Processledare Catarina Berglund

IndTech - a somewhat anonymous Swedish speciality

Chronicle · Catarina Berglund, process manager at Automation Region · 29 April 2021

Times are changing and development in our area is rapidly progressing. Today we talk less about industry segments – automation and digitization are crucial success strategies regardless of industry. Collaborating across both regional and national boundaries to learn from each other feels natural. Cooperation is a means of competition and a prerequisite for being able to take the lead in digitization and the transition towards a more sustainable production.

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Ordförande Automation Region Ola Norén

IndTech shows the way forward

Chronicle · Ola Norén, ordförande Automation Region · 31 March 2021

It is with great anticipation that I take on the role of new Chairman of the Board of Automation Region. We have exciting times ahead of us with high goals and ambitions. In five years, we will be Europe's leading innovation environment for automation. It is a bold vision - and to succeed will require a great deal of courage, skill and energy.

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After the smartphone and beyond

Chronicle · Rebecka Cedering Ångström, Principal Researcher, Ericsson · 26 February 2021

If I may wish for anything, it is that more of us take the opportunity and think about the future with AI. Take the opportunity to discuss with your colleagues and friends. Dare to ask questions about what happens next - after the smartphone and beyond.

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In adversity there are opportunities for development

Chronicle · Christer Gerdtman, CEO Motion Control · 29 January 2021

In 1996, Sweden took a real step within information technology with a home PC and large investments in broadband. Around 2007 the smart phones came and accelerated the development of digital services and business models. 2020 was the year when our meetings and meeting places went digital and we learned that teleworking could function really well.

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Adaptation with continued focus

Chronicle · Process management Automation Region · 22 December 2020

When we summarize a year, it is usually about what has happened and what we have learned from it. But not much has been normal in 2020. We have experienced radical changes and learning on a whole new level. We have faced challenges that we could never have foreseen – extreme disruptions in value chains that have previously been considered stable, and companies, yes, entire industries that have basically been punctured.

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Internationalization with great potential

Chronicle · Henric Johnson, Counsellor at Sweden's Office of Science and Innovation in the USA · 30 November 2020

Since the end of World War II, the United States has developed a successful ecosystem of partnership between business and government. Extensive federal R&D efforts have led to breakthroughs such as the Internet and GPS technology, which in turn form the basis of leading US tech companies and platforms. Most of these companies conduct most of their development from Silicon Valley, where they, together with universities such as Stanford and UC Berkeley, have played an important role in the region's development.

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The value chain - opportunities and obstacles for innovation

Chronicle · Petra Edoff, chairman of the Automation Region's research and development group · 30 October 2020

During the pandemic, we have seen great flexibility in production. Industrial companies have switched focus to be able to produce protective equipment when the usual products are not in demand or deliveries fail. In the same way that during the holidays we are more flexible in taking on tasks and responsibilities that we otherwise shy away from or do not feel qualified for, we can during a crisis raise our gaze and adjust - not just because we have to, but because we want to.

This flexibility in what we do, how we do it, and who does what is central to innovation and development. But if we look at something that has been on the industry's agenda in recent years - technology development and digitalization - what does it look like?

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Focus on the internal power of change

Chronicle · Johan Carlstedt, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) · 30 September 2020

A key challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises is to increase the power of innovation and renew the business model with the help of new technology. There are often one or more individuals within their own organization who can drive development and innovation, but it is required that they receive the right support and room for maneuver. At IVA, we are currently looking into how we can support companies' intrapreneurship – namely the internal entrepreneurship.

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An opportunity to increase the pressure

Chronicle · Jenny Elfsberg, Head of Innovation Management, Vinnova · 31 August 2020

Swedish industry is globally competitive and known for high competence, innovation capacity and a collaborative climate. For a small, export-dependent country, it is crucial to take a seat and lead technological development. But when we are hit by a crisis, the natural reaction is to slow down - to focus on core business and pause development and cooperation.

The corona pandemic has in many ways shown how dependent we are on global value chains and that the systems we have built are unfortunately not very robust. During the spring, I worked for Volvo in the USA. In my workplace, and in the automotive industry in general, the consequences were clear - when the influx of materials stopped, so did production. In this way, the pandemic has benefited, it has exposed weaknesses that allow us to better prepare for the future.

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Hierarchies have no effects on complex processes

Chronicle · Mats Tyrstrup, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Stockholm School of Economics · 30 June 2020

Management strategies with associated hierarchies, balanced scorecards and Lean philosophy work well to lead businesses that work with standardized processes, such as manufacturing products. For some time, however, we have seen that the emphasis in value creation is shifting from physical products to behaviors. New companies can create value through shares, likes and unique visitors. At the same time, the traditional businesses are trying to adjust our behavior - for example, the bank does not want customers to come into the office. When we shifted from agriculture and crafts to industry, we needed management and hierarchies, but when we now shift the focus from things to behavior, a different model and a different leadership is required.

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Where is the new freezer?

Chronicle · Marie Gidlund, Business manager, Sweden Food Arena · 29 May 2020

What is the great innovation of our time around food? Fridge and freezer revolutionized the life of my grandmother. She could store food without having to salt, smoke, preserve, cook - a revolution both in terms of saving time and being able to make use of everything. The entire value chain changed, new logistics chains with freezer transport emerged, the grocery stores received refrigerators and freezers, new products and product segments were developed… All product developers and innovators added enormous creativity. Where is today's freezer?

