De Watergroep wins Asset Performance 4.0 Award

Antwerp, 25 October 2023 – This evening, BEMAS – the Belgian Maintenance Association, presented the fourth Asset Performance 4.0 Award during the Asset Performance Conference. Out of eight participants, one was crowned the winner live in the Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp: De Watergroep. ArcelorMittal won the audience award.

During the award show, Olivier Noterdaeme, Global co-leader digital and analytics in Manufacturing & Supply Chain and Co-leader of QuantumBlack AI at McKinsey, presented an inspiring keynote on the impact of generative AI. Olivier immersed the audience in the world of AI, showed what it means in the context of asset performance and how it complements more traditional Machine Learning and digital solutions for capturing value in manufacturing.

8 strong candidates

This year, no less than eight candidates competed in the Asset Performance 4.0 Award. They presented their elaborate cases at BEMAS’ Asset Performance Conference. ArcelorMittal talked about their VR 3D crane simulator that can train employees to become crane operators with qualitative ease. Beaulieu International Group presented their project using SAP CMMS for an innovative approach to maintenance. De Watergroep explained how they can proactively detect water leaks thanks to sensors. Vinçotte talked about the L.i.F.T. plan, a digital transformation with several coordinated projects, one of which was managed by the innovation teams that focused on developing robotics and automation solutions. The case of water-link was about the implementation of digital water meters linked to an IoT platform. The international scene was also represented: Dubai brought their case on the Clean City Index, Saudi Aramco talked about their Live Performance SEEQ Dashboard, and US Steel from Kosice elaborated on  their recent maintenance transformation.  All information on the participating cases can be found here.

ArcelorMittal snatches audience award

The audience chose ArcelorMittal as favourite with their VR 3D crane simulator. The jury agreed: “ArcelorMittal showed a transformational story, in which safety and quality remain paramount as key business drivers. In the complex world of steel production, Virtual Reality is indeed a strong tool to build and secure competences over time. It also allows ArcelorMittal to improve the performance and safety of operations, as cranes are constantly deployed in the production process.”

And the winner is … De Watergroep

De Watergroep, the largest drinking water company in Flanders, faces many challenges, among others due to dry summers and climate change in Europe. In the fight to save water, they introduced the “Leakie” programme. The company has installed 400 new flow and pressure sensors and replaced 300 existing data loggers. The sensors enable efficient detection and repair of leaks – including the invisible ones – reducing water loss and minimising consequential damage. Moreover, the data collected is processed by self-learning algorithms in a state-of-the-art data warehouse, enabling faster and more accurate leak detection, making the work of leak detection teams more efficient.

Jury chairman Marc Eyckmans, Knowledge and Innovation Manager at Engie EMS and former Award winner, speaks highly of this case: “De Watergroep presented a long-term transformation project. What is particularly impressive is how they got everyone at De Watergroep around the table. In the words of their own employees: everyone is Leakie.” De Watergroep identified several specific areas to focus on: sensor engineering and modelling, data analytics, and also maintenance management in order to set the right priorities. “We noticed that every detail is done correctly,” Marc concludes. “The policy has been implemented down to the smallest branches of the company.”

BEMAS director Wim adds, “This case also fits perfectly within the 5.0 story. The mindset of De Watergroep is very human-centric, as they involve their employees enormously in this story. In addition, sustainability also emerges enormously: water has become a scarce commodity. By proactively detecting leaks, they ensure water conservation. Finally, they also focus on resilience. In fact, they make the water network more resilient to the challenges ahead through long-term reinvestment planning in a data-driven way. So in short, we can say that they are elevating this 4.0 award into a real 5.0 award.”

Read more about this theme: