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Collaboration to future-proof production

The research project RaSP is working together with companies to enhance their ability to future-proof their factories and production so that they become circular, sustainable and resilient. The idea is that the project involving Polarbröd, Havredals and Falks Metall, among others, will produce a framework from which many companies can benefit when building or overhauling their production systems.

More and more companies are recognising the importance of designing their operations in ways that make them commercially sustainable, adaptable and ready to meet future requirements – whatever those requirements may be. But how can this be put into practise in a smart way? The goal of the research project RaSP (Resilient and Sustainable Production) is to help companies develop working methods that enable them to do so.

– “It’s becoming increasingly important to consider things from a sustainability perspective in order to contribute to the climate transition, meet new customer needs and be an attractive employer,” says Ulrika Harlin, Industry Researcher at RISE and one of six researchers in the project’s working group. “This means that companies taking these important steps will now have a strong competitive advantage.”

Harlin and Kristina Säfsten, who is professor of production systems at Jönköping University of Technology and also part of the working group, see that many companies have made greater progress in, for example, circularity in products than in production.

– “The products are more visible, which has meant there has been pressure from the market,” says Säfsten. “But now there is a greater interest from customers about how the products are manufactured and what climate footprint the production itself has.”

Circular solutions often require a higher degree of cooperation between organisations and in the value chain

New construction and overhauling

The companies in the research project are all in the process of building new production facilities (greenfield) or overhauling their existing facilities (brownfield). Circularity, sustainability over time, and flexibility in production to quickly switch between products and volumes have been important criteria for all involved.

– “The first step in the project was to devise a scenario for the future, where companies have had to indicate what they are aiming for in terms of resilient and sustainable production and what enablers and obstacles exist,” explains Harlin.

– “A lot of what came up during the first workshop concerned the people in the system and work methods rather than the technology,” adds Säfsten. “For example, ensuring that staff have the right skills, that employees are broadly involved in the development process, and that there is an understanding of the different needs in the different functions so that the risk of sub-optimisation is reduced.”

How can requirements be established for equipment?

The next step, which has just begun, is to identify current change projects in production and analyse them in-depth. This includes identifying what must be considered when setting requirements for new equipment and how different functions can be involved to ensure a holistic perspective.

– “Circular solutions often require a higher degree of cooperation between organisations and in the value chain,” says Harlin.

– “You may want to be able to circulate various liquids in the process, manage excess energy, or refine residues so that they can add business value for another party. To do this, you can, for example, work together with your machine suppliers to find new, customised solutions. It also means establishing new requirements when purchasing the production equipment and knowing what questions to ask.”

The project is funded by the strategic innovation programme Produktion2030 at Vinnova and will run for three years. The idea is that it will, among other things, produce a framework with questions that are interesting to ask during new construction or overhauling production facilities linked to sustainability and resilience.

– “We see that much more knowledge is needed in this area and we hope to provide it. It is also important that new skills are incorporated into the education system so that we can contribute to the future supply of skills in this area,” concludes Kristina Säfsten.

RaSP – Resilient and Sustainable Production – Proactive greenfield and brownfield production development

Forskare från: RISE, Tekniska Högskolan i Jönköping och Luleå Tekniska Universitet.
Deltagande företag: Polarbröd, Havredals, Falks Metall, 3Button Group och P9 Projekt.
Finansiering: Strategiska innovationsprogrammet Produktion2030 vid Vinnova
Projektperiod: 2021–2024.
Läs mer om RaSP på Kunskapsförmedlingens webb:

Ulrika Harlin

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Ulrika Harlin


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