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future by semcon

A magazine about product development & technical information

# 1 2009

Energy challenge Electricity needs are expected to increase dramatically. But where will it come from?

Rolls-Royce takes to the sea 1 Fortum gives hydropower new life 1 Invest out of the crisis

Contents #1.2009 Articles in this edition of Future by Semcon


futu r e by semcon 1.2009

Website: Address: Future, Semcon AB, 417 80 Göteborg, Sweden. Change of address: Publisher responsible under Swedish law: Björn Strömberg. Project manager Semcon: Anders Atterling Telephone: +46 (0)70 447 28 19 Email: Editorial production: Tidningskompaniet, Göteborg. Project manager: Peter Mohlin. Editor: Katarina Misic. Design: Charlotte Sundberg. Website: Repro: Tidningskompaniet, Göteborg. Printed by: Trydells Tryckeri, Laholm. ISSN: 1650-9072. Translation: Cannon Språkkonsult AB, Halmstad. Cover photo: Jan Rysavy. Retouch: Mikael Engström.


28 Propellers from Rolls-Royce dominating the seas

Rolls-Royce is the world-leader in propulsion systems for ships with its innovative propellers, water jet systems and pods. The heart of Rolls-Royce’s marine division is located in Kristinehamn in Värmland, Sweden and Semcon is on hand to help.

6 Electricity needs require new energy solutions

Society wouldn’t last long without electricity. The need for energy is increasing, while our main energy sources are not sustainable over the longterm. Where will we get electricity in the future? And what price are we willing to pay for it?

38 How Motoman’s robots arrived on the internet

Kajsa Petterson at Motoman, one of the world’s biggest robot manufacturers, wanted a joint internet platform for the company’s European segment. Semcon-owned Zooma received the complex assignment. The result? An easily navigable, informative website for 11 countries.

34 Meet Semcon’s sharpest minds

In Semcon Brains we meet individuals with exciting skills and assignments. Stefan Qvarnström makes AstraZeneca’s production more efficient, Samuel de Matos knows all there is about roof linings in cars and configuration manager Carolina Bramklev breaks down products into their smallest component parts.

Energy needs give new opportunities


he world is facing an energy challenge that will require technical solutions and innovations as well as political decisions and financial resources. Industrialized countries’ energy consumption is on the increase and is following countries’ GDP growth. Access to energy must improve, not only to meet this need but also the growing need in China, India and developing countries. The global population is increasingly settling in metropolitan areas. This in turn places demands on smart energy solutions, but also greater efforts to find alternative fuels for the automotive industry to gradually move over to electric vehicles. The energy challenge will give us many business opportunities in future and we are confidently looking forward to the task as we continue to develop our customers’ products and services in the fields of energy, offshore and the environment. We’re stepping up our efforts in these fields and making use of expertise and experience from other industries. Semcon’s expertise in estimations, validation, quality assurance and documentation is valuable for customers in the energy industry, which is benefitting development companies like Semcon. During recessions it’s increasingly important for companies to advance their technical developments to stand out. In this issue of Future by Semcon you can read more about the energy challenge and the energy sources of the future. You can also follow us to Fortum’s hydroelectric power stations, Rolls-Royce’s marine business and see how one of the world’s biggest robot manufacturers, Motoman, improved its web communication.

Kjell Nilsson ceo Semcon futu r e by semcon 1.2009


People #1.2009 People in this issue of Future by Semcon

We’re facing an energy challenge – our need for electricity is increasing, but where will it come from? Meet some of the people in Future by Semcon discussing the energy theme. Page




caroline bramklev, configuration manager, semcon

Do you know where you get your electricity from? “My partner knows more about that than I do, but we pay extra every month so we get carbon-free electricity. It’s important for us because coal is so devastating to the environment. But it would be interesting to find out exactly what energy sources our eco-friendly electricity comes from.”

göran urby, head of hydro power services, semcon

What technical challenges do you predict in hydroelectric energy? “Modern technology offers many opportunities for improved operational environments. The challenge here is to design the interface between man and machine so it becomes as intuitive, simple and self-explanatory as possible. We want as many people in operational organizations to be able to manage different power stations without the need for experts at the individual facilities.”

martin egerström, project manager, zooma What electrical item can’t you manage without day-to-day? “That depends on what type of day it is. If it’s a working day then I can’t do without my computer and phone. If I’m off – it’s probably the cooker.” 4

futu r e by semcon 1.2009



pernilla jonsson, futures analyst, kairos future

How’s it possible to make renewable energy more attractive to consumers? “By making it simple and cheap. Consumers aren’t interested in buying energy just because it’s eco-friendly. Most consumers can’t be bothered making an energy choice, it’s just too complicated. Moreover, energy is something that shouldn’t cost more than the absolute minimum, especially in times like these. It needs to be worth while for consumers to be eco-friendly.”


24 björn ten eicken, department manager, rolls-royce marine


36 samuel de matos, sub-project manager for automotive interiors, semcon

What potential do you believe the electric car has in the automotive industry? “I believe it’s important to consider alternatives to today’s cars. The industry will be forced to undergo dramatic changes because of the climate. The question then is will it be electric, gas, water or hybrid cars that replace today’s cars. At the moment my money is on electricity for urban traffic, but things can change very quickly.”

Have you taken any countermeasures to be more energyefficient in your industry or with your products? “Yes. Developing products that save fuel isn’t just something customers are demanding today – it’s a necessary sales argument for us as manufacturers. It’s become extremely important recently for contemporary producers in the industry to have an environmental image. Our customers are being pressed on the environmental issue from every angle, which means they need a supplier that can meet these demands.”


28 futu r e by semcon 1.2009


The world stops without electricity 6

futu r e by semcon 1.2009

The world’s need for electricity is steadily increasing. We’re moving into cities, raising our living standards and consuming more. But where will our future electricity come from? Future by Semcon goes in-depth into the future energy challenge and finds out what energy sources have the potential to save the world. text anders nilsson photo getty, nasa

futu r e by semcon 1.2009


Focus: Energy challenge


eijing, 25 July 2008. The city has been plagued by a heat wave for days with temperatures of up to 35°C. Air conditioning units can barely keep up. At 11.24 a.m. the Beijing Electric Power Company notes a new record for the city’s electricity consumption, 12.48 million kW. 201 emergency teams were on standby in case the electricity network failed, but this time they didn’t need to intervene. The network held and the 17.4 million inhabitants of Beijing could continue enjoying being cooled off in the heat. A few weeks later it was time for the opening ceremony of the summer Olympic Games. Beijing has been building a new, more stable electricity system for years to manage the 15 million kilowatts that they believed would be needed. They proudly announced that 33 wind turbines on the outskirts of the city would provide 20 per cent of the Olympic arenas’ energy needs. The only problem was that the remaining 80 per cent would mainly come from coal. Coal power represents 70 per cent of the country’s energy and China’s entire economic model is built on cheap coal. China’s electricity requirement has increased by an average of 14 per cent since 2000. This 8

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increase will soon lead to China being the world’s biggest consumer of electricity. Lina Bertling, professor of sustainable energy systems at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, visited the Three Gorges hydroelectric power station a few years ago. The view of Chang Jiang from the 180-meter dam is outstanding, but the enthusiasm in Lina’s voice is for something else: generators, power stations and direct current cables. She finds it difficult to hide her enthusiasm when it comes to fabulous power stations. “A single turbine can produce 700 MW and there are 32 of them! Compare that with Sweden for example where the major hydroelectric power stations produce around 200-400 MW and a wind turbine produces around 2-3 MW. If you’re fascinated by electrical power systems then it’s an incredible experience being there.” The site at Three Gorges, with its two kilome-

ter-long dam, 600 km-long reservoir, 32 generators and an estimated future capacity of 100 terrawatt-hours a year, is the world’s biggest hydroelectric power station. From its location in the Chinese interior it’s able to transport vast amounts of electricity to the densely populated cities on the coast 1,000 km away, and help quench the thirst for electricity that’s tied in with the country’s economic growth

China’s capital Beijing consumed a record amount of electricity in the summer of 2008. futu r e by semcon 1.2009



different sources for future electricity Solar PVs 1Bioenergy 2 Wind power 3 Hydroelectric 4 power

Green plants’ ability to capture solar energy is an extremely potent energy source. Bioenergy covers everything from traditional wood burning, pellets and chips, to biogas, biodiesel and ethanol. Scope: Traditional biomass accounted for 13 per cent of the world’s energy use in 2006 and is therefore the single most renewable energy source. Modern biofuels accounted for 0.3 per cent. Future: Bioenergy includes the entire scale from traditional technologies to cutting-edge research. There is major interest in bioenergy from agriculture waste, forestry waste and algae because it doesn’t need to take into account cultivable land. Bioenergy could represent one fifth of man’s energy needs over the long-term.

