Sustainable production – crucial way to succeed

Working strategically with sustainable production is about being one step ahead. Through a combination of research and development, experiments and workshops with companies, this is something that the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Linnaeus University applies.

Working with sustainable production has become increasingly important. Regarding the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Linnaeus University, it is a crucial part of how they, together with the business community, can create global competitiveness and innovations from a sustainability perspective. The core is to work strategically with research and development in sustainable production in order to be at the forefront and thus be able to convey strategies to small companies in the region.

– We work with digital tools such as simulation while we validate models and verify outcomes in a lab environment. For us, the concept of sustainable production means simulation-based product development, efficient low-volume manufacturing and maintenance. We usually collaborate with industry, but during the pandemic it has been a challenge. We are hopeful of coming back soon with workshops where research and development can be translated into internships and innovations, says Gunnar Bolmsjö, professor at Linnaeus University.

Gunnar Bolmsjö, professor at Linnaeus University.

Three important components for sustainable production

The department works on the basis of three main parts that the operational activities are developed and grow around – applied mechanics, production systems as well as maintenance control and quality systems. These parts are interdependent and follow a scheme to work most favorably with sustainable production. Applied mechanics is the basis for efficient and rapid product development where material selection, design and function largely determine subsequent parts such as manufacture and use. In production systems, the focus is on flexible automation and robotisation. Maintenance management and quality systems include how products or systems are used or managed during their lifetime to meet specifications at the lowest total cost. Knowledge of how a product is used and “feels” means that you can plan maintenance in a better way and also its use.

– These three parts are linked from a sustainability perspective. The goal is to be in a situation where we do not have to make prototypes. We want to shorten lead times and get the product to market as quickly as possible, while maintenance and the life cycle perspective are an integral part, says Gunnar Bolmsjö.

Demonstration environments will highlight solutions

At Linnaeus University, the department conducts projects in these areas that work to meet the needs of manufacturing companies with competence and knowledge. The purpose is to meet the need on several levels – in workshop environments with laboratory work that provides practical experience, exchange of experience, as well as theory and technology development that affects in the near future and future. To meet the needs of manufacturing companies, the department uses demonstration environments in three areas – flexible automation and robotics, condition monitoring and simulation of product properties – to illustrate solutions.

– Our target group is primarily manufacturing companies where automation and robotisation can be expected to have a major impact on competitiveness. We build an experimental equipment and invite companies to show how this can be made possible. It will be a mix between research, workshops and tests. This can be about verifying the product’s properties in laboratory activities, says Gunnar Bolmsjö.

Fact:

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Linnaeus University runs the project “Demonstration environment for smart and innovative automation in the manufacturing industry (Smart-IAT)”. The goal of the project is to develop and establish a demonstration environment in advanced manufacturing technology. This is to meet manufacturing companies’ needs for expertise in product development, control and maintenance of machines, as well as automation and robotisation. The demonstration environment will be built up in the Epic laboratory. Here you can read more about the project.

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