A student from 't Saam Campus Cardijn in Diksmuide wins the Wout Theuws Prize '20-'21 for the best maintenance-related graduation project.

DIKSMUIDE - 24 June 2021 - BEMAS vzw, the Belgian professional association for technical maintenance, has awarded the Wout Theuws Prize for the fourth time. The winner is Sander Callewaert (18), a student from 't Saam Campus Cardijn in Diksmuide who carried out his integrated project "Optimisation of a water filtration and recycling system for production" at Deceuninck Compound in Diksmuide.

Maintenance technicians have been a bottleneck profession for years. In the online vacancy database of the VDAB there are currently 9,873 vacancies for a maintenance technician. This is almost 3 times more than the number of vacancies for nurses, which is traditionally labelled as the biggest bottleneck profession.  However, the number of schools offering targeted training in technical maintenance is limited. Together, they manage to graduate only about 600 students trained in maintenance. 

The Wout Theuws Prize is a competition that aims to motivate students in the final year of BSO, TSO or SE-N-SE to make an integrated test (GIP) or internship report on maintenance or reliability.  With this prize, BEMAS also wants to inspire young people in technical education to start their career in maintenance, just like Wout Theuws, with the ambition to develop further into a true industrial expert and leader. 

Winner and finalists

As a student of the 6th year of Electromechanical Engineering, Sander Callewaert (18) completed a full school year of dual studies, i.e. partly at school and partly on a work site at the company Deceuninck Compound in Diksmuide. Here, he worked on a project to optimise the water filtration and recycling system of the PVC window recycling plant. This optimisation allows even more water to be recovered and reused in the recycling process. Sander was able to actively participate in building the project during his internship. He also thought about the various factors that influence the reliability and operational safety of the installation. This greatly reduces the chance of something going wrong and PVC residues ending up in the environment. In addition, he has also thought carefully about how operators and technical staff can take care of inspection and maintenance of the installation. His well-filed and insightful project report, together with an excellent oral defence, managed to convince the jury unanimously.  As the winner of the Wout Theuws prize, Sander not only receives a certificate but also a nice cash prize of €500. At 't Saam Campus Cardijn, a beautiful 3D printed award is now also displayed in the trophy cabinet.

The other finalists, Rik Briels from the TISM school in Bree and Bjorn De Cuyper from the Sint-Bernardustechnicum in Oudenaarde, each receive a cash prize of € 200. Rik Briels made a BIP about the maintenance of the machines in the Thilesna wine estate.  Bjorn De Cuyper wrote a report on his part in the final project on Humanoid Robot Arms, a group project with 5 other fellow students. This earned them a shared place as runners-up.

Award ceremony

Prize Wout Theuws 2021

During the proclamation at 't Saam, BEMAS director Wim Vancauwenberghe gave a short speech and explained the idea behind the prize Wout Theuws: "For us Wout has a wonderful example function. He followed a technical training in car mechanics and started his career in a garage at the age of 16. His hard work and eagerness to learn earned him more and more responsibility. In 1991, he completed his Master's degree in Integrated Maintenance Management and 9 years later he was elected Maintenance Manager of the Year. He has worked at Bosal since 1986 and became Group Manufacturing Excellence Leader HSE and Maintenance. Meanwhile Wout enjoys his retirement, but is still an active member in the Board of Directors of BEMAS and is chairman of the European Asset Management Committee."

Wim Vancauwenberghe also thanked TA@3D, the educational network for technical advisors and coordinators, for its support, and SDT for donating the ultrasound device as an additional prize for the school. This innovative device can now be used in the school for exercises on leak detection and preventive maintenance based on condition monitoring. Pieter Vulsteke, the teacher who supervised Sanders' thesis, received this device together with the 3D printed award for the school.  

BEMAS vzw helps its members on their way to a higher Return on Assets through better management of machines, installations and infrastructures. We strive to increase efficiency, reliability and quality, and to reduce life cycle costs, environmental impact, energy consumption and risks. By bringing people together and sharing knowledge about maintenance and asset management, BEMAS forms the bridge to a sustainable and competitive industry and economic prosperity in Belgium. More info on https://www.bemas.org.