Wind power is the biggest of the new renewable energy sources (excluding traditional biomass and hydroelectric power). Scope: Installed wind power capacity grew by more than 25 per cent in 2007 to around 95 GW. Initiatives are being carried out in around 70 countries, but are most widespread in the US, Germany, India, Spain and China, together representing two-thirds of the capacity increase. Future: From a power efficiency perspective the technology is already close to its theoretical limit. The trend is moving away from smaller to larger turbines, from single turbines to wind farms and from land to sea.

and higher living standards. When the Three Gorges dam was in the planning stage it was thought that it would be responsible for 10 per cent of China’s electricity needs. But the fact is that the country’s energy consumption is increasing so dramatically that the dam, despite its incredible size, now only represents four months’ increase in electricity use. Getting the mankind on track in terms of sustainable energy will be one of the biggest challenges of the next century. The Three Gorges example underlines the scope of this challenge. It proves that CO2-free is not the same as eco-friendly and that we need to be on guard so that the renewable energy sources’ expansion take place with reasonable respect to the environment, food production and other interests. Above all the Three Gorges illustrates that even the most massive investment is not enough to quench the world’s thirst for energy. Energy consumption throughout the world, in particular electricity, will, according to all forecasts, continue to rise. 10

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Large-scale hydroelectric power is the most established renewable energy source alongside traditional biomass. A desirable “buffer” in an energy system because it’s easy to regulate when needed. Scope: Large-scale hydroelectric power accounted for 3 per cent of the world’s energy consumption in 2006. Future: The technology is established and hydroelectric power can still be extended, but not to the same extent as wind power or solar power. Under relatively reasonable conditions capacity can be doubled at most compared to today.

The majority of the increased electricity consumption comes from the housing sector plus the commercial and public sectors. These sectors have together risen from 38 per cent to 52 per cent over the past 30 years. Electricity consumption in the industry sector has also risen steadily over the same period, but not at the same rate and therefore its share has fallen from 51 per cent to around 42 per cent. The transport sector and agriculture are relatively minor electricity consumers in this context. A major explanation to the world’s greater electricity requirements is in urbanization and economic developments. Around two-thirds of the world’s energy is consumed in cities like Beijing, despite only half the world’s population live in urban areas. According to UN forecasts 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. People in cities consume on average more electricity than the global average. They have simple access to electricity and can afford to

Solar photovoltaics linked to an electricity grid are the most rapidly growing renewable energy source, with an average of 60 per cent annual growth between 2002 and 2006. Scope: The total solar PV capacity in 2007 was an estimated 7.8 GW. Future: Mature technology to the extent that it’s already working well and is commercially successful. Product development is however intensive and we can expect continued improved performance and lower costs over a long period of time. Various kinds of thin film solar cells are already competing with traditional crystalline cells.

consume. Meanwhile, fewer than one in three households in the majority of the oil and gasrich countries have access to electricity. “Two billion people around the world live in poverty, under conditions that we in the industrial world have difficulty imagining. They won’t be able to break free of that situation without modern energy carriers,” says Thomas B Johansson, professor of energy systems analysis and head of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University. He’s the former head of the UN UNDP’s Energy and Atmosphere Program, chairman of the International Energy Initiative and member of the executive committee of the Global Energy Assessment. Among other things.

UNIT GUIDE 3 kW = kilowatt

3 TWh = terawatt hours

3 GW = gigawatt

3 ppm = parts per million

3 MW = megawatt

3 Gt = gigaton


Solar thermal power

Individual solar thermal power stations have existed since at least the 1980s without raising any real interest around the world. But since 2004 there has been a boom for this kind of technology, which quite simply takes account of solar energy by concentrating rays with mirrors. Scope: In 2007, 20 or so sites were in the planning phase or under construction around the world. Future: The technology is considered mature, because it builds on classic solutions: mirrors, heated liquids, turbines and generators. This is an alternative to large-scale solar PV facilities and success will depend on how cheap solar panels in future will be.

6 Waves, oceanic currents and tides

The technology for extracting energy from the sea is still waiting for its commercial breakthrough. The world’s first commercial wave power plant (Portugal) and the world’s first commercial tidal power generator (Northern Ireland) were installed in 2008. Scope: The installed capacity is currently very small. Future: Research in oceanic energy covers a flora of ideas and they are still trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff. There is still significant potential however, and according to estimations the economic potential for wave energy is 2,000 TWh/year.

7 Nuclear energy


Nuclear energy is a controversial energy source. Supporters point to the fact that nuclear energy alongside hydroelectric energy is the only CO2-free energy source that already represents a major part of the world’s electricity needs. Critics point to the economic aspects – that nuclear energy projects are usually far more expensive than first planned and the major and difficult issues concerning long-term storage and risks for accidents, nuclear weapon spreading and terrorist attacks. Scope: In 2006 nuclear energy represented 14 per cent of the world’s electricity. Future: Mature technology. Forecasts for how long fuel reserves will last have gradually been extended, in line with technological advancements. The current forecast is that reserves will last thousands of years.

Geothermal energy

The extreme heat from the Earth’s core is used to produce vast amounts of electrical energy in countries with lots of volcanic activity, like Iceland. But more modest heat is also used together with two million heat exchange pumps in thirty countries for heating and cooling buildings. Scope: In 2007 geothermal energy had a capacity of 10 GW. Future: Established technology with 2-3 per cent growth annually. The potential is naturally greatest in countries with volcanic activity. A large find of hot granite (more than 200°C) deep beneath Australia shows however that there are sometimes very energy-rich geothermal sources far from the ruptures in the tectonic plates.

Source: Renewables 2007 Global Status Report

“Energy and economic growth are interconnected,” says Thomas. “Irrespective of how we look at the industrialized world’s needs it’s indisputable that economic growth is needed in the developing world. To this should be added population growth: today’s 6.7 billion people will increase to around 9 billion before we can expect a leveling off. This naturally also means that energy needs will increase significantly. BUT HOW BIG will the increase be? In a business-as-usual scenario, where the current rules of play in the field of energy continue to apply, the total use of energy will increase by 45-50 per cent from 2005/2006 to 2030, according to estimates by the OECD’s energy organization IEA and the USA’s department of energy, EIA. During the same period electricity use is expected to double from 17.3 trillion to 33.3 trillion kWh, according to EIA’s forecast. Electricity’s share of energy is on the increase. Moreover, it’s non-OECD countries that are expected to have the biggest need for electri-

city, an increase of 146 per cent by 2030. Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas in these scenarios will represent around 80 per cent or more of energy use in 2030. The IEA expects the energy-related CO2 emissions to increase by 45 per cent, from 28 Gt

Share of global electricity from renewable energy Fossil fuels 67%

Nuclear energy 14%

Major hydroelectric energy 15% New renewable energy sources 3,4% Source: Renewables 2007 Global Status Report

(billion tons) in 2006 to 41 Gt in 2030. The IEA also states that this development will lead to a doubling of the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere before the century is out, and thereby an expected average temperature increase of up to 6°C. In brief: we’re facing a climate catastrophe. In summary: the amount of energy must increase if developing countries are to be able to get out of poverty, but continuing as they are would lead to an environmental catastrophe. A third path is necessary: an energy revolution where an increased energy use is achieved in combination with rapidly diminishing CO2 emissions. It’s perfectly possible with existing technologies, but it will require major investment and political decisions. According to the IEA’s estimates this would require extra investment in energy provision equivalent to 0.55 per cent of the world’s joint GDP a year to stabilize the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere to a level of 450 ppm. Thomas B Johansson lists the tools available: futu r e by semcon 1.2009


“There’s enough wind power in the American mid-west to produce at least four times as much electricity as the US uses.” Thomas B Johansson, professor of energy systems analysis, Lund University

Using energy more effectively so that we don’t need so much energy for the same consumption of raw materials and services. Using all the renewable energy sources: sun, wind, water, biofuels and geothermal energy and using fossil fuels so that it’s environmentally acceptable, or at least not as bad and continue using nuclear energy. “The question is how quickly can we introduce changes so they’re seen on a global scale? In terms of the conversion to renewable energy sources the answer seems to be: “Not quickly enough”. There is huge growth in renewable energy sources, but it’s taking place at such low levels that it’ll take decades before these energy resources lead to any significant reduction in burning coal, oil and natural gas. Over the next few decades we are therefore expecting other initiatives to help cut CO2

