SmartChain: Digitized, automated and integrated value chains

For many years, Norwegian suppliers have shown considerable competitive power and growth potential developing knowledge-based systems for the production of highly advanced and innovative tailor-made products. We have positioned ourselves globally in the premium top segments in a number of markets. But in the face of competition from low-cost countries, can we also play a leading role in volume segments?

Kongsberg Maritime Subsea (KMS), based in Horten, Norway has positioned itself as a world-leading premium manufacturer of underwater acoustics and marine robotics for ocean navigation and mapping. Over the past fifteen years, however, competitors from low-cost countries have challenged KMS’s position. To respond to this competition, KMS and the company's strategic core (key) suppliers will be offering a wider range of products to more customer segments in the years to come.

We are now in the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution - also known as Industry 4.0. Characterized by increased digitalization and automation, Industri 4.0 is expected to (radically alter) traditional business models and value chains. The key idea is “SmartChain”, the increased digitalization and automation in the core value chain that enables competitive production of volume and premium products for different (various) market segments.

The main objective of the project is to develop methods and solutions that ensure efficient value chains with a high degree of technology-based manufacturing, management and control. This will be achieved through the following intermediate-objectives:

1. Develop a strategic concept for efficient value chains with high levels of automation and digitization
2. Develop a method for automated production of volume products in interaction with the production of premium products, along with technical prototypes in a laboratory environment
3. Develop methodologies for the integrated development of production-friendly products in the core value chain
4. Develop a model for an integrated real-time monitoring and management system that effectively manages material flow and unforeseen events in the value chain
5. Test and document project results that demonstrate integrated and automated manufacturing in a value chain perspective.

The project is being carried out by KMS in cooperation with core suppliers Norautron and Oswo, IT company Virinco and R & D partners SINTEF Technology and SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing.