Partnerships in 2020

Bekaert actively seeks opportunities for cooperation with strategic customers, suppliers and academic research institutes and universities. We also consider investments in early-stage companies and venture capital funds that may create new attractive business models adjacent to Bekaert’s current field-of-play. 

In 2020, we concluded the following partnerships.

Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group and IDEOL, an internationally recognized leader and pioneer in floating offshore wind, signed a strategic partnership aimed at developing a new industry-transforming synthetic mooring solution to meet the fast accelerating floating offshore wind market’s cost reduction, capacity and lead-time expectations. 

Bekaert and CCL, specialist in post-tensioning for the building industry, will commercialize a new concrete reinforcing system for on-grade and elevated slab applications. The idea originated at Bekaert to combine post-tensioning with Dramix® steel fiber concrete reinforcement. This makes traditional passive reinforcement, such as mesh, rebar and shear studs, redundant in various concrete applications. 

Together with VisionTek, Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group has developed the first mobile 3D rope measuring and visioning equipment. 360° miniature cameras first take high-resolution pictures of the rope, following which the equipment analyzes all data and detects defects through artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. This new, proprietary monitoring technology addresses constant quality inspection proactively and outperforms other measurement tools like magnetic testing which isn’t always infallible. 

Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group joined the consortium for the European MooringSense project funded by the Horizon 2020 initiative, which aims to reduce the costs associated with floating offshore wind energy production by up to 15% while increasing efficiency. As part of the research consortium, BBRG helped define the digital twin that will optimize the operation and maintenance of the floating wind turbines’ anchoring and mooring systems, along with the specifications and validation procedures of the components that make up the solution proposed by MooringSense. This digital twin is a replica of the mooring system, enabling real time virtual monitoring, predictive modelling, and development simulations

Along with other major investors, Bekaert has invested in Cargo Sous Terrain (CST), a complete logistics system for the flexible transport of small-component goods in Switzerland. The project aims at bringing most of the cargo transportation underground through tunnels that connect production and logistics sites with urban centers. Overground, CST plans the distribution of transported goods in environmentally friendly vehicles, contributing to the reduction of overground traffic and the related noise and exhaust emissions.

To address customer needs even better, Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group will license Applied Fiber’s industry leading technology to terminate fiber rope assemblies. Both companies signed a technology license agreement in 2020 that allows BBRG to use Applied Fiber’s patented high-capacity termination technology to produce high-strength fiber rope assemblies for mining, offshore and industrial lifting markets.

Through this agreement, BBRG will incorporate Applied Fiber’s advanced termination capability within its manufacturing processes, and will drive the further adoption of high strength fiber ropes in key markets. Both parties will also collaborate to further develop the technology for new applications.