The EFRO research project "Packaging technology centre" masterminded by prof. Dirk Franco in cooperation with former general director Jef Vanhees, was approved in December 1997. With the recruitment of Philip De Schepper as project manager (May 1998) and Dr. Roos Peeters as project coordinator (June 1998) the concretisation of the project started. € 2 million was financed by the EFRO, co-financed by Flanders and the former XIOS hogeschool.
The means have been invested in the development of lab room with measuring equipment for:
- gas permeability of materials and packages
- basic characterisation of (packaging) materials (i.e. plastics, paper and cardboard)
- Characterisation of the effects of environmental variables
- transport simulation
Additional financing, acquired from approved EFRO projects, created on the one hand the introduction of a 5th item 'eco-design' within the services. On the other hand, the further expansion of the permeability equipment and the up-scaling of the transport simulation equipment to test at the pallet level, was realized.
Independant service research group
Thanks to this extra funding, the Packaging Technology Centre could grow into a well-known independent service research unit.
With the accumulated knowledge and expertise, the qualified staff executes up to 250 jobs per year for 100 different companies from various industrial sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, food processing, chemicals, cosmetics,. ...
Today the Packaging Technology Centre unites three main activities: direct services to businesses, the subsidised project work in collaboration with companies and the applied fundamental research. The expertise of the packaging Technology Centre focuses to PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY. This priority includes two aspects: material and process.
Collaboration with other research groups, research institutions and universities, nationally and internationally, allow us to answer research assignments scientifically correct and complete.
The research group consists of a team of about 10 people, it includes two professors, three project engineers and project employees within the services group.Two project engineers within the project operation group and two PhD students.
The Packaging Technology Centre is linked to the unique master training: Bachelor and Master Packaging Technology. This master of industrial engineering technology focuses on packaging materials, automation and production, design, environment and logistics.
On October 1, 2013 the Packaging Technology Centre integrated in the University of Hasselt. The Packaging Technology Centre is a research group within the research IMO-IMOMEC.
Due to this academisation process also a more fundamental research has been developed in the form of doctoral studies.