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3.2.2020 10:00

Lapland UAS to participate in a major European project

CHARM is a pan-European technology project to develop industrial digitalisation for challenging production environments.

Production environments with varying temperature, moisture or pressure conditions or, for example, vibration present a challenge for the electronics and digital measurement devices. Such conditions exist, for example, in mines and many factories and mechanical engineering facilities.

With an overall budget of EUR 32.7 million, the project is very large even in European terms. Therefore, there is reason to expect significant impacts, too.

Digitalisation for heavy industry

Lapland University of Applied Sciences specialist Ville Rauhala has been involved in the project preparations since last February. According to him, companies in the Sea Lapland region are keen to increase digitalisation and the level of automatisation that should, for all intents and purposes, be considered as ways to optimise production and improve occupational safety and health.

- The conditions often limit the possibilities to use digitalisation in the mechanical engineering and process industries. They are in danger of falling short of the other sectors,” says Ville Rauhala.

Finnish export companies Valmet and Sandvik were among the initiators behind the project with significant Finnish background.

- It is, however, a publicly-funded project, so the compiled results will be made available for other companies as well, Rauhala points out.

Joint effort of ten countries

There are companies from six industry sectors involved in the project, including the paper machine, mechanical engineering and mining vehicle industries. In total, the project comprises 12 small and medium-sized companies, 14 large companies and 12 universities and other research institutes.

The ten countries involved are Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland and Belgium. The project consortium covers the industrial value chain from simulations and pilots to sensors and components as well as coating and packaging, including the smart technology and cybersecurity involved in each phase.

Developing a testing concept for challenging production environments

The funding received by Lapland UAS is approximately one million euros, with UAS experts from the New Industry (industrial maintenance, embedded systems, optical measuring technology and electronics component testing) and Digital Solutions competence groups participating in the project.

Projects are opportunities for learning. In addition to providing experts for the project, the UAS also gains new expertise. This is beneficial for the teaching, service, research and development activities.

- New information will be integrated into teaching through our teachers involved in the project, and also through the R&D specialists who teach here. The project will also spawn thesis subjects for engineering students, with thesis worker salary costs already included in the project budget.

Measurement pilots developed in Kemi will be tested at Valmet and Sandvik.

- The pilots are developed to a high level. The aim is to get to as close to a finished product as possible, Ville Rauhala explains.

In addition to the Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Tampere University is also involved in the project. According to Ville Rauhala, having two Finnish universities involved in a major international project is rare.

Lapland UAS as the country coordinator

The Lapland University of Applied Sciences will be the CHARM project’s country coordinator in Finland. This includes coordinating the activities of the seven Finnish organisations on the national level, reporting and project bureaucracy management. In total, the university will put in 96 man-months during the three-year project.

The full name of the project is ‘Challenging environments tolerant Smart systems for IoT’. Half of the funding comes from the European Commission’s ECSEL programme, with Business Finland responsible for Finland’s national contribution.

Lapland UAS already has great expertise in IoT (Internet of Things) and testing of electronics components. Furthermore, both Ville Rauhala and the university have experience in ECSEL projects.

The pan-European Mantis project completed the year before last was nominated for the national Kärjet 2019 (Spearheads 2019) competition and elected as an Industry4.E Lighthouse project (Initiative for Excellence in Digital Industry) on the European level. The project also received top marks in the Commission’s Review event.

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Team member of the New Industry Expertise Group of Lapland UAS, Mika Mört operating an electron microscope. Ville Rauhala with IoT-specialists Jani Sipola and Antti Niemelä follow from the back.

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