Increased competitiveness through automation and robotics via Robotlyftet

Robotlyftet is an ongoing investment with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of industrial companies by investing in automation solutions. The project is funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth within the framework of Smart Industry. In the working model, several actors in the innovation system are directly involved and contribute with their expertise, a highly effective collaboration structure with a homogeneous offer to industry throughout the country.

Model for process can be found in Robotlyftet

When the pandemic struck, another part of Robotlyftet was added, direct interviews with industrial companies around the country. The issues that were touched on ranged from whether one experiences component shortages, declining order intake, liquidity issues, risk of redundancies, etc. What we also asked was how to look at development needs now and in the future. At the time of writing, we have conducted 1219 interviews together. Nearly 80% state that their companies need development efforts distributed in 11 different areas. Looking at the top four of these areas says:

  • 83% that they need to work with production efficiency
  • 70% with automation and robotics
  • 67% with digitization
  • 59% with their skills supply

Another seven areas are coming on a declining scale. If we summarize the results from the interviews, the industrial companies have shown a great willingness to work with their development in many different areas. Here, we would need a long-term industrial program that includes collaborations with specialized competencies in order to meet the needs of the companies where they are today and contribute to a next step in their development for increased competitiveness in Swedish industry.

The full report containing 1000 interviews can be found here.

For the individual SME, the needs and issues always constitute a unique situation, while issues of Automation and Robotization (A / R) are largely of a general nature. In order to meet the companies in their real environment and achieve a mutual process for analysis, valuation and proposals for possible areas and paths for increased A / R, a common analysis tool has been developed. This has taken place in collaboration between IUC, RISE and Robotdalen with a focus on a “funnel-like” process that captures everything from overall strategic issues in the individual company to concrete production steps where A / R can be motivated steps in the companies' development / conversion.

How the "workshop" takes place in Robotlyftet

Active collaboration between regional business and production competencies at IUC (close business associates) and expert competencies at RISE and Robotdalen (national resources) has through the tool FU study (Prerequisite study) added that the individual SME has several different angles on their own thoughts and ideas on development with A / R in focus. Recommendations have since led to companies being able to apply for a so-called Automation Check where their own financing is shared with the public sector. The then in-depth design analysis is performed on completely commercial grounds by system integrators. The application has been submitted and decided by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

In this way, each company has met a Coach who works in the region and who has been the contact person during the analysis work. During large parts of the period 2020 - 2021, all or part of the contacts have taken place digitally. In this, both real-time filming, photography and discussions based on connected "line-walks" have been carried out. In the forced environment, all parties have significantly increased their competence to operate in a fully or semi-digital environment, something that has definitely facilitated, above all, accessibility to the national experts.

The performance of the robot lift

The robot lift has worked (operates until 31/12 2021) for just over 30 months as a program (May 19 - Dec 21) and in a pilot project during 2018/19 to carve out a working model adapted for SMEs. The total target group manufacturing SMEs in Sweden is estimated to amount to between 4,500 and 5,000 companies. The robot lift has via all its channels reached about 2500 via direct contact, training, inspiration meetings or fairs / expos. Of the companies that have been reached, just over 600 have registered an interest in conducting a FU study. More than 200 of these have in turn applied for and granted funding from the Automation Checks. Many of these will also invest in the projected solutions that are developed and which are the part of the conversion that many SMEs participate in or face.

In addition to the number of SMEs involved in the program, a Swedish structure for collaboration, with proximity to the individual SMEs at the same time as national expert competence, has been able to build up and shape a working model. As we see it, the collaboration model is entirely possible to apply not only in the A / R area but also in other areas of need specified by SMEs.

Public funds have contributed to the transformation of SMEs

The total public funds in the program have meant that a process that concentrated on manufacturing SMEs with thoughts, needs, or interest in knowing more about A / R has been achieved by the program. That many SMEs are currently prioritizing A / R has also become apparent as the volume of expressions of interest has steadily increased, which at the same time has added knowledge of the need to stimulate and activate development in other areas. Adaptation work has also taken place in the digital area, called for by the pandemic, but something that in the long run means that national contacts between skills and companies for development can be made more efficient.

The process model in Robotlyftet has led to more SMEs being able to increase their customer competence and in several cases choosing to move on to design and investment. At the same time, regional business and production coaches at IUC companies have reached out to more SMEs, faced new issues, contributed to new contacts for companies and gradually built up increased competence about and together with companies and experts. In their roles, the experts have faced many new and challenging issues when conditions for A / R are to be valued. In addition, a group of system integrators, more than 20 companies, have been involved on a commercial basis, but where public funds bear part of the companies' costs. Overall, public funds have been a driving force in shaping a Swedish model for development that reaches SMEs throughout the country on equal terms.


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This article is categorised as Intermediate  |  Published 2021-10-25  |  Authored by Sandra Mattsson