireless charging, a car that comes to you when you call it on the smart watch, doors that open wide like on the Opel Meriva, a voice-activated onboard computer, autopilot on the highway, zero CO2, different colours for the passenger and driver seats, a lightweight structure, augmented reality, intelligent display, and so on.

    400km e-driving range
    Watch the following video clip introducing the Mitsubishi eX concept car as an apetizer until the actual launch of the model. With it, you should be able to cover 400 km on a fully charged battery with a capacity of 45kWh.

     

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  • Na 5 dagen spannend racen onder de Australische zon behaalt het Solar Team van de KULeuven de vijfde plaats. Toch had er met een gemiddelde snelheid van 90km per uur meer ingezeten op het officieuze wereldkampioenschap voor zonnewagens. Driemaal pech hield hen van een begeerde top-3 plaats. Na 16 maanden voorbereiding had het team van

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    Na 5 dagen spannend racen onder de Australische zon behaalt het Solar Team van de KULeuven de vijfde plaats. Toch had er met een gemiddelde snelheid van 90km per uur meer ingezeten op het officieuze wereldkampioenschap voor zonnewagens. Driemaal pech hield hen van een begeerde top-3 plaats.

    Na 16 maanden voorbereiding had het team van 16 Belgische studenten en partnerbedrijven alles in huis om een goede race te rijden. Zo reed de Punch Powertrain zonnewagen gemiddeld 90 kilometer per uur. Daarmee is het team het snelste Belgische zonnewagenteam dat ooit heeft deelgenomen aan de wedstrijd.

    Snelste Belgische zonnewagen ooit

    Door pech hebben de studenten een dubbel gevoel bij die uitslag. Een lekke band, een uur straftijd en een gebroken ophanging van een achterwiel deden hen wegzakken uit de topposities.

    Maar de studenten gaven niet op, zegt Jarno Van Hemelen, team manager van het Punch Powertrain Solar Team: “We hebben een paar probleempjes gehad, maar we zijn toch blijven knallen. Het voelt goed om eindelijk aan te komen. Zo denk ik dat we voor ons zelf moeten kijken hoe goed de wagen gepresteerd heeft en welke vooruitgang we gemaakt hebben. Dat is fantastisch. We zijn een dag vroeger toegekomen, dat is een enorme vooruitgang. Ik denk dat we daar gewoon trots op moeten zijn.”

    Onder de indruk van team studenten

    Het team zelf stelde een top-3-plaats als doel.

    Cor Van Otterloo, CEO van Punch Powertrain, het sponsorende bedrijf waar de studenten de wagen bouwden, zei eerder aan BeAutomotive (link leggen naar i-view) dat winst mogelijk moest zijn dankzij de detaillistische ingesteldheid van de studenten. “Ze hebben dit jaar bijvoorbeeld de route eerst omgekeerd afgelegd om alle verkeerslichten op het parcours te tracken. Hierdoor konden ze tijdens de wedstrijd aangeven of de zonnewagen sneller of trager moest rijden om groen licht te treffen.”

    “Het voelt als overwinning”

    De professionele racepiloot Bert Longin was onder de indruk van het studententeam. “Finishen is een fantastisch gevoel,” zegt hij op de blog van het Solar Team. “We zijn vijfde, maar het voelt als een overwinning. Ik ben onder de indruk van het team en van wat ik meegemaakt heb.”

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  • Dat VHA dit jaar 25 jaar bestaat is geen wonder. De garage start-up van Karel Van Hoecke was al snel na de opstart een sterke partner in het automatiseren van processen bij grote en kleinere bedrijven. Vandaag maakt het bedrijf zich klaar voor een nog digitalere toekomst. Begonnen in de garage De afgelopen 25 jaar

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    Dat VHA dit jaar 25 jaar bestaat is geen wonder. De garage start-up van Karel Van Hoecke was al snel na de opstart een sterke partner in het automatiseren van processen bij grote en kleinere bedrijven. Vandaag maakt het bedrijf zich klaar voor een nog digitalere toekomst.

    Begonnen in de garage

    De afgelopen 25 jaar van Van Hoecke Automation lezen als een knap groeiverhaal. In 1987 begon Karel Van Hoecke alleen. Gespecialiseerd in procesbesturing bouwde hij elektrische kasten, schreef software,… en begon te groeien. Toen ze hun eerste grote klant Atlas Copco binnenhaalden, werkte hij en zijn medewerkers nog steeds vanuit zijn garage, de slaapkamer en containers in de tuin.

