Kempens chipbedrijf is één van de best bewaarde geheimen van ons land: “Tonen dat je ook vanuit Europa innovatieve technologie kan ontwikkelen”

“Show that you can also develop innovative technology from Europe”

Magics Technologies founders Ying Cao and Jens Verbeeck

Magics Technologies must be one of the best kept tech secrets in our country. Based in De Kempen, this spin-off of KU Leuven and the Belgian nuclear research center SCK CEN develops chips that can operate in extreme radiation environments. The technology is used in satellites and drones, in nuclear power plants and in the future perhaps even in the holy grail of the energy world: nuclear fusion reactors.

  • How? Jens Verbeeck (CEO) and Ying Cao (CTO)

  • Since? 2015, as a spin-off from KU Leuven and SCK-CEN

  • Employees? 37

  • Revenue? 3.5 million euros in 2022

  • Funding? 2.75 million euros

Magics Technologies started from the vision that autonomous machines are the key to tapping into new, safe, unlimited energy sources. Just think of nuclear fusion and new types of reactors. Founders Jens Verbeeck and Ying Cao are also convinced that we need to think interplanetary in order to meet our future resource needs and to enable communication for everyone on the planet.

But how do you put such an ambitious vision into practice? “Autonomous machines cannot do without chips,” explains CEO Jens Verbeeck. “But traditional electronics break down in radiation environments. That is how we came up with the idea of ​​developing chips for robotics solutions in radiation environments. In nuclear environments, for example, our technology can handle 1,000 times more radiation than the solutions that were on the market.”

Fusion reactors and satellites

The chips that Magics Technologies develops have various applications. For example, they work in nuclear reactors, Verbeeck explains. “We were working on our PhD when the nuclear disaster in Fukushima happened. You saw there, and earlier also in Chernobyl, that all technology failed due to the radiation. Our technology allows us to use robotics for inspections and repairs at such a time. Or even earlier, to collect data and intervene in time if something goes wrong. By the way, our chips will be used in Fukushima for the inspection and decommissioning of nuclear reactors.”

Everywhere in the world, especially in the US and Japan, research into new nuclear fusion reactors is in full swing, says Verbeeck. “Not only governments are pumping a lot of money into that research, people like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are also investing heavily in research into this new energy source. We are the first company to make technology that can work in those fusion reactors.”

“Our chips also provide added value in space travel and defense applications. You see that more and more communication takes place along space, via satellites. Space is of course also an extreme environment, which traditional chips cannot withstand. We have developed solutions that allow these satellites to process and share real-time information in an energy-efficient manner,” says Verbeeck.

European market leader

Magics Technologies has the ambition to become the European market leader in chips for the aerospace, nuclear and defense industries. “In recent years, due to the pandemic and all kinds of geopolitical developments, the realization has grown that Europe must become independent in strategic areas. We want to show that you can also develop innovative technology from Europe. Even from the Kempen”, laughs the founding CEO. “We want to keep that technology in our own hands and hope that we can pull other companies into ours slipstream.”

Every week we present – in random order – a company from the list of 30 most innovative tech start-ups and scale-ups that Omar Mohout put together especially for Bloovi and which we Flanders Tech 30 baptized. These companies have already been discussed:

  1. D-CRBN

  2. Foodpairing

  3. SoundTalks

  4. Goodless

  5. Swimtraxx / Capetech
  6. Solergy

  7. IVEX
  8. IPEE

  10. Slimbox
  11. QelviQ
  12. CoMoveIT

  13. Moonbird
  14. Arani

  15. CADSkills

  16. Alberts
  17. Westray

  18. Urban Crop Solutions

  19. Tractonomy

  20. Bloomlife

  21. On-Hertz

  22. Magics Technologies

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