Hydroelectric energy capacity under construction per region 3%

3% 4%

6% 7% Total = 167 GW






Other Asia




Latin America

Rest of the world

Source: Platt’s World Electric Power Plants Database, January 2008. 12

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emissions more. Study after study highlights the extensive potential in investing in “negawatt”, or energy savings, in everything from lighting to automotive electronics, buildings and industrial processes. The benefit of these initiatives is that they also provide households and companies with reduced energy costs and are often immediately profitable investments, even over the short-term. For industrialized countries energy efficiency means an opportunity to freeze energy use at current levels, or cut it. Energy efficiency in developing countries can also play a central role, but there it’s rather a case of slowing down the increase. According to fresh reports from the McKinsey Global Institute energy-saving initiatives could suppress the increase of developing countries’ energy needs over the next 12 years from 3-4 to 1.4 per cent annually, meaning a saving equivalent to China’s current energy consumption. When Thomas B Johansson mentions the pos-

sibility of cultivable fossil fuel less harmful he means the capture and storage of CO2 way down in the bedrock, or CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) as the technology is called, which could be a significant temporary solution for making fossil fuels more climate-friendly over the long time that it will still be used. Lars Strömberg, research director at Vattenfall and professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, expects coal-fired power stations to be built with CCS from around 2020. “Our Schwarze Pumpe pilot plant in Germany, which is the world’s first, is up and running and we can see that the technology works well,” he says. “The process is built on standard technology and existing components,” he says. Pumps and turbines, that’s it, with no machines to invest. But industrializing the technology and fine tuning all the details, cutting costs and getting the process to meet commercial requirements takes time. “One reason is that it takes at least five ye-

ars to build a coal-fired power station,” he says. “We expect to have a scaled up pilot plant 20 times bigger than Schwarze Pumpe ready by 2015 and experience from that we’ll have commercial technology available by 2020.” Lars Strömberg believes that 95-98 per cent of a coal-fired power station’s CO2 emissions will be captured and stored using CCS technology being developed by Vattenfall and that the process will use up 6 per cent of the power station’s electricity production. “But new power stations on the other hand are about 6 per cent more efficient than old ones,” he says. CCS can also be used alongside bioenergy and then would produce negative emissions, Thomas B Johansson points out. “Since the UN’s climate panel introduced its latest report in 2007 we have more expertise concerning climate change, not least in terms of thresholds and tipping points. It’s becoming clear that we, after we’ve finished with fossil fuels, we’ll need to extract CO2 out of the atmosphere to ensure we get down to safe levels of greenhouse gases. We’ll probably need to get below 400 ppm and CCS, combined with biomass, can help to a certain degree with the negative emissions required.” Another major challenge will be to transform infrastructure for electricity to suit the energy needs of tomorrow. “I was sitting down the other day writing and used the expression ‘revolution’”, says Lina Bertling. Lina is a new professor of application energy systems at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg and was previously research manager at Svenska Kraftnät. The revolution deals with integrating electrical energy systems between countries, cutting energy losses in the networks and making systems more robust and flexible. The aforementioned is principally a demand to manage future energy sources well. “It’s really great that so many wind farms


Lennart Hansson

Age: 55. Title: Project Sales. Office: Semcon Göteborg.

tive of what type of energy were talking about. If you expand the concept to also include this then it opens up even greater opportunities.”

Lennart Hansson is reviewing Semcon’s energy range.

Lennart Hansson is focusing on energy

The energy industry believes in the future and its potential. Lennart Hansson will ensure that Semcon improves its support to its customers in this area. text katarina misic photo NIcke johansson


resident Barack Obama has already drawn up guidelines. The US will double production of alternative energy over the next three years, modernize more than 75 per cent of all government buildings and make more than 2 million American homes more energy-efficient. In the process they’re hoping to create 3 million new jobs. There is no doubt that many people are very hopeful about the energy industry.

And there is good reason, according to Lennart Hansson at Semcon. “The whole world needs energy and it’s not something we can avoid, not even in a recession.” Lennart’s job is to review Semcon’s energy range. “We’re good at everything from upgrading hydroelectric power stations, estimating turbines and validation in the nuclear energy industry to energy surveys,

product development of energy-efficient technology and project management of major energy initiatives. But we naturally want the option of growing further, and that will mean making a joint effort.” Lennart would really like to broaden the options in the field of energy. ”Energy discussions are often limited to only dealing with how to generate it. But energy isn’t just created, it’s also transported, used and stored, irrespec-

He also sees benefits in knowledge transfer between industries with the help of expertise and experience collected by Semcon over the years. “No energy plants should have mishaps or shut down, whether it’s nuclear, wind, hydroelectric or a processing plant. We therefore need expertise in validation, quality assurance and documentation. Semcon has in turn received some of this expertise from the pharmaceutical industry. So there alone we’ve benefitted from our industry breadth.” Semcon also has significant expertise in estimations. There the company can take on everything from current and resistance estimations of massive turbines to earthquake analyses for nuclear power plants. “Our calculations group has a good reputation throughout Sweden, and it’s a skill that’s in demand in the energy industry where work is underway at facilities with extreme safety and quality demands.” Apart from the option of developing Semcon’s existing business, Lennart sees huge potential in the heated energy issues of the future. “Work with alternative energy sources will involve a lot of work for a long time to come because it won’t be an issue of a single technological solution but many. In addition there is a clear downside to energy use and that is CO2 emissions, which will also require its solutions.” 1 futu r e by semcon 1.2009 1.2008


facts Age: 46. Title: Senior process

designer, process & plant design.

Kontor: Semcon Göteborg.

rying out. And you should preferably look at the entire chain, all the way to the construction of energy-efficient equipment and reliable control systems to get the best result.”

Lotta Örnros’ energy investigations save customers’ money.

Lotta Örnros optimizes energy solutions

It pays to optimize your energy use. Lotta Örnros carries out energy investigations to find out how to save energy and money and care for the environment. text katarina misic photo nicke johansson


nergy saving has become a central issue of late, but in many industries it’s been an issue they’ve been working on for many years. Process designer Lotta Örnros has analyzed energy use for countless oil, refinery and petrochemical customers in her 20 years in the industry. “My job is to give customers the best technical solution for the lowest possible cost and ensure that energy is used efficiently. Our customers in this industry 14

futu r e by semcon 1.2009 1.2008

use energy-demanding processes where there’s lots of money to be saved by carrying out energy investigations. An important aspect is also to care for the environment.” Lotta and her colleagues work in various ways to find the optimum energy balance through comprehensive energy and technology investigations of existing facilities or in project form for new facilities. The department has extensive expertise

in process design, tubing and mechanical construction, electrical and automation solutions, heat and ventilation systems. There are many ways to investigate and map out energy-solving factors, but the first step is to know what the various energy flow look like. “It’s not easy to optimize energy flows. You first of all need an overall picture before you can start weighing up what actions and investments are worth car-

In the oil, refinery and petrochemical industry there are major flows, volumes, high pressures and temperatures. Heat is required, for example, to pump viscous oil, which costs money but which also generates surplus heat that can be reused to heat offices or housing in the vicinity of the plant. It can also be a matter of finding an optimum energy balance. “We recently worked on a project in Göteborg docks where we looked at how to optimize flows of hot water in oil cisterns. Loops are used at the bottom of the cisterns to heat the oil in order for it to be pumped, but it’s a costly process.” The department looked more closely at how the oil behaved when exposed to different flows of hot water. We also discovered that almost 40 per cent of the energy could be saved if we improved the insulation around the cisterns. The experience the department has obtained from the process industry is also benefitting more of the other industries that Semcon works with, such as the offshore, power and energy industries. “Semcon’s strength lies mainly in the transfer of knowledge we can take with us between different industries, but also that we are competent at managing entire undertakings. Our expertise helps customers achieve the best, optimum alternatives.” 1

Denmark 3.1 GW United Kingdom 2.0 GW

Germany 20.6 GW

France 1.6 GW

USA 11.6 GW

Italy 2.1 GW Portugal 1.7 GW Spain 11.6 GW China 2.6 GW India 6.3 GW

The world’s ten largest wind power markets Installed capacity 2006

are being built, but this places new demands, because it causes so many rapid variations in electricity production. We therefore need improved planning models to maintain a balance between electricity use and production,” explains to Lina. A phrase that often crops up in conversation

about future energy networks is smart grids. The term is not clearly defined but usually refers to IT-permeated electrical energy systems that generally look after themselves and regulate, optimize, and detect faults while shutting down when necessary. “That’s how our systems already work. But we need to upgrade them so they work as well together with the more complex energy production of the future. People usually ask me if it gets complicated. From a component-technical perspective developments are heading more towards simplicity: smaller and fewer components, with more integrated functions.” “The new grids will provide greater potential for smarter electricity use in the future,” says Lina. “Balance in electricity systems is currently carried out mostly on the production side and there’s a lot to be gained from optimizing the user side to maintain an even stress on the grid. And the better one can match electricity production with electricity use the fewer losses will be recorded. I believe we will see a lot of developments in future in terms of applications, statistical methods and regulations and optimization models for planning operation. We have the technology and it’s now time to get everything to work together.”