    Na drie jaar werd VHA omgedoopt tot een nv, en kwam er een nieuwbouw in Zwalm. Er werkten 9 mensen in dienst van CEO en oprichter Karel Van Hoecke.

    Vandaag draait VHA met 23 mensen een stabiele omzet van 4 miljoen euro. 25% hiervan is export naar China, Rusland, Europese landen en India. Trouwe klanten in automotive zijn Tenneco, Atlas Copco, Volvo, Volvo Trucks, Daf Trucks, Leyland Trucks en Plastal.

    Automotive sector wordt grote klant

    “We werkten begin jaren 90 veel voor de betonindustrie, om halfweg jaren 90 de focus te verleggen naar de autosector”, zegt Karel Van Hoecke aan BeAutomotive. “Er kwamen een paar bedrijven uit de automobiel naar ons toe. Ze zochten oplossingen voor just-in-time assemblage en leveringen. Het aantal opties, onderdelen en kleuren van een wagen liep zo sterk op dat ze een manier zochten om dit efficiënt aan te pakken. Met onze oplossingen zijn we ook pro-actief naar automotive bedrijven gegaan. Toen was België nog een sterk land in auto-assemblage.”

    Binnen de kortste tijd was automotive goed voor 70 tot 80% van de omzet. Ze groeiden verder in het ontwerpen, bouwen en installeren van robotinstallaties, controleapparatuur, software en testsystemen. De productie van onderdelen zelf is nu uitbesteed aan bedrijven in een cirkel van 50km rond VHA.

    Focus verleggen naar KMO’s

    Dat heel wat auto-assemblagebedrijven weg zijn getrokken uit België, voelt ook Karel Van Hoecke. “Dit speelt ons zeker parten”, zegt hij. “Automotive is nog goed voor 50% van onze omzet, maar dit is dalend. Daarom verschuift onze focus naar andere sectoren, voeding en maakindustrie bijvoorbeeld, en de betere Vlaamse KMO. Hier zijn heel wat mooie bedrijven die vooruit willen.”

    VHA is een Factory of the future

    Het bedrijf is volledig hersteld van de crisisperiode rond 2009, en klaar voor de digitale toekomst als Factory of the future.

    Dat de 60-jarige oprichter nog even aan het hoofd van zijn bedrijf staat, leidt geen twijfel. “Ik ben nog jong, al moet je op je 60-ste wel bezig zijn met de toekomst van je bedrijf”, zegt Van Hoecke.

    Het advies dat hij aan jongeren meegeeft? “Nooit opgeven, al gaat het soms moeilijk. Altijd voortdoen, bouwen aan je toekomst.”

    Benieuwd hoe VHA processen automatiseert? Bekijk hier de filmpjes van VHA.

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  • De Belgische autodesigner Luc Donckerwolke (49) werkt voortaan bij Hyundai. De Zuid-Koreaanse autobouwer is bekend van zowel Hyundai als Kia.  Donckerwolke nam kort geleden ontslag als directeur bij Bentley, het luxemerk van Volkswagen. 23 jaar bij de Volkswagen-groep Luc Donckerwolke, gediplomeerd als industrieel ingenieur en transportdesigner, begon in 1992 als exterieurontwerper bij Audi en vanaf 1994 bij

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    De Belgische autodesigner Luc Donckerwolke (49) werkt voortaan bij Hyundai. De Zuid-Koreaanse autobouwer is bekend van zowel Hyundai als Kia.  Donckerwolke nam kort geleden ontslag als directeur bij Bentley, het luxemerk van Volkswagen.

    23 jaar bij de Volkswagen-groep

    Luc Donckerwolke, gediplomeerd als industrieel ingenieur en transportdesigner, begon in 1992 als exterieurontwerper bij Audi en vanaf 1994 bij Skoda. In 1996 keerde hij terug naar de oude Audi-stal om er het departement exterieurdesign onder zijn hoede te nemen.

    In 1998 ging hij bij de sportieve Volkswagendochter Lamborghini aan de slag, eerst als design project manager en daarna als directeur design. In 2005 kreeg hij dezelfde functie bij Seat. Zijn 23-jarige loopbaan bij Volkswagen sloot hij af bij Bentley. Hij kwam in maart nog in het nieuws met zijn verklaring dat de Lincoln-ontwerpers voor hun nieuwe Continental de mosterd bij Bentley hadden gehaald.

    Over 2 jaar chef design

    “Het was een aanbod dat ik niet kon weigeren”, vertelde Donckerwolke aan de website Automotive News Europe. Bedoeling is om over 2 jaar de Belg Peter Schreyer (63) als hoofd van de designafdeling van Hyundai op te volgen.

