Accelerated customization with smarter methods

A recent collaboration between the business sector and the School of Engineering at Jönköping University will facilitate the adaption of products to new requirements and strengthen the companies’ competitiveness through new work procedures and IT tools.

”The project has generated both valuable theoretical knowledge and practically useful results. Two important success factors were, starting from the specific needs of each company and a deep engagement from all participants in the project,” says project leader Fredrik Elgh, professor in product development at the School of Engineering.

The aim of the research project has been to facilitate and speed up suppliers’ customization of their products. The project has been carried out in close partnership between the researchers from the School of Engineering and four companies: Thule Group, Kongsberg Automotive, GKN Aerospace Systems and Axelent Engineering.

The research project has resulted in a method, which supports continuous technology development and which increases the ability to handle varying requirements on the company’s products. It has also generated applications, which are directly useful for the participating companies.

In the collaboration with Thule Group, a company which develops and manufactures roof racks, the researchers have developed a method for rapid strength calculations. From this method, they have developed a software for crash simulations called AutoCRASH.

”By means of this programme we have been able to reduce the development time, and our products therefore reach the market sooner. We have also improved the quality and security, because of the higher accuracy of this method,” says Anca Carp, technical group manager at Thule Group.

Kongsberg Automotive is a supplier to the automotive industry, and like Thule Group they develop and manufacture products, which need continuous adaption to new requirements. Thomas Sylvander, who is a development manager in automotive comfort at Kongsberg Automotive, is very satisfied with the cooperation with the university:

“It is of great benefit to us to be able to work with people who possess a deep knowledge, and who can also see our processes and functions from another perspective. They help us to see new possibilities, which may result in important improvements. We have already started to make changes based on the results of the project.”

The research project has been running for three years and has been co-financed by Vinnova, the participating companies and the School of Engineering. The completion of the project does not mean that the collaboration is over. Kongsberg Automotive, Thule Group and GKN Aerospace Systems will all take part in a new project, which will build on the previous one. This time they will be accompanied by two other companies: Flexator and Husqvarna Group.