Satakunta – the Robocoast of Finland
The region of Satakunta has a strong automation and robotics cluster. In 2010-2016, the combined turnover of the automation and robotics cluster grew by 47 per cent and the number of employees by 60 per cent. In 2016, automation and robotics industries created a turnover of close to 300 million euros and employed more than 1000 specialists. Automation and robotics has been by far the fastest growing industrial sector in Satakunta.
Robocoast is a center of excellence that is jointly managed by the business development company Prizztech Ltd and the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Robocoast combines more than a hundred companies in the robotics, artificial intelligence, IoT and automation industry, universities and vocational institutions in Satakunta. Robocoast's goal is to combine the needs of enterprises to promote modernization of the industry and services by developing new robotics solutions together with a large network of industrial and research partners.
Figure 1. Robocoast – Robotics Cluster in Satakunta West Finland. Source: Robocoast. (Click to enlarge)
International cooperation and educational platforms in robotics
The Made in China 2025 Program`s pilot city Ningbo and Robocoast have together developed a pilot program which promotes opportunities for European expertise and SME`s to integrate to Chinese national development programs and procurement processes. Intelligent manufacturing is the main target of the Made in China 2025 Program. Robocoast is also a member of the European Digital Innovation Hub Network (robotics) coordinated by the European Commission DG Connect. Thus, Robocoast is a unique global gateway combining both Chinese and European excellence, networks and partners in the field of industrial modernization, automation and robotics.
Automation and robotics in industrial modernization is one of the key spearheads in the regional development strategy. The Regional Council of Satakunta supports the development efforts and works closely with research and educational institutions as well as companies.
The Robotics Academy is an educational platform coordinated by Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. The Robotics Academy excites youngsters with the wonders of robotics in practice and highlights the possibilities of future robotics giving the enterprises and advanced students tools to explore the knowledge in innovation. The goal of Robotics Academy is to strengthen the positive image of automation and robotics as well as support the ecosystem by providing state-of-the art study and research environment. The focus of the Automation Research Group at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences involves applied research of automation technologies. The group concentrates on
- quality control of products and production methods,
- intensifying production in terms of minimizing energy and material consumption,
- expediting and intensifying internal logistics.
The most significant technologies in research work are machine vision, modelling and simulation, embedded systems, 3D printing, drones and intelligent robotics. In all aspects of work, the research group focuses on enhancing resource intelligence and developing safe and seamless interaction between humans and machines.
The strengths of the research group relate to the functional connections with local industry and automation research groups at other universities, excessive experience in industrial and well-being applications, agility to quickly grasp new assignments and persistence to evaluate multiple alternative technologies or methods to find case-specific solutions.
Prizztech Ltd is a key player in the world of innovation environments working to improve business performance and competitiveness in Satakunta Region. Prizztech Ltd has also won numerous awards for its approach and ability to deliver results.
Figure 2. Robocoast AI Challenge Bank – Winner of the Future of Nordic Manufacturing Challenge Competition in 2017. Source: Robocoast. (Click to enlarge)