Manufacturing in Norway: Alive and Well

Manufacturing is alive and well in Norway, with a variety of companies drawing on the country’s abundant natural resources to shape products for today’s market from traditional materials like aluminium, wood, and metals. Industry giants Hydro, Aker Solutions and Norske Skog are major international actors, while innovative smaller companies such as IPO and Aarbakke focus on industry niche markets to fortify a robust sector which has seen consistent rises in both productivity and income.

Leading the Way

Oslo-based Hydro currently stands as the world’s third-largest integrated aluminium supplier, manufacturing products for the automotive, transport and building industries, featuring products in the casthouse, extruded, rolled and wire rod arenas. Part of the company’s success can be credited to Hydro’s ability to control a value chain that runs from billet casting over extrusion to forming, machining, assembly and stretch-bending
 
This large capacity and extensive know-how has allowed Hydro to establish global leadership in important areas such as auto safety devices. The firm tops the list of global suppliers, having delivered some 7.5 million aluminium bumper beams to carmakers worldwide in 2006. Bumpers perform vital safety functions by reducing damage in low-speed accidents, keeping the front structure together during higher-speed impacts, while lending stiffness to ensure comfort, ride and handling during normal driving conditions.
Hydro is a world-leading manufacturer of auto safety devices such as crash boxes and bumper structures.
© Hydro
 
 
Crash Boxes to Save Lives
Another key safety product manufactured by Hydro is the crash box. This technology has been applauded as a major step forward in auto safety design. Both inexpensive and easily replaceable, crash boxes help prevent damage to the car’s body in medium-speed impacts, and this shrinks costs for repair and insurance.
 
In a major frontal impact, the beam and boxes work to transfer the impact load away from passengers and into the longitudinals, and then on to the rest of the car’s structures, such as A and B pillars, sill and roof. More security-minded innovations are in the works at Hydro’s Competence Centre for Crash Management, located at the company’s major manufacturing and research hub in Raufoss, Norway.
 
Safer Safes
Another growing market for Norwegian-manufactured aluminium products is the production of doors for safe deposit boxes. Hydro engineers are able to take advantage of aluminium’s natural adaptability to meet the banking industry’s special requirements.
 
Sweden’s Robur Safe, one of Europe’s leading suppliers, has been working with Hydro to develop new concepts for aluminium deposit boxes, security product boxes and service boxes for banks and cash companies. Robur's current safe doors are made with Hydro's aluminium extrusions, which are winning praise for combining security and function with clean design.
 
Robur developed plans for these products based on a hollow aluminium extrusion. This provides the opportunity for built-in functions, simpler assembly and elegant design. Bo Blomdahl, the company's founder and managing director, told Hydro.com that the extrusions are "functional, aesthetic and attractive, have a timeless design and give a solid and secure appearance."
 
Food in a Light & Green Package
Perhaps better known for fashion, Marks & Spencer is actually one of Britain’s leading retailers of fresh food. The famous retailer was in the market for new food trays, and they had two main requirements: they must be light and they must be easy on the environment.
 
UK-based Nicholl Food Packaging partnered with Hydro and the company’s Holmestrand facility to produce top-quality aluminium foil from recycled metal for the creation of the food trays. They also took care to keep greenhouse gas emissions in the process as low as possible while finding just the right balance of alloys and metallurgy to create trays that would be recyclable while keeping food fresh.
 
Hydro metallurgist Svein Erik Næss commented on the company’s website, “It is very important to work very closely with the customer. We are very flexible. Our production process and our sourcing of raw materials – including the use of recycled aluminium – have worked very well in meeting what they wanted.”
 
Shaping the Method to Capture Carbon
Aker Solutions manufactures products and offers expertise to several industries, including oil and gas, refining and chemicals, mining and metals and power generation. Based in Norway, the company has aggregated annual revenues of approximately NOK 58 billion and employs approximately 24,000 people in about 30 countries.
 
Thanks to its expertise in these heavy industries, Aker has developed eco-friendly products that have driven the creation of an entirely new entity, Aker Clean Carbon. The new firm’s mission will be to develop and implement the firm’s Just Catch™ technology for CO2 capture. Aker Solutions will also be responsible for supplying engineering and construction for future CO2 capture facilities. The new company’s first project is a CO2 capture plant to be built at Kårstø on the West Coast of Norway and it is hoped the products and technology created for the project here will serve a growing international market. “These plants worldwide constitute our future market. In just a few decades, building carbon capture facilities can become an industry similar to the building of oil platforms today. Our goal is to put Aker Clean Carbon at the forefront as this environmental industry matures," said Aker’s Leif-Arne Langøy on the company’s website.
Aker Clean Carbon manufactures carbon capture and cleaning technology in Norway for tomorrow’s market in greener industrial applications.
© Aker Clean Carbon
 
Transport Elements for Manufacturers
Providing solutions that help companies improve their manufacturing processes, Intern Transport AS (ITO) is one of Scandinavia’s largest producers of internal transport systems for the manufacturing and wholesale industry. The ITO group of companies includes Pall-Pak AS, MultiCraft AS and Procon Pluss.
 
