Sweden's top facility for new smart industry jobs opens its doors
On the 8th of May, the doors were opened to the Stena Industry Innovation Laboratory (SII-Lab) at Chalmers campus Lindholmen, Sweden – a 1000 square meter test-lab for digitalisation and future jobs in industry. Production researchers Johan Stahre and Åsa Fast-Berglund invite everyone to engage – young people, students, researchers and companies!
Sweden now has a unique environment to show how the smart factories of the future could look. The lab can be significant for the development of the digitalised industrial work of tomorrow, and for accelerating the digital transformation of industry and society.
"More and more companies are moving their manufacturing to Sweden, and the Stena Industry Innovation Lab now makes that even easier. The project sits well with what the government wants to achieve in strengthening the conditions for Swedish industry to develop, manufacture and compete in the world market,” says Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, who opened the national test lab on the 8th May.
With the help of funds from the Stena Foundation, an old library at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has been transformed into a multifaceted laboratory – the Stena Industry Innovation Laboratory. Inside there is much of what is required for new industrial practices, or what is commonly called ‘Industry 4.0’.
"Digitalisation is changing industry quickly, but the job will not disappear. At the heart of the center there are still people – and with that, all the expectations we have of modern workplaces” says Professor Johan Stahre, who, together with Åsa Fast-Berglund, is responsible for Chalmers’ new focus on industrial digitalisation.
In smart industrial production, technologies and tools are adapted to the employee. Builders, operators and production developers can utilize their creativity and perform their work better with the use of tools such as VR, 5G and collaborative robots.
"The digitalised workplace of the future has a lot in common with the world of digital gaming" says Åsa Fast-Berglund, Associate Professor at Chalmers University of Technology.
Companies both large and small, together with Chalmers researchers and students, are already implementing the ideas and technology of the future. At the unique, open environment of the SII-Lab, new innovations and business models will see the light of the day for the first time. In this environment, which is important for the training of future engineers and digitalisation experts, a large number of Master’s theses are ongoing.
"Swedish industry faces very big production challenges. We believe that many people can be inspired by this environment, thereby contributing to the digital transformation that needs to happen," says Madeleine Olsson Eriksson, chairman of the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture, which has funded the greatly expanded business.
For industry, the test-lab is long-awaited. Efficiency improvements in manufacturing are taking place today through innovations in digitalisation and automation, resulting in increased flexibility, improved quality, reduced costs, environmental and energy gains – all of which are relevant to being competitive, according to Alrik Danielson of SKF.
“All of this can be done anywhere in the world. So this type of lab activity allows Sweden to get back to leadership in areas where we have lost it, and to maintain and further strengthen the areas where we are already leading. This is our chance as an industrial nation," says Alrik Danielson, CEO of SKF.
Chalmers President Stefan Bengtsson is pleased by the Stena Foundation’s desire to make such a big investment in the important area of production.
"We work closely with Swedish industry to open up great opportunities for research, innovation and education. An important piece of the puzzle is for Chalmers to remain an internationally leading environment in the area of production. Now we can contribute even more strongly to increasing the speed of Swedish industry’s digitalisation, "says Stefan Bengtsson, President and CEO of Chalmers.
For more information contact:
Professor Johan Stahre
Tel: 031-772 12 88
Associate Professor Åsa Fast-Berglund
Tel: 031-772 36 86
Stena Industry Innovation Laboratory
Stena Industry Innovation Lab (SII-Lab) is a new type of meeting place and testbed for industry and academy. SII-Lab is part of Chalmers’ Campus Lindholmen and is located in the university building Patricia. SII-Lab is strategically located, among hundreds of companies, schools, universities and housing, in Lindholmen Science Park, Sweden's largest industry-oriented technology park.
At the Stena Industry Innovation Lab, large and small companies can come to test and develop new technologies for next-generation smart-factories, together with Chalmers researchers and experts. The focus is on digitalised production and new industrial jobs. The SII-Lab undertakes advanced research and innovation based on industrial digitalisation. The researchers collaborate in local, national and international projects.
