Robot centre on Lindø receives crucial support from large companies
Fayard, Bladt Industries, Odense Maritime Technology and Inrotech are among the 15 companies that have taken responsibility and become active in the collaboration on the Large Structure Production Centre on Lindø. The ambition is to have a completed robot centre in 2025 for large constructions, as part of a new Funen business park.
Just six months after they met at a conference at Odense Harbour, several companies have announced their support for the establishment of a centre for the development of robots and technology for use in so-called Large Structure Production (LSP) within energy, construction, and the maritime sector.
- Companies must be prepared to take responsibility.
The message was clear when in August SDU, Vækstteam Fyn, Odense Robotics, the host Odense Havn and a number of other parties were behind the LSP workshop with 150 participants.
The goal is the establishment of a Large Structure Production Centre on the Odense Harbour's grounds that previously housed the Lindø shipyard. Therefore, in a symbolic sense the industry is back on Lindø, where in the 90s some of the first steps to the Danish robotics cluster were taken by the shipyard.
The centre is also part of NextGen Robotics, where a consortium with 65 partners - including SDU - has an ambition to create a Funen business park within fire areas. An application for funding for the establishment of the regional park - where LSP is one of four legs - has just been sent off.
Among the participants and speakers on the day this summer were some of the companies that the partners behind LSP wanted to include, and now Christian Schlette, professor at SDU Robotics, Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute, can state that the message was heard.
- We have received commitments from up to 15 companies already, who would like to be involved and are ready to take responsibility and invest resources, knowledge, and man-hours in the project. It is absolutely crucial that we can move forward with the LSP ambitions at Odense Harbour. We need to have them behind us so that it makes sense to establish the centre, says the professor who is in charge of the project.
He will be excited that companies such as Fayard, Bladt Industries, Inrotech, Odense Maritime Technology, Force Technology, Cobod and others are now part of the team.
- They do not invest capital, but they are involved in the form of resources and knowledge, even though they are not actually guaranteed to get anything back, he says.
Three projects are starting
- Right now, we have three use-cases where we can zoom in on specific tasks within the three areas and the development of robot technology that can undertake the tasks. But we want more projects started, and we are in dialogue with other companies, he says.
It is already clear, however, that the repair yard Fayard on Lindø, the wind turbine foundation company Bladt Industries from Aalborg with a huge production at Odense Harbour and the Copenhagen company Cobod, which specialises in full-scale 3D printing for construction, will name the first three “use-case” projects.
- They have a line of companies with each one. For example, Odense Maritime Technology has teamed up with Inrotech and Fayard to develop the technologies they will need to develop a multi-component system for shipbuilding in a robot cell instead of line production, as we know it today. Fayard also sees opportunities in decommissioning ships on a sustainable platform, and that will also be something to work with in their case, says Christian Schlette.
Bladt Industries designs and builds foundations for offshore wind turbines and will collaborate with the company Enabl from the wind sector and the Funen welding robots from Inrotech, says Schlette.
- It must help to develop and expand Bladt's activities in the area, says Christian Schlette.
Odense Maritime Technology designs and plans ship constructions and entire shipyards, while Inrotech is among the world leaders with its robot welding technology.
Both companies were founded by former employees and employees in the development department at Lindø shipyard, where the first small steps were taken to use robots for ship production.
Finally, Cobod, which will, among other things, 3D-print wind turbine towers and already today printer buildings in, among other places, Germany, stand behind the last project, where Henning Larsen Architects will be part of the team behind.
Can create a Danish position of strength
The welding ambitions at the Lindø shipyard were never realised, but if the ambitions in the LSP centre are realised, then ship production can once again be an area where Denmark can create jobs and production.
- For example, decommissioning is an area we can make sustainable in Denmark, and it can help us receive the tasks in Denmark instead of sending them out of the country to places where the environment is not thought about, says Christian Schlette.
- We have several organisations such as Dansk Metal, Odense Robotics, Energy Cluster Denmark, We Build Denmark and Marlog on board. It means a lot that we get political support from the highest level, says Christian Schlette.
Dansk Metal is also enthusiastic about the prospect of getting companies more closely involved in the project.
Chairman Claus Jensen is not only chairman of the former Vækstteam Fyn, but also a former joint union representative at Lindøværftet. He is excited that there are prospects of ship production returning to the harbour.
- I'm glad that there are so many companies who can see the potential and enter the venture. Back in the good old days on Lindø, we set several world records in shipbuilding. Now there are prospects that the production of ships - and other large structures - will return to Lindø. It can create many new jobs on Funen, and it is crucial for Denmark's ability to compete with other countries within the large constructions such as ships and wind turbines, says Claus Jensen.
200 million kroner in centre
As mentioned, the LSP centre is part of NextGen Robotics, which has been designated as a Funen business park. With more than 65 partners and a budget of over DKK 200 million., the parties in the consortium are ready to turn up Denmark's robot and drone development.
The application has been sent to the Ministry of Business Affairs, who will establish eight regional business parks in 2022. In addition to LSP, NextGen Robotics consists of drones in HCA Airport Sydfyn, as a hub for the development of sustainable and autonomous solutions for the maritime area and the establishment of Robotternes Hus - an international showcase for Danish robot solutions.
The final price for the establishment of the LSP centre has not yet been determined, but the partners expect that the investment - including the many company hands and hours on the hob - will run up to more than 200 million kroner.
- Now we have sent off the application, and then we start purchasing equipment for the centre, which should be up and running in 2022 and complete in 2024. Initially, we will establish a robot cell with a multi-robot system consisting of four large robots, each of which can handle 200 kg, so we can develop within welding, scanning, 3D printing and assembly, he says.
In 2023/24, the goal is to have a fully developed physical centre in place at Odense Harbour, so that companies and other parties can develop technologies and robot solutions that will be unique not only nationally but also internationally, says Christian Schlette.
- Nationally, we will have a centre where we can gather know-how and technology with development and research, which is very expensive in three industries, which today are characterised by manual work and do not have the funds for that kind of development. Internationally, we will have a unique centre that combines three large industries in a full-scale development centre that you do not have anywhere else, says Christian Schlette.
Facts about the Funen business parks
• The Ministry of Business Affairs plans to establish 8 regional business parks in 2022.
• Before the summer, Vækstteam Fyn delivered its recommendations on how best to invest in the development of a Funen business parks.
• The consortium for the Funen parks, NextGen Robotics, has applied for the establishment of a Funen parks consisting of four sub-initiatives
• Total budget of more than DKK 200 million.
• NextGen Robotics has been established with over 50+ business partners, MARLOG, Odense Robotics, the Danish Technological Institute, SIMAC, 9 Funen districts, the social partners, interest groups, the University of Southern Denmark, and Business Region Funen as operators.
Read more about NextGen Robotics here
Christian Schlette, Professor, SDU Robotics. T: 65 50 79 16
Jakob Haugaard Christiansen, journalist, Faculty of Engineering, SDU. T: 40315261.