There is significant potential for savings to be made in the electricity grid. On a global scale new, more effective electrical energy systems could cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2 GT of CO2 equivalents by 2020, according to a report issued by The Climate Group and analysts from McKinsey in 2008. Grid losses in the electrical energy system in Sweden are around 12 TWh per year (of 146 TWh), according to Lina. That’s more than six times the country’s overall wind power production in 2008. “Sweden’s electrical energy system is characterized by transfers from production in the north to consumption in the south, which explains why we comparatively have high losses,” she says. One way of cutting energy losses over long distances is to transfer at higher voltage levels and use High Voltage Direct Current. “HVDC would be more effective by using less space and fewer materials compared to transferring the same output using high voltage alternating current,” she summarizes. So far the areas of use of HVDC have been limited to long-distance point-to-point transfers, because DC is more difficult to handle in a grid network than AC. “Exciting things are happening now though in this area,” she says. “Svenska Kraftnät is investing in the Sydvästlänken project, which is a DC system where it’s possible to control the output and link new production and branches the grid. If this works well there will be a lot of international interest.” Achievements in DC transfer play an im-

portant role in the location of future electricity production. The best conditions for land-based wind and solar energy are usually in deserts and wild areas where the sun beats down, the wind blows, the land costs almost nothing and no arable or grazing land needs to be taken into consideration. These locations however are usually far from densely populated areas. “There’s enough wind power in the American mid-west to produce at least four times as much electricity as the US uses,” says Thomas B Johansson. “Sure, it’s a long way to the coasts where most electricity is used, but as soon as the cables are laid you’ve solved a great deal of the energy problem.” “We’ve basically got access to renewable energy sources like wind and sun in abundance that we would never need worry that it’ll run out,” he says. A common example is that solar energy from a fraction of the Sahara could supply the whole of Europe with electricity. The need for more research and development in renewable energy is often underlined. It’s difficult not to agree, but the statement can often lead to the conclusion that the energy technologies of the future aren’t ready for use yet, which is completely false, says Thomas. Even though we can expect significant continued progress in energy research it must be stated that it’s already delivering the goods. A number of mature, commercially viable technologies are at our disposal. It’s now time to implement – that’s the real energy challenge. 1 futu r e by semcon 1.2009


Focus: Energy challenge

New life for hot water Hydroelectric power, which is the oldest way of producing electrical energy, is now hotter than ever. In Sweden it’s a case of looking after small power stations built more than a century ago. Together with Semcon, the energy company Fortum is giving hydroelectric power a new lease of life. text olle hernegren photo øyvind lund, getty images


futu r e by semcon 1.2009

futu r e by semcon 1.2009


Focus: Energy challenge


he Nordic energy company Fortum is keenly aware of the truth in the saying “every little helps.” The company runs and owns all or parts of 260 hydroelectric power stations in Sweden and Finland, some built more than a century ago on small watercourses. Each hydroelectric power station provides a small amount of output, but together they represent 37 per cent of Fortum’s total electricity production. But 120 years after the expansion of the Swedish hydroelectric industry the electricity industry is now facing new challenges. The need for electrical energy is increasing, while options for building new power stations in Sweden is very limited. Many of the alternatives are controversial from an environmental perspective. It’s then important to manage the hydroelectric resources that exist, by extending their longevity and increasing energy output. The basic technology is the same as a century ago. A turbine is driven by the flow of water from a dammed watercourse. The turbine drives a generator that provides electrical energy via a distribution plant with transformers and equipment for connecting to the national grid. The entire plant is monitored by a system for controlling and steering. The entire chain can be improved, which will lead to greater electrical output, increased energy production and longer life expectancy for the plant. Peter Blomberg is project manager at Fortum

Services and manages projects that constantly work with these improvements. “We work with rolling ten-year plans and every autumn plan in detail the following year’s project,” says Peter. “We carry out an inspection of a power station every 20 years or so. Turbines, generators and control systems are upgraded and the


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electrical system is reviewed. We’re currently in the final phase of a project for a new control system for the power station in Fensbol, where we’re working with Semcon.” Fortum Generation is the Group’s power production company and owns all or parts of 211 hydroelectric power stations in Sweden. Most are in mid-Sweden and of these twelve are in Norsälven’s tributaries in central Värmland. Fensbol is one of these. The power station’s two generators were installed in 1963. When the facility is fully operational 15,000 litres of water per second pass through the turbines, but the turbines are now idle. Anders Axelsson and Johan Nolander from Semcon in Karlstad are helping to install a new system for monitoring and controlling the facility. “We have an established concept and don’t need to construct solutions from the beginning, but use existing solutions adapted to this station,” says Johan, an experienced electro engineer who’s on his first assignment for Semcon. Everything needs to be ready tomorrow for a week’s trial run. The station will run at full capacity and the system’s functions will be tested at Fortum’s monitoring station in Sveg for the regulation of the turbines’ speed, how much water the intake hatches let in, cooling pumps, ventilation and lubrication of bearings. “A new control system doesn’t improve the output of a facility. But by improving control we can improve the utilization ratio and produce more energy per year,” says Peter Blomberg. One example he gives is the opportunities to improved level regulation in the dam. The water’s potential energy is utilized better if you can keep the water level higher and thereby gain drop height. The number of internal faults that trigger false alarms drops, leading to fewer unnecessary call-outs. “In addition the facility becomes safer using modern relay protectors. They detect whether electricity or voltage is wrong and disconnect the faulty section of the facility from the

Hölje’s power station is the most northern in Klarälven. Together with smaller power stations, like in Fensbol, hydroelectric power represents 37 per cent of Fortum’s electricity production.

Peter Blomberg

Age: 47. Title: Project manager, Fortum Services. Office: Fortum Karlstad.

Gรถran Urby

Age: 45. Title: Head of Hydro power Services. Office: Semcon Karlstad.

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foKus: Energy challenge

“Small-scale electricity production with power stations producing under 1.5 megawatts should definitely be factored in.” Peter Blomberg, project manager, Fortum Services

electricity grid before more damage is caused, roughly like an earth fault breaker. This reduce the risk of injury for operational staff and damage to machinery, while the need for inbuilt halogen fire protection inside the generators disappears. Introducing the new control systems, along with relay protection, generator magnetization, electrical work, documentation and training is an SEK 3.5 million investment. In ten years, according to plans, generators and turbines will need renovating, which is a major undertaking and will cost between SEK 10-15 million. Guidelines are in place in Sweden for how dam safety is formulated, which includes evaluating the consequences of a breach to the dam. The guidelines also state how the dam should be constructed, and how monitoring and control should be managed. The new control system helps to meet the demands, including level controls and automatic opening 20

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of the outlet gates that tap off the reservoir when necessary. Semcon’s collaboration with Fortum began about ten years ago when the energy company decided to outsource some of its business for control systems. Ten or so individuals now work at Semcon in Karlstad with installations for control systems. “Our main concept for a hydroelectric power station is complete control equipment that builds on a number of industrial PLC computers. It also includes electrical construction for the station, including everything from lighting to pumps, motors and dam gates,” says Göran Urby, head of Hydro Power Services at Semcon’s office in Karlstad. With a ten-year relationship with a customer to fall back on makes it easier when it’s time for a new project. Semcon has worked with Fortum on around 10 different projects, the major ones take around a year and a half and

the smaller ones take around six months. “The projects are complex because there are many partners involved – Fortum, Semcon, suppliers of generators and turbines and assembly. Knowing what procurement, requirement specifications and projects look like is naturally valuable for us and Fortum. We quite simply learn more about the customer,” says Göran. Not many industries have such a major range between large and small players as electrical energy producers. The power station in Fensbol, with its output of 3.2 megawatts and annual production of 12.5 gigawatt hours is thereby a small producer in this industry. But Fensbol is one of many, because there are hundreds of small and mid-sized stations in Värmland. They were nearly all built in the early to mid 20th century on one of the many smaller watercourses in Sweden. They are still powerful producers of electrical energy with efficiency of around 90 per cent.

Semcon equips hydroelectric power stations with complete control equipment that improves efficiency and provides an increased annual production.

“Small-scale electricity production with power stations producing under 1.5 megawatts should definitely be factored in,” says Peter Blomberg. Small-scale electricity production is an old phenomenon, but in the mid 20th century, during the major expansion of large-scale hydroelectric power and nuclear power in Sweden, thousands of small power stations closed. Power stations of that size can once again have a positive future. “The technology exists and the products will come, it’s then a matter of building the infrastructure with the plant and distribution lines to the ordinary grid,” says Göran Urby. At the other end of the scale is cutting-edge technology like HVDC, High Voltage Direct Current. Distributing electricity as DC is not new, but the technology is constantly being developed. The benefits of a grid with 800 kilovolts

of DC compared to 400 kilovolts of AC is that output losses are reduced and that distribution can be carried out via underground or underwater cables. HVDC is an alternative that would mainly be for long-distance supplies and when you want to link up to other grids. Fortum Generation is also looking forward to new production forms. The company is researching wave power in association with Uppsala University and has started plans for its own wind farms. “The fact is that the greater share of electricity from wind turbines is increasing the value of hydroelectric power,” says Peter Blomberg. “Producing electricity in wind farms can suddenly stop, quite simply because there is no wind. Other energy sources are then necessary that can bridge the gap and stabilize the frequency in the grid. Producing nuclear powered electricity is laborious, so it’s only hydroelectric power that’s flexible enough to momentarily adapt production to requirements.


More efficient hydroelectric power stations

It’s possible to improve access and the efficiency of hydroelectric power stations by: 3 Using modern contro systems that improve monitoring and safety. 3 Renovate or exchange turbines and generators . 3 Improve the flow in the watercourses.

Göran Urby also sees experience from control systems for hydroelectric power stations as an opportunity to access other areas of the energy industry. “Control equipment doesn’t just exist in hydroelectric power stations, it’s available in nuclear power and wind farms, and control is also needed in distribution networks. So there are opportunities and definitely a market for this expertise that Semcon’s built up. 1 futu r e by semcon 1.2009


The solution How Semcon solved the client’s assignment

Doublefunction gun The challenge: Industrial supplier Luna

wanted to create a unique cleaner gun for industrial environments with both suction and blow functions. Semcon was assigned to design the concept and supply 2,000 complete pistols. The solution: The first challenge was to

find a technical solution for using compressed air to operate the gun to enable it to suck up and blow dust and rubbish from around the workplace. The gun would also receive a more aesthetic and ergonomic appearance. Semcon worked in parallel to design the technical solution and the new design. The design and function was approved quickly thanks to own prototype workshop and toolmakers. Progress was then made with the design of the plastic tool for producing the plastic details. The result: The clever Luna Cleaner Gun

with both suction and blow functions is unique on the world market. 22

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Correctly dimensioned nozzle The black nozzle is a suction pipe and underneath is a blowpipe. The challenge with the suction pipe was to give it the correct dimensions, with a sufficiently large opening to suck up dirt particles, but also have enough suction power.

Handle provides double function The suction and blow functions are regulated by the trigger on the handle. Press it half way and it’s a vacuum cleaner and press it fully and it becomes a blowpipe. The gun runs on compressed air where the well thought-out technical solution makes it possible to combine two functions in one product.

Standardized and hangable The Luna Cleaner Gun has a standardized air connector. It’s supplied with vacuum cleaner bags and can be easily accessed and hung away with the help of a hook.

Grip-friendly and smart Luna Cleaner Gun has been made grip-friendly and smart by designing models at the start of the project that were easy to machine and mill. When one model remained it was coated in order to better see and feel the finished product.

Solid and easy to produce The product should feel solid and well made and breathe quality. The challenge was also to make the product easy to manufacture and assemble. Toolmakers were brought in at an early stage into the project in order to avoid problems in terms of the plastic tools and assembly.

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Q&A pernilla jonsson Future analyst

Recession means a drop in consumption and bankruptcies. But bad times also bring opportunities. Those investing in product development can come out of the crisis as winners. “It’s a matter of having new stars to launch at the right time,” says future analyst, Pernilla Jonsson. text christofer brask photo thron ullberg


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rises not only bring problems, they also bring opportunities. Pernilla Jonsson is living proof of this. She worked in the IT industry in the boom years around the millennium. When the IT bubble burst she decided to return to academia and do her doctorate in environmental consumerism. “The reaction was: Good God! How can you write about consumers who don’t want to consume? Are you mad?” My completed doctorate was published in 2006 just as everyone started becoming interested in the environment. Timing is just as important when dealing with product development. It’s not good

enough just launching a technically complete product - if it’s not up to consumers’ requirements then it won’t be successful on the market anyway. “It’s a question of being first as the need arises. Now is the right time to review innovation portfolios,” says Pernilla. She now works for consultancy firm Kairos Future, as head of the Consumer, Marketing & Innovation department. “Consumers, market and innovation are traditionally three areas that are far apart from one another. Product development has been driven by technology and is technology intensive. What’s happened is that we are now living in a news-driven economy of excess with a vast selection of products and services that it’s no longer sufficient to have the best quality or lowest price. You need to look at innovations from a consumer perspective. Innovation works

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Q&A pernilla jonsson Future analyst

“A recession not only causes worry in the form of financial problems but also a mental shift among consumers.” Pernilla Jonsson, future analyst , Kairos Future

best when you combine technical expertise with consumer and market expertise,” says Pernilla. Kairos Future uses a method called Trend and Innovation Management Process, Trim. Studies are carried out of what changes around the world that companies should take account of when developing new products. This process is more important than ever during a recession, according to Pernilla. “Every company needs to put the brakes on in a recession, but there’s a risk that they brake too hard and cut away vital aspects. It’s dangerous, because the market landscape changes substantially during a recession. It’s also easier to cut costs for innovation processes because there’s less competition for resources. It also becomes cheaper to develop new marketing campaigns, cheaper to buy media space etc.” You’re saying then that we should invest our way out of crisis? “Yes. A clear example is Apple, which was hit hard in the IT crisis in 2001. Despite the company’s profits falling by 33 per cent it increased investments by 13 per cent. This led to Apple being able to launch iTunes in 2003 and the iPod Mini and iPod Photo in 2004, which led to a period of rapid expansion for the company. Apple’s history also shows that it’s important to carry out research in order to invest in the right things. Their innovations are revolutionary at a basic level.” How is consumers’ behaviour affected during a recession, apart from cutting back on spending? “A recession not only causes worry in the form of financial problems but also a mental shift among consumers. Not just from luxury consumerism to budget consumerism, but crises also affect our view of the world. We are now seeing a huge shift in how we look at 26

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credit if things go really bad. Companies then It’s also important to invest in major innovaneed to be prepared: What happens when tions that really have a market. According to people start cutting back on consumer credit? the Harvard Business Review some major inHow does it affect us? How should we change novations in companies’ innovation portfolios our setup? Ever since General Electric started have fallen from 20.4 per cent to 11.5 per cent financing their customers’ refrigerator purcha- between 1993 and 2004. We’re seeing a falses the company has worked with this type of ling share of really revolutionary innovations, solution for attracting revenue. It’s actually which is a risk. The system can get blocked up significant that General Electric hatched the with small product development that use up idea about financing during the depression far too many resources.” What’s a “major” product development of the 1930s, which is what a recession is all then? about, discovering opportunities that lie hid“That one does more than just change the den in various kinds of change.” Might companies’ target groups change as a size of an existing product. The packaging can result of the crisis? also be revolutionary – bag in box as an alter“Yes, it’s possible. From a global perspecnative to a wine bottle is a prime example.” How can we come up with revolutionary tive different markets are affected in different ways. But the crisis is hitting different markets ideas? “You need to get to know your consumer. in different ways. In the US, states like CaliWe use ethnographical methods, observe and fornia, Arizona and Michigan have been hit speak to consumers in their environments. hard by the financial crisis in terms of consuWe allow for example consumers to document mer credit, but it hasn’t affected other states their daily lives in different as hard. So there are extremely ways, with video cameras different conditions in different facts or mobile phones, and then states for selling products. If analyze the results. If you you look at demographic groups Pernilla Jonsson combine this with quanthe crisis is also different on Age: 36. tative studies, preferably different markets. In countries Lives: Saltsjö-Boo outside with information from the where people born in the 40s Stockholm. Family: Married with one child. company’s own databases, have a lot of their pension in Job: Head of Consumer, Markeyou get a robust combinashares many have seen their ting & Research department at tion of consumer inforpension savings halve over the Kairos Future. mation. This can help you past year. This can make a segQualifications: Graduate in business administration and come up with bigger innoment that’s traditionally been managerial economics from vations, but also to examine seen as being quite prosperous the University of Gothenburg their market potential.” now not so prosperous.” School of Business, Economics Can you give us any “Companies must go in and Law. examples of products that and carefully study what their Listens to: My Ipod. Reads: “Thomas Johansson’s lahave come about in this geographic customer segments test book Makovermani: about way? look like. If they don’t then Dr Phil, plastic surgery and the “Electrolux has carried neither can they choose what illusion of the perfect me.” out many studies. They innovations to go ahead with.

3 1

consumer trends during the recession:


“In worrying times it’s typical to turn to inward instead of outward activities. People choose to stay at home to a greater extent. Even if we have money we’re not as willing to part with it.”


luxury is out


the new car can wait

“Young professional people in cities like London and New York have been the driving forces for luxury. Many of these individuals are now being affected by the financial crisis and are cutting back on the amount of luxury items being bought. Instead people are choosing, if they can afford it, to create time where they can enjoy things together.” “People are cutting back on new investments. If people have already decided to renovate their kitchens or buy a new car then they might go ahead with it. But that’s it. Even people who are well off are considering their new investments.”

found out that families no longer clean their homes once a week as has been traditional, and rather clean a little every day. This discovery led to Ergo Rapido, a good looking vacuum cleaner that you leave out rather than putting away in a cupboard. It doesn’t need to clean the whole house, just pick up the mess as it is made. Volvo Trucks has also worked on studies to create a better day-to-day environment in their cabs for the truck drivers.” The car industry is not only affected by the financial crisis, but also by demands for more eco-friendly cars. Are fuel-efficient cars attractive in times of crisis? “Yes. But when it comes to cars it’s not only how efficient they are but also the total cost. People try and buy cars they can afford so that the loan isn’t too expensive.” In times of business prosperity buying luxury goods is a mass trend. Is this just a one-off occurrence or will it repeat itself when we exit the crisis? “It depends. We’re seeing a clear mental shift in this recession: the US will no longer be the obvious, financially dominant global

power. We’ll see China take over. China will affect us in one way or another. We either start looking at what they’re doing or we might possibly be anti-China. The Chinese people are very materialistic. They want a Porsche, an expensive apartment and anything that’s expensive, which isn’t strange considering the structure in their society. Material luxury becomes very important when you’ve experienced material poverty. Luxury is not defined as an excess, which one might think, but as the opposite of what you have a lack of. In the west luxury is increasingly synonymous with time. That’s what the wealthy middle class in the west has the biggest lack of.” Is there anything that flourishes during a recession? “Yes. Food is a prime example. Sweets are another. During recessions people tend to stay at home more and enjoy a nice meal with the family instead of dining out. Ikea is a typical recession company – they’ll continue doing well and will win over the consumers that previously bought more expensive furniture.” When the financial crisis struck the US, the

coffee shop chain Starbucks got an unexpected sales success with porridge. Can you think of anything similar happening in any other industry? “During hard times we often revert back to real things, to simple things. People have started eating hotdogs instead of fancy threecourse meals. The simple and the real is possibly things we experienced in our childhood, when everything was simple and uncomplicated – like picnics in the forest.” Can a recession ever lead to anything good? “Absolutely. There are always positive things that come out of such a transition. Look at the IT crisis, and the hype surrounding that. But a lot of what people dreamed about then has become reality today. In terms of innovations we have no idea what will come from this. For manufacturing companies the question is how to capture the mental shift that’s underway. Do your homework, find a few diamonds that you think can be polished, which will lead to a good level of preparedness. It’s a question of not standing too much on the leeward side of the crisis.” 1 futu r e by semcon 1.2009


The Ocean’s Rolls-Royce

The world’s best propellers are produced in Kristinehamn in Värmland, Sweden. Rolls-Royce’s innovative products can now be found in everything from military vessels and high-speed ferries to luxury cruise ships and private yachts. Rolls-Royce and Semcon are together constantly pushing the boundaries of development. text josefin ekman photo øyvind lund, cunard line


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Around 30,000 vessels in operation are equipped with Rolls-Royce Marine’s propulsion systems. futu r e by semcon 1.2009


he noise is deafening inside the 12,000 sq/m production hall at Rolls-Royce Marine in Kristinehamn. It’s just past 12 noon and most people have just left for lunch in the dining hall two doors away, but a few machinists are still working on their milling machines, which make the entire hall vibrate. Hub shells of more than a metre in diameter are stacked on pallets. They’ve just been machined so the nickel-aluminium bronze is gleaming like gold. They’ll soon be assembled with the two-metre long propeller blades in the adjacent hall, before being tested and shipped to the end-customer. Since the move to bigger premises in 2002 Rolls-Royce Marine now makes propellers, water jet systems and pods here. The water jet units waiting in line for assembly will be fitted to the EUR 100 million class luxury yachts in six weeks time. But we’re also standing in the heart of production for marine Rolls-Royces. Rolls-Royce is now one of the world’s most well-known brands. But the once British car manufacturer doesn’t just produce one of the world’s most expensive cars (the car manufacturer was bought by BMW in 1998). Instead it’s in vessel propulsion systems that RollsRoyce is now a successful world leader. The marine division stands for a quarter of the Group’s sales and also includes business in the aviation and energy industries. They can thank a company from Värmland 30

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for their success. Fifty-five years before RollsRoyce was founded in 1904, railway manufacturer Christinehamns Mekaniska Verkstad started in Värmland. The company initially manufactured steam engines, but went over to producing water turbines in 1875 and later even propellers. In 1980, the same year the company changed name to Kamewa, the first water jet was introduced onto the market and 18 years later the first pod system. Rolls-Royce bought the company in 2000. “The Kamewa brand, formed from the two first letters of each word of the original company name, is still more highly regarded on the global marine market than Rolls-Royce,” says Björn ten Eicken, department manager for the contract division at Rolls-Royce Marine. The idyllic setting alongside Sweden’s biggest lake, Vänern, is appreciated by the employees, but many customers are more skeptical. “Because we’re situated inland there’s no opportunity for sea-going transport here, which can make it difficult for heavy shipments. A single shipment can weigh as much as 70 tonnes, which is too heavy to be transported by road. Instead we have to supply the order in sections and assemble it on site. This is something that some foreign customers find hard to understand the logic in,” says Christer Engman, group manager at Semcon in Karlstad and project manager contracted by RollsRoyce Marine’s contract division for the past seven years. In 2003 Rolls-Royce Marine evaluated its busi-

ness and chose to outsource certain sections

Christer Engman Age: 42. Title: Project manager and group manager. Office: Semcon Karlstad.

Bjรถrn ten Eicken

Age: 35. Title: Department manager for the contract division. Company: Rolls-Royce Marine in Kristinehamn.

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Of the 8,000 or so employees at Rolls-Royce Marine around 450 are located at the division in Kristinehamn.

“It’s possible in principle to parallel park a cruise liner using pods.” Christer Engman, project manager, Semcon

of production – like some manufacturing - in order to concentrate on what it’s best at: vessels’ propulsion systems. Around 30,000 vessels in operation are equipped with Rolls-Royce Marine’s propulsion systems. The biggest product area in terms of volume today is adjustable stern propellers, followed by water jet systems and pod systems. The products are mainly used on cruise liners, luxury yachts, merchant vessels, ferries and military vessels throughout the world. The company has service units in 34 countries providing maintenance to its 2,300 customers. The international customer list is also felt by the employees at the plant in Kristinehamn with service engineers clocking up almost 200 days of travel a year. Rolls-Royce Marine’s development of water jet systems has been a prerequisite for producing high-speed ferries. The system is currently in operation on the Hawaiian Express, which operates between the Hawaiian islands and on the Stena Carisma, which operates on the Göteborg-Fredrikshamn route. Water jet is one of the most common forms of vessel propulsion and is built on a unit 32

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directing a jet of water aft, which propels the vessel forwards at the desired speed. Thanks to a foldable scoop directing the jet forwards the vessel can also reverse or stop over a very short distance. Because the system is situated on the waterline nothing protrudes under the hull, meaning it can navigate even in shallow water and is safer for its surroundings. The biggest area for the water jet system is however for large luxury yachts, often in the EUR 100 million class. “I know for example that Berlusconi has a yacht with Rolls-Royce Marine’s products and that Mermaid pods on the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner are from here,” says Christer Engman. Pod systems work similarly to water jets and mean that thanks to the variable assembly that the vessel doesn’t need a rudder to maneuver. “It’s possible in principle to parallel park a cruise liner using pods,” says Christer. The global economy with major fluctuations in oil prices has naturally also affected the marine sector and accelerated initiatives for more fuel-efficient, eco-friendly products. Constant product development today is a condition for being able to remain part of the competition. Rolls-Royce Marine is therefore investing

heavily on improvements and is now the only manufacturer in the world with its own testing tunnel in its laboratory. The hydrodynamic laboratory has also played an important role in making products world leading. The service and spare parts aftermarket is important for Rolls-Royce. Meanwhile the marine sector is strongly opposed to change. “Because we’re dealing with huge products and investments, few are willing to take the risk that new developments involve. Tried and tested is often considered best. This isn’t an industry where customers demand a new model every year,” says Björn ten Eicken. Because most products are used underwater there isn’t the need to make them look good, but rather how they’re used that governs the design: the vessel’s estimated top speed, fuel consumption and vibration. But there is a detail that makes Rolls-Royce Marine’s propellers unique: the rose pattern that the company’s engineers polish in by hand. “After the propellers come from the foundry a milling machine mills away the outer layer before being hand polished with rotary polishing machines that create the special pattern.

It’s easy to recognize a Rolls-Royce Marine propeller by its unique rose pattern that’s polished by hand.

This means that customers immediately recognize Rolls-Royce Marine propellers,” says Björn. Björn ten Eicken’s and Christer Engman’s job is to work with the contract from beginning to end and ensure that the company delivers quality products at the right price and on time. “We’re responsible right until the product is fitted to the vessel and it’s only then that our work is completed,” says Björn. In recent years the environment has played an increasing role in the company. This is seen in the optimizing of the production process, or clean design, which safeguards that the end product doesn’t leak oil and that we sort waste at source at our facilities. “The pressure for more eco-friendly products doesn’t just come from end customers, but also from shipping companies who don’t want vessels that leak oil into their ports,” he says. Delivery times in the past were our biggest challenge but now it’s the financial crisis that’s affecting production the most. Rolls-Royce Marine has chosen to meet the challenge with the help of consultants who

can be brought in when there’s extra need for expertise. “This industry is far more exposed to competition than it was 20 years ago. At that time there was closer contact between producer and end customer and a contract could be drawn up on a serviette over dinner,” he says. 20 engineers from Semcon now work at RollsRoyce Marine, mainly on the contract department, but also with product development and compiling installation and user manuals. “It’s sometimes difficult to recruit the right expertise at the right time. It’s also timeconsuming recruiting staff. We’ve chosen to develop our business rather that spending resources on recruiting. Thanks to Semcon we’ve been able to develop the company and our products,” says Björn. The biggest challenge for Semcon has been to develop the collaboration with Rolls-Royce Marine so that the company sees added value in bringing in consultants. This has tried to be solved by providing new angles of approach and opportunities to develop existing solutions. On Christer Engman’s desk is an order for a propeller that needs to be 8.3 metres in diame-

ter, which is the sixth largest Kamewa propeller ever made. The customer is one of the world’s biggest shipyards in South Korea. The propeller will later be fitted to a 280-metre long freight vessel able to carry 162,000 tonnes of cargo. “The challenge of this project is to get a design that will enable the vessel to maintain the correct speed, keep fuel consumption to a minimum and that the propeller moves well through the water with the least amount of vibration and cavitation. Transporting it from Kristinehamn to Korea is also a challenge, both in terms of dimensions and weight,” says Christer. Like in many other propeller projects Semcon’s job is to manage the customer order project with the technical and commercial responsibility internally and towards the customer, to prepare the mechanical extent of delivery and carry out 3D models and 2D drawings for production using the NX drawing tool, plus compile installation and user manuals. “It’s important that the manufacturing data is right from the start. The size and lead times of the details in order to produce the products means that any inaccuracies become very costly,” he says. 1 futu r e by semcon 1.2009


Semcon brains text Andreas utterström, katarina misic, therese larsson photo thron ullberg, nicke johansson, karsten thormaehlen

“That employees feel part of the process is good for the working environment.” 34

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Process expert

Stefan Qvarnström, Senior consultant, 45, Semcon, Stockholm

Many companies who want to rationalize production make employees redundant. But there are other ways. Stefan Qvarnström works with daily production control and visual planning at AstraZeneca in Södertälje. His job is what’s called lean thinking. As consultant he manages the daily business with the aim of getting production lines to work technically better. “The technology team meets three times a day for review. Work is set out and everyone is assigned a tasks. This is then constantly followed up via our visual planning boards,” he says. Stefan means that clear communication is the key. “Everyone must have the same understanding of challenges and solutions, otherwise various interpretations spread.” The automotive industry is advanced in lean thinking, while the pharmaceutical industry woke up to the idea later. “At its best there wasn’t anyone who asked if work could be carried out more effectively, but there is that need today because the major pharmaceutical companies are being challenged by generic manufacturers from low income countries.” Stefan sees many benefits from this working method. “At the departments where most progress has been made time is being put aside where the employees are given the opportunity to work with their own improvement proposals. That employees feel part of the process is good for the working environment.”

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Semcon brains


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Roof panel expert Samuel de Matos, 34, sub-project manager for roof-linings, Semcon, Bad Friedrichshall Samuel de Matos probably thinks about car roofs more than ordinary people. Samuel’s job as sub-project manager for roof linings in Bad Friedrichshall in Germany is to ensure that roof linings are as safe as possible for passengers. “If a car crashes you invariably hit your head on the roof-lining. My job is to make sure that the impact is as kind as possible. Requirements state that for speeds of up to 30 kmh passengers should be completely unharmed,” says Samuel. The primary solution is foam because it’s cheapest and weighs least. Then come various mixes of artificial materials and then thin sheets of metal. Each choice of material is decided upon carefully and in these times of crisis the focus has intensified on finding the cheapest possible solution. Working with roof linings also involves a great deal of precision work. “The roof lining needs to conceal all electronics, and extra equipment like cameras and motion detectors, as well as protecting passengers. It’s a matter of millimetres.” The challenge involved with roof-linings keeps Samuel busy, combined with his MBA, which he’s taking in Vienna with Semcon’s help. “Many people don’t appreciate the complexity of working with roof-linings. On the surface, every roof lining looks similar, but if you’re in a crash you’ll be glad of our ingenuity.”

Product information expert Caroline Bramklev, 34, Configuration Manager, Semcon, Göteborg

Caroline Bramklev knows more about products than most people. As configuration manager she breaks down the structures of products into their smallest component parts – in order to maximize valuegenerating information use in a product’s lifecycle. “My job makes it possible for companies to develop, manufacture

and maintain their products faster, cheaper and at a higher quality. By controlling the product information in documentation of the product’s lifecycle, from idea to recycling, you not only transfer the right knowhow, you can also better steer where you’re heading in the future,” she says. All products must be registered and a product must be described in detail

in all documentation, whether it’s for requirement and design specifications or installation guides and user manuals. “An important balancing act is not to sub-optimize by over-documentation. Balanced configuration control supports projects and project management and makes the company competitive. In the best case

scenario a configuration manager acts as a bridge between supplier and customer, between the present and the future.” “It’s great fun pushing the boundaries of technical development, such as making a circuit board in a mobile phone smaller in order to be launched onto the market in two years time,” she says.

futu r e by semcon 1.2009




futu r e by semcon 1.2009

One of the world’s biggest robot manufacturers, Motoman of Japan, wanted to design a joint web platform for its European business. Semcon-owned interactive firm Zooma was assigned to design a prominent web concept. text Tobias hammar photo NIcke johansson, Christoph maderer, motoman

M – for an outsider it looks obvious. But ask any of the people involved and they’ll tell you that it took months of hard work and demanding deadlines to come up with the internet address. Or as Kajsa Pettersson, Motoman’s European marketing manager puts it: “I’ve been totally focused on this for over a year and a half. It feels a little surreal now that the project is completed and the web platform is finally ready.” To understand the scope of the project we should remind you of the conditions. Motoman is the Japanese industrial Group Yaskawa Electric Corporation’s robot division, a company with over 8,000 employees and more than 200,000 industrial robots installed

globally and the world’s largest robot manufacturer. In 30 years or so the company in Europe has managed to establish itself as one of the continent’s leading players. The client list includes industrial companies and system integrators active in a vast number of sectors and industries. The need for a new, European web platform started taking shape in 2006 when they realized that years of rapid organic growth had splintered Motoman’s communication profile. “We were in a situation where our European markets had their own, local websites that were all different. Our vision was to create a joint European web platform showing a united front on the internet,” says Kajsa. In the spring and summer of 2006 Motoman therefore sent out an invitation to a

number of different European internet designers to construct the company’s new web platform. That the choice finally fell on Zooma was that Motoman wanted as much strategic expertise as possible for the project. “The basic requirement was to get a joint content management system, or a single trans-European internet presence. But it was then naturally important for us that the website would generate customers,” she says and continues: “Almost anyone can create a website, but not everyone can fill it with strategic content. We wanted a partner that could help us design something that was prominent on the market.” “Zooma was very good at presenting us with the solutions they could provide us. The futu r e by semcon 1.2009


Kajsa Pettersson

Martin Egerström

Age: 34. Title: Marketing manager, Motoman Europe. Office: Allershausen, just outside Munich in Germany.

Age: 36. Title: Project manager. Office: Zooma, Göteborg.