In SII-Lab there are industrial robots that work with people. Production developers are developing factories using augmented reality and virtual reality. 5G technology enables rapid communication between machines, products, robots and people. New types of workplaces offer VR support and game-based education. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) creates complicated products in a short period of time. The lab is based on concepts from the German production initiative ‘Industry 4.0’. SII-Lab also works with the "Internet of Things", cloud services and advanced production management.
SII-Lab is also a training center with both civil engineer education and further education for professionals. Here you will find in-depth knowledge of how digitalisation affects industry, and understanding of how to use new digital tools. It can be about how products, machines and people can communicate with each other. In SII-Lab, we also demonstrate the future of production to young people and children, to show how exciting a career in industry can be.
Sten A Olsson's Foundation for Research and Culture has invested 21 million SEK in SII-Lab in order to significantly increase Chalmers's industrial digitalisation business. SII-Lab is a national testbed that is also part of the EU Commission's network of industrial digitalisation testbeds.
Four Demonstration Displays
There are four different demonstration displays in the lab, all of which highlight digitalisation and Industry 4.0. The first two demonstrations are about communication and presentation of data, and the other two are about aids for operators in the form of training, simulation and robots.
Mini Factory 4.0
This demonstration shows how communication in a factory could look in the future. Today, many different IT systems are used in industry, for planning, orders, instructions, and so on, while in the factory of the future, everything will need to be connected. You will also want to be able to analyse and show trends to simplify planning and change management. In the demonstration, we show how different systems can be linked together to get faster and more efficient communication, while reducing the number of IT systems. We also show how the communication between sensors in business systems can be simplified in a smart way, thanks to a so-called IoT (Internet of Things) platform.
This demonstration shows how data can be sent to, and analysed in, the cloud. Here, 5G technology is used for fast, safe and scalable connections. A small computer is mounted on a robot arm and is wirelessly connected to the network. The computer sends images to the cloud that, through picture analysis, can recognise a face, and make observations about a person. It can analyse when a person moves, send new data back to the cloud, and then instruct the robot to move. New communication technology like 5G makes it quick and safe to make such calculations, even from the other side of the world.
The demonstration shows a number of collaborative robots and what they can be used for in the future. Collaborative robots can stand in an open environment and work alongside people. But more research is needed to ensure that these robots really are safe, and to improve the interaction between them and us. Our demonstration also highlights the importance of doing good preparatory work from the earliest stage, when the product is drawn and developed. If this is done well, it is easier to automate when it is produced.
Simulation and training using VR and AR technology
A demonstration of four different areas where VR and AR technology can be used. Training of installers can be done in VR before the product and the factory are even in place. This reduces the boot time for new products. Maintenance can be done using AR technology, where visual instructions can be displayed in real time for operators. VR for layout planning of new factories allows new layouts to be evaluated and discussed at a distance at an early stage. Virtual twins of factories can be created, with real-time data showing cycle time, number of manufactured products, and more.
Examples of research projects linked to the lab
- Demonstration and testbed for smart digitalisation for human-centered automation
- Strategy for global monitoring (GAIS) 2
- DIG IN – Digitalised Well-being
- Digital learning platform for the smart digital factory (edig)
- BOOST 4.0 – EU Project for Industry Introduction 4.0 in Europe, with 50 partners.
- 5G-Enabled Manufacturing - 5GEM, digital pilot for 5G technology in the manufacturing industry
- MEET-UP: Increased innovation in production with MEET application and smart collaboration
- AKTA - Automation of Kitting, Transport and Installation
- Smart Factories
Information about the projects can be found in Chalmers’ database for research projects.
Professor Johan Stahre
Tel: 031-772 12 88
Associate Professor Åsa Fast-Berglund
Tel: 031-772 36 86
Forskningsgången 6, entréplan