Engineering a solution:Innovation is the key for Norway's problem-solvers

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” Albert Einstein once remarked. It is therefore important that Norway, long served by an inventive and inquisitive culture, can rely upon a whole group of companies that have carved out impressive niches in response to other companies’ problems and are ready to step in with new innovations for existing challenges.

The range of solutions is never less than impressive. Take Oswo AS, for example; Oswo was established as a subcontractor to the electronics industry. It operates within mechanical and electromechanical production and engineering, supplying Norwegian and international electronics, as well as defence and medical industries. Clients include Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, GE Medical (USA) and Ericsson Microwave Systems (Sweden). BEPA 3D engineering also provides high-quality solutions for its clients, offering, for example, the design and conceptualization of modifications to machines in the offshore, shipbuilding and even furniture industries. Tronrud AS’ many products include machinery for the mint industry and custom-designed industrial automation solutions – the list goes on, and adds to the impression that there is no problem that cannot be solved by this resourceful group of companies.
 
Intech – Providing Solutions for Serbian Telecommunications
Intech is a consultancy company working within telecommunications, information technology and broadcasting. Intech’s consultants are able to call on a broad background of experiences from many different aspects of telecom. “We have successfully completed in excess of 250 assignments in more than 30 countries,” says Intech’s Erik Lothe. “Our consultants are known as professional consultants with a high level of theoretical education, more than 10 years of experience and a high class of skill within their area,” he adds.
 
Currently benefiting from Intech’s expertise is EPS, Elektroprivreda Srbije, the public power supplier in Serbia. A new project by Intech is designed to build a high-capacity backbone transmission net, based on fibre on the high voltage net (OPGW) – an extensive mask net of SDH. The net is connected to all surrounding countries at STM 4 and STM 16 levels. A total of 3000 kilometres of fibre is installed and the result is a high density mesh of fibre backbone covering the whole of Serbia. The individual components of the project are SCADA based control of electrical production and distribution, an IP-PBX internal telephone system,
and LAN/WAN for administrative systems. Intech’s role is in project management and as technical advisor, participating in all the distinct phases of the project, including preparation of specifications, contract administration and project implementation.
 
The new net, which is to be used for internal tasks within power production, is vital for EPS’ future as it becomes privatized in 2009. The expectation is that a Telecom business unit will be able to use the net commercially. Intech’s solution has wider implications for the region, including the dissolution of the telecom monopoly in Serbia.
 

Intech has completed more than 250 assignments in 37 countries within the telecommunications, information technology and broadcasting industries. Currently, they are working on a project for EPS, Elektroprivreda Srbije (Serbia).
© Intech

 

 

SINTEF – Developing Cutting-edge Technology for Process Industries
The SINTEF group is the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia. Every year, it is estimated that thousands of companies are able to scale new heights and reach new markets worldwide as a result of the cutting edge technology and industry-specific solutions developed by SINTEF.
 
Gabriella Tranell (Ph.D) is Research Manager at SINTEF’s Materials and Chemistry division. She is not short of examples when it comes to those companies that SINTEF has helped. “We work closely with the metallurgical industry,” she says. “But we also work with a really wide range of technologies, used for example by the solar cell and medical
industries.”
 
SINTEF have a number of research laboratories in Trondheim and Oslo, equipped for research into process chemistry, polymer chemistry, biotechnology and environmental technology. The laboratories cover areas within the fields of measurements, testing, characterisation, and the lab-scale production of materials. Experiments, which normally cannot be carried out by companies within the industry themselves, are conducted here.
 
“We have worked towards developing new processes for example in silicon production, in order to get more solar cells onto the market. The problem for the solar industry at the moment is getting enough silicon,” Tranell explains. Amongst the companies benefiting are Elkem Solar and Metallkraft AS, who are being aided in the development of technology for the efficient recycling of residues from solar cells. With more efficient processes, more silicon and therefore more solar cells, SINTEF is opening up the potential of wider markets and more productivity to these and other companies working in the Norwegian solar industry.
 
Technology currently being developed by the laboratories at SINTEF includes technology for carbon nano-tubes, using high-temperature plasma. Other research projects are devoted to new methods in manufacturing of components for jet engines, automated methods for the assembly of components into final products, and the Metal Printing Process (MPP), an exciting technology that produces three-dimensional objects from powder material using a type of high-speed “photocopier”. In each of these areas, SINTEF is providing the resources for Norwegian companies to become more productive and innovative, and as a result to move into new markets both locally and internationally.
 
With such a large and innovative research organization at its base, it is little wonder that the inquisitive culture of so many Norwegian companies can be relied upon to produce the best solutions for tricky problems within processing and manufacturing. One constant remains self-evident: Norway is ready to innovate to ensure that industry problems can be seen as challenges and opportunities, never impossibilities.
SINTEF’s pilot smelter furnace at. the NTNU/SINTEF process metallurgical laboratories in Trondheim, where pioneering new technology is developed and tested.
© Melinda Gaal

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