At Cartamundi, luck is quite literally in the cards. The producer of playing cards, poker cards, Pokémon cards, UNO and Magic: The Gathering cards made some 25 billion cards in 2020. In addition, it produced 60 million board games, including Monopoly and Risk. The family business is investing several million euros in a research center in Flanders to renew and optimize its current production methods. Robots, sensors and artificial intelligence will play crucial roles in the company’s digital transformation.
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Cartamundi opens global R&D headquarters in Flanders
We are growing and evolving rapidly. Now is the time to take a major step to seize even more opportunities for innovation.
The new facility will be the group’s spearhead R&D center and coordinate the Cartamundi Group’s worldwide R&D projects. It will also consolidate Cartamundi’s position in the region. “I am particularly proud of how we combine a global and local approach,” says Steven Nietvelt. “Cartamundi was born in Flanders, so it’s here that we want to invest and create jobs.”
In time, about ten people will be employed in the new center. They will work closely together with the team in Drongen (East Flanders), where Cartamundi is working to digitize the production of personalized products. The center also boasts a direct line to Seattle in the US, thanks to the development of new products for toy companies there.
The new innovation hub will be located at the Open Manufacturing Campus (OMC) in Turnhout, Flanders, an incubator for innovative businesses. About 20 companies have set up bases there, including Ergotrics, Luxexcel and Leclanché. Construction started in November 2020 and is set to finish in the first quarter of 2021.
By establishing our presence at OMC, just a stone’s throw from our head office, we can focus fully on innovation and be part of a community of leading-edge manufacturers.
Cartamundi is not the first and won’t be the last to reap the rewards of Flanders’ innovation-driven economy. Japanese air-conditioning specialist Daikin announced the construction of a new R&D center in Ghent, while American biotech company Inari recently opened its very first European R&D hub in the city as well. Other projects include:
- Lithuanian Brolis Semiconductors decided to set up an innovative photonics research center in Ghent.
- Alpro, a subsidiary of French food company Danone, commits to plant-based food innovation at its global R&I center in Wevelgem.
- global beer brewer AB InBev drives innovation from its Global Innovation & Technology Center in Leuven.
- Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS chose Flanders as its European incubator hub.
Foreign investment projects such as these also generate a steady influx of new R&D jobs in Flanders. As such, in 2020, 1 in 5 jobs created by foreign companies in the region was linked to R&D.