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Komatsu Forest investing in industry 4.0 in Sweden

In Sweden, forest machinery manufacturer Komatsu Forest AB in Umeå has confirmed that it is to make one of the largest investments in the company's history. It will be a future-proof factory in large format, with a focus on sustainable production. The company's investment further strengthens the region's position as a global leader in the field of forest technology.

In October 2018, Komatsu Forest acquired land outside Umeå, Sweden and revealed intentions to build a new manufacturing facility (image courtesy Komatsu Forest).

In October 2018, Komatsu Forest acquired land outside Umeå, Sweden and revealed intentions to build a new manufacturing facility (image courtesy Komatsu Forest).

A wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-headed industry major Komatsu Ltd, Komatsu Forest is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines. The company sells its products all over the world and is making one of its biggest investments ever in Umeå, Sweden.

The forest industry is an industry for the future. The next decade we see how new innovative and climate-smart products will be produced from wood fiber. We want to invest in the future and see that the best conditions for us to do so are in Umeå, said Martin Ärlestig, factory manager Komatsu Forest.

Headed from Umeå

Komatsu Forest has both headquarters and manufacturing in Umeå, northern Sweden where approximately 530 of the company’s employees are located. The new factory, the investment value of which has not been disclosed, will be built on the Klockarbäcken industrial estate on the outskirts of the city.

In Sweden, forest machinery manufacturer Komatsu Forest has confirmed that it is to make one of the largest investments in the company's history. It will be a future-proof factory in large format in Umeå, with a focus on sustainable production. Construction is set to begin in May 2019 with an inauguration expected in late 2021 (image courtesy Komatsu Forest).

In Sweden, forest machinery manufacturer Komatsu Forest has confirmed that it is to make one of the largest investments in the company’s history. It will be a future-proof factory in large format in Umeå, with a focus on sustainable production. Construction is set to begin in May 2019 with an inauguration expected in late 2021 (image courtesy Komatsu Forest).

The company has completed a “thorough feasibility study” to assess the entire project, including construction and transfer of operations while keeping the high productivity levels intact.

The start of construction is estimated to be May 2019 and the plan is that the finished factory will be inaugurated in 2021. The factory will be something of a unique landmark with its nearly 40 000 m2 divided into production area on two floors and an associated office building on six floors.

We will build a future-proof factory, where we can lay the foundation for the next generation of forest machines. In the new premises, we will be able to accommodate both production and development. We are investing in a factory that meets our needs here and now, but also gives us room to grow for the future, said Martin Ärlestig.

Industry 4.0

The factory is currently one of the larger investments in Swedish industry and will have a strong focus on sustainability and the Internet of Things (IoT). The factory will be carbon neutral in its production, which will be achieved through efficient energy supply with solar panels, modern building techniques, and geo energy.

A single-grip cut-to-length (CTL) harvester working in a mature pine stand in south-central Sweden.

A single-grip cut-to-length (CTL) Komatsu Forest harvester working in a mature pine stand in south-central Sweden.

The location at Klockarbäcken in Umeå is also an important factor since the proximity to the railway means that an increased share of the company’s goods can be transported by rail. As for IoT, Komatsu Forest will take a step towards industry 4.0, whereby the company’s manufacturing process will be connected.

This means many advantages, including that we can monitor quality, availability, and safety in detail and that customers will experience higher flexibility and shorter lead time, said Martin Ärlestig.

The ambition is also that the new factory will further strengthen the region’s position as a leader in the field of forest technology.

We are convinced that the initiative will yield regional, national and international footprints in several areas, Ärlestig concluded.

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