    Profiel Kia-Hyundai

    • Kia-Hyundai Automotive Group zit in de top 5 van de autoproducenten in de wereld.
    • Het hoofdkwartier van Hyundai Belux staat in Kontich. In België werken 93 officiële dealers voor het merk en 54 personeelsleden.
      • De hoofdzetel van Kia in België bevindt zich in Evere. In België heeft het merk 90 officiële dealers en 50 werknemers.

    • Kia-Hyundai Automotive Group zit in de top 5 van de autoproducenten in de wereld.

    • Het hoofdkwartier van Hyundai Belux staat in Kontich. In België werken 93 officiële dealers voor het merk en 54 personeelsleden.

    • De hoofdzetel van Kia in België bevindt zich in Evere. In België heeft het merk 90 officiële dealers en 50 werknemers.

    Volgens dezelfde site was Schreyer het creatieve brein achter de Audi TT. Donckerwolke wordt bij Bentley opgevolgd door Audi-ontwerper Stefan Sielaff.

     

     

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  • Twee vliegen in één klap wilden de Technische Scholen Mechelen http://www.tsmmechelen.be slaan op 3 juni. Ze wilden buitenstaanders warm maken voor de richting autotechniek. En ze lieten mensen van binnen en buiten het onderwijs kennismaken met duurzame autotechnieken. Dit lukte in een gevarieerd programma met voordrachten, een panelgesprek en testritten. Technisch onderwijs als drijvende kracht

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    Twee vliegen in één klap wilden de Technische Scholen Mechelen http://www.tsmmechelen.be slaan op 3 juni. Ze wilden buitenstaanders warm maken voor de richting autotechniek. En ze lieten mensen van binnen en buiten het onderwijs kennismaken met duurzame autotechnieken.

    Dit lukte in een gevarieerd programma met voordrachten, een panelgesprek en testritten.

    Technisch onderwijs als drijvende kracht

    Steeds meer mensen zijn gefascineerd door groene mobiliteit en willen hun enthousiasme met anderen delen. Dat geldt zeker voor de leerlingen en leerkrachten van de Technische Scholen Mechelen. Deze organiseerden op school een complete namiddag over de groeiende groene tendens in de autosector.

    Groene mobiliteit goed voor portemonnee

    Op de groene mobiliteitsdag bogen de aanwezigen uit het onderwijs en de autosector zich onder meer over de snel evoluerende richting autotechniek in het secundair onderwijs. Met Ward Bosmans van Electrabel constateerden ze dat groene mobiliteit zowel goed is voor het milieu als voor je portemonnee.

    En ze debatteerden onder leiding van Joost Kaesemans van Febiac over deze hot topic met de aanwezige autoconstructeurs.

    15 rijdende bewijzen van samenwerking

    Ondertussen nam een honderdtal geïnteresseerden uit het onderwijs en de sector in het totaal 3 uur plaats achter het stuur van 15 energiezuinige bolides. Hybride, maar ook zuiver elektrische en met gas aangedreven voertuigen.

    “Onze leerkrachten én leerlingen zijn zeer nieuwsgierig hoe de auto-industrie de steeds strengere econormen concreet opvolgt,” zegt Dirk Goyvaerts, aanwezige spreker, leraar en technisch adviseur bij TSM. “Goed is dat we vanuit het onderwijs ook nauw samenwerken met de fabrikanten. Dit geslaagde initiatief was daar het zoveelste bewijs van.”

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  • Een team van de Haute Ecole de la Province de Liège behaalde eind mei de 2de plaats in de 4de Shell Eco-marathon van Rotterdam. Niet omdat hun wagen als tweede over de meet bolde. Wel omdat de Luikse ingenieurstudenten op één na het verst geraakten met 1 liter brandstof. België is vice-kampioen in zuinig rijden

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    Een team van de Haute Ecole de la Province de Liège behaalde eind mei de 2de plaats in de 4de Shell Eco-marathon van Rotterdam. Niet omdat hun wagen als tweede over de meet bolde. Wel omdat de Luikse ingenieurstudenten op één na het verst geraakten met 1 liter brandstof.

    België is vice-kampioen in zuinig rijden dus. Dit is met 200 concurrenten uit 24 landen een knappe prestatie.

    1.258 km op 1 liter methanol

    Omdat de auto’s in de Shell Eco Marathon zo energie-efficiënt zijn, moesten de teams maar 10 rondes van 1,6 km op het parcours afleggen. Daarna werd berekend hoeveel ze per km hadden verbruikt.