About 't Saam campus Cardijn

t Saam offers a wide range of courses from the first to the seventh year of general, vocational and technical secondary education. However, the school is no mastodon. Cardijn Campus has around 800 pupils.  't Saam wants to give young people a quality education that matches their aptitude and interests. The pedagogical project focuses on instilling a good attitude and a balanced, varied and multifaceted range of studies in order to give pupils maximum opportunities to succeed in higher education or on the labour market. More info on https://tsaamcardijn.be. 

About recycling at Deceuninck Compound

Deceuninck is a manufacturer of innovative window and door solutions with customers all over the world. The compounding plant in Diksmuide produces 105,000 tonnes of compound annually as a raw material for the manufacture of windows and doors.

In October 2012, a PVC recycling plant started operating on the site of the PVC compounding plant. The initial capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year was increased to 45,000 tonnes of plastic per year with the commissioning of a new high-tech recycling plant. Thanks to the most modern recycling techniques, not only hard PVC from windows but also plastic with glass fibres can be processed. Deceuninck thus confirms its belief in plastic as a sustainable and future-oriented material for the construction sector.
More information on https://www.deceuninck.be/nl-be/deceuninck-recycling.

About Wout Theuws

Wout Theuws, born in 1953, took a technical course in car mechanics and started his career in a garage at the age of 16. Through hard work, a great curiosity and evening studies, he was given more and more responsibilities. Thanks to his experience and practical knowledge, Wout Theuws was able to start at Fisher Price in 1975 as a toolldesigner and progressed to plant engineering manager. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and realisation of new production machines. He also set up the entire maintenance management system.

In September 1986, Wout Theuws joined Bosal in Oevel as Technical Engineering Manager. Just like in the early years, he continued to 'learn for life'. In 1991, he completed the 'Master in Integrated Maintenance Management' course at the Hogeschool Gent. In 1996, he obtained a post HBO, Business administration and organisation, at the Hogeschool Eindhoven. At Bosal, Wout Theuws has since put high-performance and result-driven maintenance management on track, crowned by the title of Belgian Maintenance Manager of the Year in 2000. This prestigious award was conferred on him by BEMAS because of his excellent dossier, the correct defence and the high score during the on-site audit.

In 2001, he joined the BEMAS board of directors and became a member of the jury for the MMY competition. In 2002, Wout Theuws received an honourable nomination in Helsinki for the Euromaintenance Incentive award, presented by the Salvetti Foundation and the EFNMS (European Federation of National Maintenance Societies). Since then, he has represented BEMAS in the general assembly of this European umbrella organisation for maintenance and actively participated in various working groups.  

In 2004, his presentation on maintenance policy at BOSAL received the highest score at the Euromaintenance Congress. Moreover, the public chose him as the best speaker of this international maintenance congress. In his capacity as chairman of the EFNMS European Asset Management Committee between 2010 and 2014, he contributed among other things to the elaboration of the European standard EN 16646 'Maintenance - Maintenance within physical asset management'.

As of 2008, Wout Theuws became increasingly active within the Bosal group as "Group Manufacturing Excellence Leader HSE and Maintenance". In this capacity, he was until recently responsible for sharing best practices in maintenance, asset management, health, safety and environment between 22 manufacturing companies spread over 5 continents.

The fact that maintenance contributes significantly to a company's success is not only Wout Theuws' leitmotiv, it is also the core idea of BEMAS. After all, efficient and effective maintenance has a major impact on business continuity and the operating result. Maintenance is therefore of crucial importance for sustainable success in industrial enterprises and other asset-intensive organisations.

To this day, Wout Theuws continues to share his knowledge and experience with fellow maintenance managers, helping to raise maintenance in the Flemish and Belgian industries to an even higher level. The combination of applying best practices in maintenance and the availability of young technical talent enables our region to remain an attractive location for industrial investment. Wout Theuws is also chairman of the European Asset Management Committee within the European umbrella organisation for maintenance, EFNMS.

With the Wout Theuws Prize, BEMAS wants to inspire young people with a technical education to start a career in maintenance, just like Wout Theuws, with the ambition of developing into a true industrial leader at an international level.  The Wout Theuws Prize is already a first beacon on his or her CV. 


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