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21 December 2022

MEX Finland looks ahead to an active 2023!


The Autumn assembly of MEX Finland brought together almost 40 participants for an online meeting. On the agenda were the review of the activities of the past year and developments as well as the action plan for the next year. Additionally, we had the chance to hear about the fresh breeze going through the manufacturing development activities in South-West Finland.

Following a joint opening of the meeting, Juha Päivike, the Chair of MEX Finland, reviewed this year’s main theme in manufacturing and industry: resilience. The new projects under development have resilience as a common feature.

The Open Smart Manufacturing Ecosystems OSME initiative has now been running for a year. All nine workstreams have made progress and, with the joint planning of a digital platform now well underway, the next steps will be the implementation of an MVP in the first quarter of next year and the first version of the platform aiming for permanent use by the end of 2023.

The goal of the Resilient Materials (REMA) project is to provide a collaboration platform to enhance the ability of the Finnish manufacturing sector to shift to more resilient and transparent sourcing of critical metals and metal processing supplies. The project plans are advancing, and the partners Sacometal, Sacotec, Valmet, Metlab, and Synocus are planning to apply for funding from Business Finland in early 2023. Presently, the focus is on bronze and steel based on the approach developed by Sacometal, which was presented by CEO Ilari Kinnunen. There is still room for additional partners to join the project consortium. If interest to join, please contact Niklas Koski.

The RESUME, Resilient and sustainable material flows in Europe, is a project in joint preparation by the University of Vaasa, JTA Connection, ABB, and Synocus. The initiative will take a comprehensive perspective on material flows and develop new concepts and solutions to improve the resilience and flexibility in the integration of external and internal material and data flows with the help of digitalization and automation. The application is planned to be submitted to Business Finland within the first quarter of 2023. Here as well additional partners are welcome and can contact Niklas Koski.

The Industrial Resilient Collaborations (IRC) project is in the early stages of planning. Its initiator, Business Jyväskylä, is discussing how companies can jointly strengthen their capacity for situational awareness and processes in the face of adversity and crises while increasing the viability advantage. As of late, projects around cyber security have received national support, which could support the development of collaboration on resilience. A smaller scale study could be initiated in Q1 2023, and a major project in Q3 2023, pending positive funding decisions.

South-West Finland (Varsinais-Suomi) full of new manufacturing initiatives

First, Professor Antti Salminen of the University of Turku presented the history of the way the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering was established in 2021. This department together with the Department of Computing and the Department of Biotechnology can now provide a rich engineering curriculum. There are over 2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate degree students and roughly 350 staff members, of which almost 50 are professors.

The University of Turku is an active partner to businesses in the region. The collaboration extends from examining the correspondence between education and professional life needs, and using the expertise of businesses in teaching, to joint research projects.

Director of FIP-S2@Novia, Mirva Salokorpi from Novia University of Applied Sciences presented the collaboration of Novia and the Fraunhofer Institute on Novia’s maritime campus Aboa Mare in Turku, the FIP-S2. The joint initiative develops and tests customized and intelligent solutions for the needs of the maritime industry. The Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML is part of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. It is a strong applied research organization in Europe, with more than 75 institutes specializing in various fields of technology in Germany and in a global cooperation network. FIP-S2 at Novia offers the Finnish and the Northern European maritime industry direct access to the Fraunhofer network.

Erkki Virkki, CEO of the Koneteknologiakeskus Turku, introduced their Productive Steel Processing (ProSteelPro) initiative that addresses welding techniques for thick steel and researches best practices for a variety of applications. The initiative is divided into two different sections, company development projects, and research. The aim is to involve five OEMs and five SMEs. The ambition is that this initiative will develop a co-innovation application to Business Finland, which will be submitted during the first half of 2023. Those interested to learn more about this can contact Erkki Virkki or Niklas Koski.

Jari Laine of Sandvik Turku spoke about the Frame Excellence Center (FEC) utilizing the potential of Sandvik’s frame manufacturing knowledge. The focus areas are product development, frame manufacturing, supply chain expertise, and the education of future talents. Sandvik Turku is an associate partner in OSME.

Heili Kolkkanen of Meyer Turku presented Necoleap an ecosystem for the development of a climate-neutral cruise ship. Necoleap has so-called Veturi status by Business Finland. The R&D topics of the Necoleap project focus on four key areas: the ship itself, shipbuilding, smart technologies, and future drivers. Initial partners to this Business-Finland-supported initiative are Meyer Turku, KONE, Sea King, VTT, University of Turku, Åbo Akademi, Turku AMK, Aalto University. Those interested in joining the Necoleap ecosystem can contact Heili Kolkkanen through the Necoleap webpage.

Thank you so much for participating and listening to our autumn meeting and hope to see you all again and share our thoughts, ideas, and actions with each other in 2023.

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all MEX Finland members and friends!