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Research projects

The Polhem Laboratory

About this project

Project information

Project status



Magnus Löfstrand

Research subject

The Polhem Laboratory was established in 1995 as one of thirty Competence Centres funded by Nutek (VINNOVA) and the Swedish Energy Agency. The main goal of the research activities was to develop and help implement methods and technologies to improve the product development process, which is a multi-faceted and complex activity that is central to maintaining and strengthening a company’s competitive position. The Laboratory’s vision embraced the perspective of using virtual product development.

The Polhem Laboratory helped member companies to increase their competence and to use modern technologies necessary to support the product development process.

The Polhem Laboratory started out with four research areas; integration, simulation, working methods and maintenance. After five years, from stage 3, the research areas were:

Area 1: Communication of Information in Product Development (CIPD)
Area 2: Simulation Methodology
Area 3: Conceptual Design

The activities associated with these research areas took place at Luleå University of Technology and at the member companies within the Polhem Laboratory. There was a continuous exchange of ideas and staff within this network, which helped in identifying and addressing problems of particular interest to industry and maintaining a high academic research quality.

The main goal of the research carried out at the Polhem Laboratory was to improve product and manufacturing development processes through the application of modern communication and information technologies. The primary target area was Swedish industry.

Principal idea

To merge the two worlds of information technology and engineering
To use modern communication infrastructure to help eliminate distance
To utilise the core competence available at Luleå University of Technology in collaboration with industrial partners to develop and implement integrated product development methodologies and techniques.

Partner companies

ABB Atom AB, ACCRA Teknik AB, Aerodyn AB, Alimak AB, BAE Systems Hägglunds AB, Banverket N:a Regionen, Branschsystem AB, Ferruform AB, Hägglunds Drives AB, Indexator AB, Inexa profil AB, Kiruna Industrial Dev. AB, Metso Panelboard AB, Msc Software Nordic, Sandvik Coromant AB, SKF Sverige AB, Ursvikens Mekaniska verkst. AB, Vattenfall Vattenkraft AB, Volvo Aero Corporation, Volvo Lastvagnar AB, Volvo Personvagnar AB, Volvo Technical Development AB