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Important learning for future resilience

Chronicle · Catarina Berglund and Bernt Henriksen, Automation Region · 30 April 2020

Right now, we are in a completely new landscape with enormous strains on individuals as well as societal functions and companies. The industry - the base for the Swedish economy - is going at a slow pace and no one knows how long it will be. At the same time, in the midst of the ongoing crisis, we see an incredible commitment and a strong will to support and help.

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We build the future with competence and collaboration

Chronicle · Helena Jerregård, vicerektor för samverkan vid Mälardalens högskola · 31 March 2020

We can probably agree that the corona pandemic will be demanding in many ways and we must work together to curb the negative development. For example, it is important to take advantage of the opportunity for skills development so that we are ready when the recovery takes off. Many issues and alternatives are discussed and at Mälardalen University we prepare together with various actors to support industry and society with the resources and tools we have at hand.

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What responsibility do companies have for the development of society?

Chronicle · Daniel Akenine, nationell teknik- och säkerhetschef på Microsoft Sverige · 28 February 2020

Traditionally, a company's overall goal is to meet the interests of its owners, an interest that is usually equated to maximizing profits. However, this idea is being challenged and questioned more and more – a notable example is the Davos meeting's manifesto from January this year.

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Diversification builds competitiveness

Chronicle · Malin Rosqvist, programstrateg för PiiA · 30 April 2019

Sweden is perceived as a country that is at the leading edge of the transformation to digital industry. We are proud of our ingenuity, revolutionary innovations and excellence in research. We are enterprising, cooperative and often described as an egalitarian country with a well structured society. Swedish industrial companies enjoy a high level of credibility and a good working climate.

This is in many respects a fair picture and one to be proud of. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must constantly work to maintain our position, and these days we know that competitiveness and equal opportunities go hand in hand. Without one, we cannot have the other.

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Graduate school hones its collaboration with industry

Chronicle · Thomas Nolte, projektledare för Array, Mälardalens högskola · 29 March 2019

At the industrial research college Array, the Automation Region Research Academy, Mälardalen University meets industry requirements for research, development and skills supply. Working with companies and organizations, we have put together a package containing courses, projects and professional tutors from the college and industry. We have also built up an extensive network to support the development of our industry postgraduate students and participating organisations.

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Pfizer’s major investments in Strängnäs

Chronicle · Helena Thelin Site Lead, Pfizer Health AB · 28 February 2019

Pfizer is currently investing SEK 350 million with the aim of doubling the rate of manufacturing in the facility in Strängnäs. The background to our major investment in Mälardalen is that the demand for our products is increasing. In a broader perspective, this is a matter of us being able to show that we belong to a strong region with many prominent automation companies and access to the right expertise.

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Controlling the implementation of intelligent systems with needs

Chronicle · Stig Larsson, senior forskare på RISE SICS Västerås · 31 January 2019

The possibilities of data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning are almost endless. But grandiose visions are of no value unless they come to fruition. Always start with the need; see potential in the problems you tackle on a daily basis. If you ask a concrete question, you increase the chance of receiving a clear answer.

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Cooperation – the key to the skills challenge

Chronicle · Pamela Ernlund, Human Resources Business Partner, Quintus Technologies AB · 15 December 2018

To further improve our local ties and to find new collaborations, we became members of Automation Region in spring 2018. For us, Automation Region is an easily accessible, local arena where, by simple means, we can show who we are and what it is that we work with. We can form relationships with the other member companies and obtain knowledge and inspiration from seminars, Do-tanks and other activities.

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Circular economy – a real opportunity

Chronicle · Erik Bresky, processledare på Smart Textiles · 29 November 2018

When I visited companies a few years back and talked about the circular economy, many thought that it seemed abstract. This is no longer the case. Today, I am met with great curiosity and also an awareness that we must leave the throwaway culture behind us. At the same time, there is uncertainty surrounding circular economy in practice – how can it be implemented in my business?

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Join us in Hanover

Chronicle · Annika Persson och Catarina Berglund · 30 October 2018

With 5,000 exhibiting companies and 200,000 visitors, the Hanover Fair is the world’s largest industrial fair. When it is arranged next, on 1–5 April 2019, Sweden is the partner country, which is both an acknowledgment and a challenge, considering our predecessors – Mexico 2018, Poland 2017, USA 2016, India 2015 ... A Swedish pavilion encompassing 1,200 square metres is to be built in one of the most central exhibition halls. There, visitors will come face to face with Swedish industry and automation – from research and development to the finished product.

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The pursuit of future skills

Chronicle · Niclas Sigholm, vd på Sigholm Konsult · 28 September 2018

From one year to another, the number of virtual assistants (voice-controlled AI assistants) on the U.S. market increased by nearly 400 per cent (Mary Meeker, 2018). The adaption on the market is faster than that of any previous technology. It is moving so fast that Google has suddenly realised that they have fierce competition to their most central product – the search engine. Americans are no longer searching by text but are instead using voice commands.

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