With its main workshop located in Tryistad, the company manufactures ramps and other core technologies for order selection, packing, sorting, distribution, palleting and more. In recent years, ITO has been expanding its capabilities by acquiring a number of specialty firms such as Pall-Pak AS, Multicraft (to aid in integrating robot technology into delivery programs) and finally logistics specialists Procon Pluss.
ITO - In Tryistad, Pall-Pak, a division of ITO, fabricates ramps and other core technologies for order selection, packing, sorting and distribution.
© Pall-Pak
 
The Morning Paper
There’s a good possibility your morning newspaper began life in the Norwegian forest. Norske Skog is a world leading producer of newsprint and magazine paper, with 18 paper mills around the globe. The company manages a global newsprint and magazine paper market of about 60 million tonnes, and it currently holds around a 10 and 5% share of these segments, respectively.
 
The company’s main Norwegian facility, in Skogn, is the nation’s largest producer of newsprint, ranking as one of the largest newsprint mills in Europe. Norske Skog is using twin wire paper machines and modern thermomechanical pulping to manufacture “improved newsprint” products at the facility. These technologies provide the paper with an increased range of brightness to printed images, and the product is particularly well adapted for cold set web offset printing, although it can also be used for heat set web offset.
 
Shifting Gears for the World’s Vehicles
Kongsberg Automotive is a leading developer and manufacturer of systems for gearshift, clutch actuation, seat comfort, stabilizing rods, couplings and components. With headquarters in Kongsberg, Norway, the company counts three Norwegian facilities among its 20 international locations that produce parts for the commercial and passenger vehicle industry.
 
In Norway, Kongsberg manufactures Raufoss Couplings™, vehicle air couplings that are optimized for minimum pressure loss, lasting, temperature-independent sealing function, compact external dimensions and cost-efficiency. Customers can select from plug-in, push-in, and push-to-connect solutions in a wide range of dimensions. Recent breakthroughs in materials have allowed the company to move production more and more to the use of polymer technology for these automotive and commercial vehicle products.
 
Kongsberg also manufactures and delivers Actuation Systems, featuring efficient stabilizing rods that reduce component size and weight and supply a significant range of angular motion. These features are designed to handle the demands of ever-increasing loads for commercial vehicles in today’s transport market.
 
Transport with the North in Mind
Karmøy is Hydro’s main factory in Norway for supplying aluminium systems to the transport and automotive body building industries. The facility supplies body shops throughout Scandinavia. The Karmøy facility manufactures products and systems for general freight, gravel, woodchips and pulp as well as box bodies. Extrusions are formed for smaller vehicles: lighter lorries and vans and heavier transport. The products built at Karmøy have been created with the Nordic climate in mind, featuring high quality, strength and stability in extreme climate conditions.
 
Metals: Purity in Gold & Silver
Thanks to Rasmussen’s ability to supply its own raw materials, the Norwegian company has carved out a solid reputation in the semi-manufactured goods arena as a supplier that can guarantee high purity and precision in alloy. Professional goldsmiths and suppliers are key customers for the Hamar-based firm, but independent designers work with the company as well. 
 
Rasmussen is also a recognized supplier of Good Delivery Bars to The London Silver Market, a status achieved by its process of the electrolytic refining of silver alloyed with pure copper. The company can manufacture silver with an outstanding 99.99% purity rate by utilizing refined silver and copper alloys.
 
Nickel in Kristiansand
Falconbridge Limited, the world’s fourth largest producer of refined nickel and one of the largest recyclers and processors of nickel and cobalt-bearing materials, runs mining and processing facilities in Norway, Canada and the Dominican Republic. Consumer and household products, automotive, medical equipment, power generation, aerospace, telecommunication and transportation equipment all employ the company’s production.
 
The Kristiansand plant ranks among the lowest-cost nickel refineries in the western world. In the refining process, a chlorine leach and electro-winning process is employed to recover the metals. During processing, the refinery produces a granulated matte, which is then crushed to a fine powder and moved to the chlorine leach plant. There, the metals in the matte are separated and distributed to various work areas for further purification and refining. Finally, the products are cut, packaged and shipped to world markets.
 
Machining to the Highest Specs
Customers with a need for machining at very high precision require top-quality equipment and skilled operators. Norwegian firm Aarbakke offers these services and others that range from development to final production manufacturing. The firm has experience in every phase of manufacturing processes, from idea-generating to assembly and testing. 
 
Equipped with more than 22 state-of-the-art CNC machines, skilled operators and a large stock of exotic and ordinary raw materials, Aarbakke is able to offer complete service with full traceability. The company’s customer base is largely centred on the oil industry, with a strongly international focus.
 
Precision Tubing
High precision is also crucial in the manufacture of tubing. Hydro is a one of the industry leaders in providing aluminium precision tubing solutions for automotive heat exchanger applications. The firm’s tubes are used mainly in air conditioning systems, evaporators, charge air coolers and radiator applications, as well as liquid lines for air conditioning and cooling systems. Hydro’s special nylon-coated aluminium tube is dedicated to automotive fluid lines such as fuel, power steering, HVAC and hydraulic lines.
 
Hydro also provides automakers and component suppliers with other essential components such as aluminium foundry alloys, sheet, plates, welded tubes and extrusions for further processing.
Rolled products and precision tubing are mainstays of the Hydro line of manufactured aluminium products.
© Hydro

 

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