Skip to main content

Building Norway's most advanced digital mini factory for innovators at Herøya

two men in front of a monitor displaying an animation

Ready to build: To the left Chandana Ratnayake, chief researcher at Sintef Industri and Ken André Myhra Kihle, head of the machine company Cody in Skien, are ready to build FabLab into the Innovation Hub in Herøya Research Park in 2021. Here in front of Cody's recent 3D sketch of FabLab.

The local company Cody is building Norway's most advanced and first digital FabLab, which will enter the Innovation Hub for entrepreneurs and innovators at Herøya in 2021.

Recently, chief researcher Chandana Ratnayake of SINTEF Industri and Ken André Myhra Kihle, general manager of the machine development company Cody in Skien, met to review Cody's 3D model sketch of FabLab.

– FabLab will probably be very different from this 3D model, but shows in a good way the module-based functions in FabLab, comments Ken André Myhra Kihle, Cody.

Digital «mini factory»

Cody delivers FabLab, a digital "mini factory", with hardware and digital twin, into the EU's large-scale investment in Horizon2020 Factories of the Future. The research project is DIY4U (Do It Yourself for You), led by SINTEF Industri.

– The goal of the project is to achieve profitable and sustainable production of specialized products on a smaller scale, says chief researcher Chandana Ratnayake. He coordinates 13 international partners in the project.

– There is no infrastructure for small scale and specialized production that is profitable and sustainable today. Industry is built for volume and mass production. In the project, and with Cody at the forefront, we develop a digital platform and FabLab machine (hardware) that will produce personalized products in an environmentally friendly way in open and innovative co-creation with various players, throughout the eco-system. The production of the future is probably not either large or small factories. The "mini factory" FabLab will be an addition to the large factories, Ratnayake believes.

InnovationHuB Herøya opens

Cody's FabLab at Herøya is the first step in SINTEF and Herøya Industripark AS 'joint effort to establish and open an InnovationHub for entrepreneurs and innovators in Herøya Research Park.

The FabLab, a flexible hardware built in modules together with the digital platform, can be used for testing, prototyping and production of many different specialized products on a smaller scale.

Demonstrate personalized products

Who will benefit from the FabLab here at Herøya?

– During the project period (2019-22), project partners in DIY4U, including the multinational retail group Procter & Gamble, will use FabLab to demonstrate opportunities to produce personalized detergents in liquid form and in powder, says SINTEF's project coordinator.

Open to entrepreneurs and innovators

– Later in the project, next year (2022), we plan to open for local and national Norwegian companies and industry, entrepreneurs and innovators who want to use the digital platform and FabLab (the machine) to test processes or create prototypes of other products and ideas. We are also interested in getting input from companies on their needs for product customization, special production and fast prototyping, etc.

Many opportunities

– There are numerous opportunities and many different products to produce in such a FabLab system, comments Ken André Myhra Kihle. He mentions a range of products from foods, beverages, supplements, pharmaceuticals and to fertilizers.  

Cirkular economy

Chandana ads that the FabLab concept can be very useful in circular economy.

– For example, in cases where you take substances from a production stream to use them for something else, and where the volumes are much smaller. A good example here at Herøya is REEtec's production of rare earths with raw materials extracted from Yara's production stream.

Tailor made and specialized products will provide added value, "Added Value" and "Made for Me", emphasizes the chief researcher and machine developer.

Specialized products    

The machine experts at Cody were given the task of developing and building two FabLabs, which in the first round will produce consumer products, detergents, in liquid and powder form. The two FabLabs will be placed and used in InnovationHub Herøya and in the UK, respectively.

– We have created a modular machine solution that produces, verifies, packages and brands small series of consumer goods, individually tailored to the individual consumer. A digital platform asks via a website about the customer's needs and generates, by using a digital twin and gathered information, a tailor-made recipe for the customer. FabLab hardware is highly flexible, built in modules, can be adjusted or expanded as needed, and can produce many different specialized products without the need for major changes, possibly none, explains Ken André Myhra Kihle, CEO of Cody.

Impressed by Cody

– Cody impresses, praises chief researcher Chandana Ratnayakae in SINTEF Industri. He coordinates the 13 international partners in the DIY4U project, a part of Europe's major investment in Factories of the Future and Made in Europe.

– Cody is a good example of how smaller companies can contribute to large R&D projects. Collaboration with companies, such as Cody, is something we want more of, says the chief researcher at SINTEF Industri.

Do you see new customer opportunities for Cody?

– Yes, definitely, says Myhra Kihle. – We build special machines for many different customers and we intend to use some of the module thinking in our machines for other customers in the future.

two men in a meeting room with monitor in background

Business partners. Ken André Myhra Kihle, CEO at Cody (to the left) an Chandana Ratnayake, chief researcher at SINTEF Industri.

Developed by Aplia - Powered by eZ PublishCookies