21.2.2021 - Blog
A true Finnish besetting sin. That is what Outi Rask, the Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Society of Automation, sighed when we discussed Finnish competence in automation. The sigh was not due to a lack of faith in top-notch Finnish competence in automation, that is not an issue. The miserable thing is that way too often people hide their light under a bushel. People rather undermine than praise their own competence. Although there is reason for praise.
Outi Rask works as a Lecturer in Industrial Technology at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Rask does not shy away when she states that in automation, Finland has terribly strong competence. It is also particular that the Finnish competence in automation is strongly connected with the export market. One of the crown jewelleries is Valmet, which provides automation solutions for the needs of chemical pulp, paper, cardboard and soft tissue industry as well as energy and marine industry.
Process automation is not far from production automation and robotics – on the contrary, technologies are constantly more linked with each other. Automation is present everywhere, in all fields. We do not always think about that, since – as Rask puts it – functional automation is tasteless, odourless and invisible. Automation alone does not have intrinsic value. One needs the issue that is steered, the substance.
I bumped into an automation-focused theme magazine published as an appendix to Kauppalehti in 2009. Let me cite the title of the editorial:
“Finland has an unprecedented opportunity to move in the global racetrack to the productivity development fast line, while cherishing and enhancing sustainable development and environmental protection – Automation is everyone’s mate, including productivity-enhancement projects”
Sustainable development, productivity, environmental perspective. All the key things were there and still are. In the automation front, one must raise one’s voice, drag the essential into the limelight. One good example on this is KasvuOpen where all companies that provide automation solutions for e.g. robotics, computer vision, simulation and measuring technique can apply for Automation’s future growth path sparring. Companies can be in their internationalisation phase, ecosystem and network builders, pioneers in their field, start-up companies or established actors in their respective fields.
“Automation is present everywhere, in all fields”
Encouragement, boost, support in research and development is needed. It is necessary already due to the sheer fact that 93 per cent of Finnish companies employ less than 10 people. That is, they are small.
One sound manner to grow and internationalise is by combining resources. This is also what Promector from Turku and Kaptas from Joensuu did. A merger created double the competence, double the resources – and as part of the Addtech Group, also an agile channel to export Finnish automation competence to the world.
Increase in resources enables investing in development projects, which the merging Joensuu and Turku units would not have been up to before. As part of the automation division of the international Addtech Group, Kaptas and its customers will discover completely new prospects.
The author held tears of joy when listening to the delight of the Mayor of Kemi concerning the construction of Fibre bioproduct mill. There is no doubt the automation system of the mill will become tremendous.