Mobile work machines cluster launched – big industry, huge opportunities for Finland - Business Tampere Magazine
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    Mobile work machines cluster launched – big industry, huge opportunities for Finland

    sandvik automine skaalattu2
    Picture: Sandvik

    A group of mobile work machine manufacturers and their technology partners is boosting collaboration with each other and research institutes. The industry is renewing because of electrification and digitalization of work machines, and it is beneficial to build the competence in key technologies together. Mobile work machines cluster will keep Finland in the cutting edge of tech development.

    There are many globally acclaimed mobile work machine manufacturers in Finland, and unique expertise in machine building for various purposes: from agricuture and forestry to mining and port operations, just to mention a few. Machine manufacturers have a prominent role in Finland’s exports.

    To ensure its competitiveness in the future, the machine manufacturing needs industry-driven research, innovations, expertise and skilled labour. Collaboration is an efficient method to deliver results, and that’s exactly why the Mobile work machines cluster was implemented as a collaboration platform.

    Our aim is to work together in a very practical and industry-driven way, linking various operators: machine manufacturers, technology and research partners both in Finland and internationally, says Harri Nieminen, who is building industry driven renewal enablers in VTT and TAU.

    Shared roadmap and basket of results

    The Mobile work machines cluster’s core team consists of renowned players: Kalmar, Ponsse, Sandvik, Valmet Automotive and Valtra together with Tampere University (TAU) and Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). New collaborators are welcomed to join the cluster from now on.

    Although the companies in the cluster make work machines and applications for a wide scale of uses, there are a lot of parallel goals in their development efforts. All of them require research – often heavy and time-consuming. The cluster’s shared roadmap combines the shared goals and drives the joint innovation and competence development.

    – When the companies have their intentions and expectations clearly documented, the cluster can create significant collaborations and research plans more easily, and apply for project funding. Without the cluster this wouldn’t be possible, says Matti Vilkko, Professor and Head of the Automation Technology and Mechanical Engineering unit at the Tampere University.

    – Without top research there is no top manufacturing. We have major companies in the cluster, but none of them could set the critical mass of research in motion alone, says Miika Kaski, Commercialization and Networks Lead at Sandvik.

    The results from joint research projects go into a shared basket, and each company may pick and use what they need.

    The collaboration between industry and research has a long history in Finland. What’s new in the Mobile work machines cluster is the large scope and continuity. Their aim is a permanent collaboration platform that keeps producing joint projects that support the industry’s key techs and competencies.

    Electrification of work machines

    The joint research projects are building foundations for the future. The first project is about electrification of work machines, a theme that can be found in any machine manufacturer’s plan as a very good way to achieve carbon neutrality. For the Mobile work machines cluster, zero carbon emissions is a goal, but they also expect to use electrification to create new added value for work machines.

    – For example, electrificating the actuators improves the controllability of a machine and will enable completely new functionalities. Similarly, the data generated by work machines will enable new, unprecedented services, says Nieminen.

    Expertise and competencies for future needs

    Competence development is another key area in the cluster. The industry will need skilled workforce from all levels of education now and in the future. The joint research projects double as a way to transfer the  latest tech knowledge and systematic problem solving skills into the corporate environment. Doctoral students are the main engine of research in the projects, and later most of them will be employed by the industry.

    Domestic and global visibility and impact is one of the goals for the Mobile work machines cluster. The cluster is networking internationally to obtain the best possible research and technology expertise.

    The vision of the cluster is, that in 2025 Finland is the best place in the world to develop mobile work machines and their key technologies. The Mobile work machines cluster is part of Sustainable Industry X (SIX), a national initiative supercharging Finnish industry performance and sustainable growth through innovation and knowledge.

    Read more about the mobile work machines cluster at www.six.fi

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