Pilot Plant – a meeting place for technology

Two years ago the Volvo Cab Competence Centre in Umeå was launched. Now the centre is being expanded with the creation of a new high-tech pilot plant in the cab factory in Umeå, which involved an investment of SEK 32 million.
Mona Edström Frohm

“The aim of the Volvo Cab Competence Centre in Umeå is to support the development of new product concepts and production technologies and to reinforce the ability of the Volvo Group to manufacture the truck cabs of the future to the highest standards of quality using rationalised methods. Our new pilot plant will play an important part in this process,” says Mona Edström Frohm, site manager at the Umeå factory.    

A pilot plant is a pre-commercial production system that uses new production technologies and can produce new high-tech products in small volumes. The objective is to develop expertise in the new technologies and also to allow for cooperation with all other areas of the Volvo Group.

“During 2017 employees from the Umeå factory provided support for Volvo plants in Brazil, Thailand, Russia, the USA and Tuve in Sweden. But staff from other locations also come here to learn about what we are doing. The pilot plant will open up new opportunities for sharing experiences and developing ideas, which will be fantastic,” says Mona Edström Frohm.

The pilot plant at the Umeå factory will be a meeting place where technology, research and production can come together. The close cooperation with Umeå University and with key local and global suppliers will further strengthen the factory and the competence centre.

“We are aiming to share expertise with both the university and our key suppliers on an ongoing, long-term basis. This will improve our skills even further,” says Mona Edström Frohm. One important factor from this perspective is that world-class expertise can be found in the local region. This promotes development both within the Volvo Group and in the region as a whole.

The Volvo Cab Competence Centre is running a number of technology and development projects including “The virtual twin factory”, “Smart textiles” and “A real-time automated system for quality inspections of painted cabs using big data analysis”.

Watch the video with Valery Le Goff, VP Manufacturing Engineering and Cab Competence, talking about Pilot Plant.