“Our vision was to create a joint European web platform showing a united front on the internet.” Kajsa Pettersson, marketing manager, Motoman Europe first thing that Zooma did was not surprising therefore when it created a web strategy for Motoman.” Zooma went more indepth into the issue of how to use the web platform in its business during a three-day workshop at Motoman’s Swedish office in Kalmar. Representatives from various parts of Motoman’s European organization were present. “What were the focus areas? What was the most important target group? How did they want to formulate the range? Starting with the strategic issues was an important impetus for the entire project. Because we also needed to join together Motoman’s different businesses under the same flag it was incredibly 40

futu r e by semcon 1.2009

important to get the entire company to adopt the same strategy,” says Martin Egerström, project manager at Zooma and in charge of the assignment. When the strategy work began to mature, stage two of the project got underway: customer interviews. Peter Ishii and Marie Matsson, creative director and interaction designer at Zooma respectively, started interviewing the chosen representatives for Motoman’s various target groups with the aim of finding out what requirements customers had for the web platform. When it was completed Zooma had the main ingredients for the new site: Motoman’s objectives and customer needs. This meant that everything was set up to start work on the site’s actual content.

“We started to construct all information that would be included on the site. We then came up with “wire frames”, which is the actual framework for the content where different boxes show where on the site the information about the company and its products should be. We then tested this against the target group. The feedback we received showed that we were on the right track,” says Martin. The actual design was then a chapter in itself. Because Motoman hadn’t had any uniform European web presence, there were no joint graphic guidelines to fall back on when designing the site. Zooma’s art director Jakob Åberg and Peter Ishii were able to use the information that arose during the collaboration thus far. They summarized the overall impression that Motoman wanted to convey on a “mood board”.

New to Work on Motoman’s website was carried out thoroughly, which resulted in success. Here are a few of the new functions available at

Robot selector is a visual presentation of Motoman’s range of robots. It captures the visitor’s eye and provides a functional overview of the products.

A dynamic section of the start page can be used for product launches and trade fairs. Here you can also highlight parts of the website that you want to direct activity to.

There is currently a main site, motoman. eu, and 11 domestic sites. The domestic sites are in the same template as the main site, but some of the content is adapted to the local markets.

3D drawings and brochures for download are presented in the right hand column. Alternative robots with the same payload and maximum reach are shown. Specific robots are presented with pictures, explanatory text and technical data.

“It’s a matter of capturing the express requirements and stuff that just fills the space between the lines in order to find the visual impression that will represent Motoman. We also came up with proposals that we checked with customers. The actual design was carried out at a comprehensive level, which then became more detailed,” says Martin. The design and how we expressed ourselves

in words were produced in parallel. All text on the website would be written by Zooma. When everything was ready and checked off the final phase of the actual web production got underway: to program the site. Using EPiServer, a system for web content management, Zooma’s programmers transformed the design and function specifications into functioning websites.

Proposals for relevant products are presented for each robot.

Text, pictures and other content were published on the new platform in autumn 2008. Motoman’s new website was complete: a joint English master site for the whole of Europe and 11 domestic sites in local languages with adapted content for the company’s local markets. Following a brief training course of the new tool Kajsa Pettersson’s team at Motoman could take over the management of the site themselves. The moment when the site could be introduced live to the internet came in November. “The actual final phase of the project was a very intense period. It was a real race against time to ensure that everything was in place and that no information had been left out,” says Kajsa. Her final impression is however very positive.

The bottom area should show why you should choose Motoman’s robots. Here for example you can focus on the primary target group, system integrators and Motoman’s range of solutions for arc welding.

“We’ve received very positive feedback so far, both internally and from customers. The site is seen as easily navigable and has a good, functional design. The links between the local sites mean that we quickly get an overview of what happens on the different markets. It’ll be great now to start working with constant updates so we keep everything up to date!” The collaboration with Motoman also meant new, valuable experience for Zooma. “It’s been a major project with lots of deliveries and many people involved. There were a few challenges during the project but we’re extremely please with the end result. Working so in-depth on strategic issues as we’ve done with Motoman always leads to developments, especially as there was no European profile to fall back on,” says Martin. 1 futu r e by semcon 1.2009


semcon update What’s going on in Semcon’s world

Personal lamps create unique relationships A lamp that’s curious and follows you around. Or a shy lamp that looks away when you get close. Semcon’s design business has together with advertising agency FutureLab tried to change our view of products and how they’re used in a unique project. The Relight > Relate project has produced a “family” of outdoor lighting where each lamp has a soul, personality and lighting character of its own. “We wanted to show that products don’t just need to consist of design, material and function. Adding behaviour to a product means that you can create a different kind of relationship to your customers. Products can be alive and extremely personal communicators,” says Pär Heyden, strategic designer at Semcon. Members of the Relight > Relate family consist of curious Miss Nosy, shy Shyanne, worried Afraido Jr and attention-seeking Loo Kat Mee, all with dif-


futu r e by semcon 1.2009

ferent personalities making them hard to resist. “There is an environmental background to our project. We want the user to form a relationship with the product, just like you would with a pet. It’s hard to resist the charm of a lamp like Shyanne and therefore users won’t be tempted to throw it away or exchange her for anything else,” says Pär. Lamps proved to be a pleasant product to research a number of design parameters for. But Pär also sees other products where we should dare to add character to the product. “Imagine a car that opens the door for you when you arrive with bags full of groceries or has heated itself up on a cold frosty morning ready to take you to work. Or a fridge that burps when the milk goes sour. Or an armchair that’s ticklish. There are endless opportunities to create a relationship between customer and brand,” he says. 1

Major investment in offshore

Semcon is now expanding its range to the offshore industry. Fifteen new specialists have been employed with expertise of accommodation modules for oilrigs and extensive experience of international projects. Semcon is opening a new office in Lidköping in conjunction with these new positions being formed where the company will also be working to secure more local customers in the energy and environment sectors.

New range for pharmaceuticals

Electric motorbike for women Even women should be able to find modern, stylish, functional motorbikes. That’s how designer Michael Hallgren at Semcon reasoned when he started sketching out an electric motorbike for women, a custom chopper. “It’s mainly men that ride motorbikes, but that’s more a result of the products not being designed for other target groups than because men want them more.” After carrying out a survey among women that ride and women that don’t ride motorbikes it was decided that storage

and safety were important factors. “That’s why we’ve added lots of storage. The sides are covered with neoprene for example and using a zip it can easily fit a laptop etc. It’s also possible to fix a handlebar basket.” Safety has been highlighted by making the vehicle more visible. A reflective material makes the motorbike more visible at night. The sound is also important. “An electric motorbike felt like an obvious alternative modern vehicle. We then added artificial noise that can be individually selected.”

The motorbike needed to be made more ergonomic in order to suit smaller people, and we needed to make it lighter, which was solved by making the frame out of carbon fibre. Another challenge was to have inbuilt practical functions and safety without making the motorbike boring. “Motorbikes are mainly a recreational vehicle, so it had to be fun and goodlooking. We wanted something that was eye-catching and I wouldn’t have anything against having more customers in the motorbike and moped market,” says Michael. 1

Semcon Project Management established in Berlin Semcon Project Management has formed a new company Semcon Project Management GmbH in Berlin through acquiring Triple Constraint. Apart from the ordinary range of training, consultancy services and PROPS V4 project method, we will also be able to provide the PRINCE2® project model. “With this establishment we want to position ourselves in Northern Europe, not only to strategically support our existing customers but also to create an improved platform to attract new customers,” says Patrik Bergström, President of Semcon Project Management. The acquisition is also an important phase of the strategy for internationalization. “The German market is very important and is very mature for our range. We hope that within a few years we’ll have become an established player in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Swit-

Semcon’s range to the pharmaceutical industry has been added to. The Pharma R&D department will provide expertise in the early phases of pharmaceutical development. “The objective is to provide services in pre-clinical pharmaceutical development with the help of senior consultants with cutting edge skills,” says department manager Katarina Beierlein.

Major assignment for Fortum

Semcon will install electricity and switchgear at a power station in Härjedalen, Sweden with an annual production capacity of 283 GWh on behalf of energy company Fortum. “It’s the biggest power station we’ve worked at and it gives us the opportunity to establish ourselves in a completely new division in terms of size of the assignment;” says Göran Urby, head of Hydro Power Service at Semcon’s office in Karlstad.

New office for Semcon in India

zerland. We’re also hoping to be able to support customers in other industries where Semcon is active to a greater extent, such as the automotive industry,” he says. 1

Semcon’s office in Bangalore is moving into new premises. The 30 employees today are a distance office to Semcon in Europe, mainly in construction and calculations. The new office enables the development of the satellite office for Semcon’s European customers. Business is also however being carried out on the local market, including crash-test analyses for the Indian electric car manufacturer Reva. futu r e by semcon 1.2009


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