    Het Luikse team sprong in zijn categorie Prototypes/Alternatieve energie zo zuinig om met 1 litertje methanol dat het 1.258 km ver geraakte. Zo verbraken ze hun record van 2014 meteen met 300 km.

    Zes Belgische teams aan de start

    Twee andere van de 6 Belgische teams deden het in hun categorieën ook prima. Het ULg ECo Team van de universiteit van Luik reed 121 km/KWh in de categorie UrbanConcept/Elektrische batterijen. Ze scoorden de 5de plaats.

    Het Umonster team van de universiteit van Bergen kaapte tegen 240 km/liter de 4de prijs weg in de categorie UrbanConcept/Benzine.

    Keiharde test voor mensen en wagens

    De Shell Eco-marathon vereist heel veel van de teams en hun wagen. Ze moeten tot het kleinste moertje en bitje aan de wagen sleutelen tot hij geen grammetje meer teveel weegt. En ze moeten ook zelf bijzonder energiebewust en strategisch kunnen rijden. Op zorgvuldig uitgekozen stukken van de race leggen ze de motor zelfs gewoon stil om energie te sparen.

    Vrouwen aan het stuur

    Opvallend! De Shell Eco-marathon is een ode aan de technische studies en de energie-efficiënte auto. Maar ook de rijvaardigheid van de vrouw speelt er een cruciale rol, wat in racemiddens nog altijd zeldzaam is.

    Omdat de piloten liefst maar 50 tot 70 kg mogen wegen wordt zo’n 80% van de auto’s bestuurd door vrouwen.

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  • In oktober zal weer een colonne futuristische bolides door Australië racen in The World Solar Challenge. Dat is het officieuze wereldkampioenschap voor wagens op zonne-energie. Via een crowdfunding campagne kan iedereen investeren in het project. Adopteer een zonnecel, heet het. Koop een stuk zonnewagen vanaf 10 euro Dit jaar kan het grote publiek mee financieren

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    In oktober zal weer een colonne futuristische bolides door Australië racen in The World Solar Challenge. Dat is het officieuze wereldkampioenschap voor wagens op zonne-energie. Via een crowdfunding campagne kan iedereen investeren in het project. Adopteer een zonnecel, heet het.

    Koop een stuk zonnewagen vanaf 10 euro

    Dit jaar kan het grote publiek mee financieren aan de bouw van de zonnewagen. Via http://solarteam.be/adoptacell/ kan je met de actie “Adopt-a-cell” een zonnecel of een ander onderdeel adopteren. Een cel kost 10 euro per stuk, maar studenten krijgen 3 euro korting. Wie er 5 adopteert, krijgt een t-shirt.
    En er is meer te adopteren. Hele onderdelen kunnen dankzij uw geld geproduceerd worden. Een deel van de carrosserie kost 600 euro, een batterijpak 500 euro en de pilootzetel 300 euro. Het stuur heeft al adoptieouders gevonden.

    Zesde Belgische deelname

    België neemt voor de 6de keer deel. Het Punch Powertrain Solar Team  bestaat uit een gedreven ploeg van 17 studenten van Groep T/KULeuven. Voor de financiering trekken ze het grote publiek aan met een schitterende actie: adopteer eens een stuk zonnewagen.

    3.021 km doorheen Australië

    Meer dan 50 teams zullen op 18 oktober in Darwin aan de start staan van de race. Die duurt 5 dagen, is 3.021 km lang en loopt van Noord- naar Zuid-Australië. Teams uit de 5 continenten dingen mee, o.m. uit landen als VS, Frankrijk, Duitsland, Canada, Nederland, Japan en Australië zelf. De beste plaats die België ooit behaalde was de tweede, in 2007.

    De beste zonnegadget

    “Met onze zonnewagen willen we niet alleen deze race winnen,” zegt een enthousiaste Karel Winderickx, pr- en eventverantwoordelijke. “We willen ook zoveel mogelijk mensen en bedrijven warm maken voor zonne-energie en duurzame mobiliteit.

    Daarom hebben we, naast een uitgebreide mediacampagne, ook een heel sensibiliseringsprogramma uitgewerkt. In onze Solar Olympics bijvoorbeeld kunnen hogeschoolstudenten het beste gadget op zonne-energie ontwerpen.”

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  • Ontdek op BeAutomotive hoe 70.000 medewerkers elke dag meebouwen aan een van de meest innovatieve sectoren in ons land! www.beautomotive.be