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Release 04.04.2023

New leading companies: Bittium, Danfoss, Konecranes, Orion, Ponsse and Epec

Business Finland has made positive funding decisions for one new leading company, Konecranes, as well as for five challenger leading companies, which are Bittium, Danfoss, Orion and Ponsse and Epec together.

Business Finland can fund a leading company with 20 million euros, and challenger class leading companies with 10 million. In addition, Business Finland is preparing to fund the ecosystem of the leading company with a total of 50 million euros and the ecosystem of challenger class leading companies with 20 million euros.

These funding decisions are a continuation to the funding decisions made in December 2022. The companies that were funded in December and those that are now being funded commit to a total of 375 million euros in research, development and innovation during their leading company projects.

– All the winners of the third challenge competition for leading companies are at the forefront of their industry, whose RDI investments we accelerate to develop Finland's competitive advantage. Companies have the ability to activate the business ecosystem in the international market, and this way we can also activate private funding for R&D investments. It is gratifying that this time there are so many challenger companies, says Business Finland's Director General Nina Kopola.

Business Finland will launch the next challenge competition for leading companies during this spring.

Leading company projects introduced

Seamless and Secure Connectivity program develops an end-to-end seamless and secure connectivity and communication of the future

Seamless and Secure Connectivity program aims at enabling trustworthy, secure, and resilient end-to-end connectivity architectures and products including life-cycle services in various domains. Business Finland has granted the program EUR 10 million development funding and, in addition, EUR 20 million funding for the ecosystem companies and research partners. The four-year program led by Bittium will last until 2026. Achieving the goal requires the information-secure cooperation of various public and private networks, including applications and terminals and other devices, combined into a cooperative embedded solution of different technologies.

Seamless and Secure Connectivity program will focus in six themes, of which objectives are as follows:

  1. Secure encryption technologies: The objective is to define and create roadmap to develop and apply future encryption technologies.
  2. Seamless and secure connectivity for highly secure communications in the future networks: The objective is to define ad solve special questions related to highly secure applications as well as application of related technologies and solutions.
  3. Secure end-to-end verticals: The objective is to develop end-to-end information security, including the development of information security in different verticals.
  4. Scaled sensor fusion development: As objective to define and create roadmap for the utilization of information from several sensors and thus sensor fusion based on, for example, medical measurement data.
  5. Significant development of operating models (e.g. RegOps, a method of agile development of medical software): The objective is to develop different operating models in such a way that they take into account the extensive requirements of regulations and directives, and the rapid adaptation or application of regulations and directives to software supporting devices or services.
  6. Shifts from devices into end-to-end solutions and services. As objective to develop technologies and solutions that enable the transfer of information from devices to solutions and services (end-to-end connections), for example in medical remote diagnostics.

The ecosystem of the Seamless and Secure Connectivity program will develop seamless digital structures, infrastructure, systems, and processes as well as cyber resilience suitable for the current, advanced 5th generation (5G advanced) and future 6G environments. Finnish companies have a long history and strong technical competence, and thus excellent conditions for developing end-to-end equipment, analysis and remote diagnostics solutions and life-cycle service packages. In order to reach this goal, the perspective of overall development, from devices to services in the entire chain, must be taken into account.

Technologies and applications that are the development targets of the ecosystem, e.g. the overall wireless connectivity market, which is estimated to grow at an average annual growth rate of almost 13 percent until 2027 (Markets and Markets, Wireless Connectivity Market, 08/2022), on the other hand, the mobile communication security market is predicted to grow at a growth rate of more than 20 percent until 2030 ( Allied Market Research, Mobile Security market 04/2022). Medical device software is estimated to grow at an average of 22 percent, with the market growing up to USD 22 billion by 2027 (Deloitte, Future of Diagnostics 10/2022).

– Seamless and secure communication will require the cooperation of various networks in the future in the field of public, private and related applications. The number of different terminal devices in the network, such as sensors, mobile devices and IoT devices, is growing very quickly, and the importance of their end-to-end information security is growing substantially. Seamlessness is enabled, for example, by utilizing alternative connectivity technologies and mobility solutions at the same time, so that the data-secure connection remains uninterrupted during the entire communication. On the other hand, the development of medical remote diagnostics, from devices to services, promotes cost-efficiency in the healthcare industry, faster diagnosis of people's health or related problems, and significantly improves the eco-efficiency of the environment as it becomes more common, says Jari Partanen, Director of Quality, Environment and Technology Management at Bittium.

– We are very excited about the Seamless and Secure Connectivity program. Thanks to the funding granted by Business Finland, we are now able, in cooperation with the Finnish industry and research community, to launch a program that creates excellent conditions for the entire surrounding ecosystem to develop information-secure end-to-end connections enabling technologies and solutions. Through the eco-efficiency made possible by the development of remote diagnostics, the program also supports sustainable development and strengthens the competitiveness of Finnish industry in the coming years, says Bittium Corporation's CEO, Hannu Huttunen.

Bittium press release

Danfoss receives EUR 10 million in funding from Business Finland for fossil-free solutions in industry and transportation

Danfoss' 'Fossil Free Future' program has been granted EUR 10 million in funding in Business Finland's challenge competition for leading companies. As a Business Finland leading company, Danfoss is launching a wide-ranging R&D and innovation collaboration with existing and new partners.

The program is divided into three areas:

  1. Highly efficient smart power electronics for electrification
  2. Electrification for mobile work equipment, smart energy storage solutions and charging infrastructure
  3. Increased efficiency and cost-competitiveness for green hydrogen production

Danfoss builds innovative fossil-free solutions that make the production and consumption of energy smart, responsible and efficient in industry and transportation. The aim is to create an ecosystem of power electronics that drives sustainable, cost-effective use of energy and that can strengthen the competitive advantage of all partners on the global market. Danfoss aims to establish an intelligent power electronics ecosystem through its business units of Danfoss Power Electronics and Drives, and Danfoss Editron.

In energy technology for industry and transportation, the number and total volume of solutions requiring power electronics is growing strongly. The program aims to stimulate this growth by developing solutions that enable a commercially viable green transition. For example, the program aims to achieve a cost of less than EUR 2 per kilogram in the production of clean hydrogen.

This and other areas require the development of new types of solutions with a very high level of power density and digitalization, aiming at an increase of more than 40% in energy efficiency. In terms of transportation solutions, the program aims for an overall improvement of more than 25% in fuel consumption. In order to achieve these goals, the Danfoss ecosystem is extensively researching new technological solutions, materials and digitalization, such as the use of silicon carbide in very high power-density solutions and replacements for rare materials such as earth metals.

– Our ecosystem strongly supports the Finnish Government's goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035. Furthermore, digitalization and sustainability are important parts of the suggested solutions. We have identified three critical focus areas, all of which are important for the energy transition. In all these areas, Danfoss has strong expertise and a unique position in the value chain, which gives us a significant advantage in leading the creation of an ecosystem in this field, says Mika Kulju, President, Danfoss Power Electronics and Drives.

– Electrification of transportation is one of the strongest enablers of sustainable development. Our speciality is improving the efficiency of mobile equipment. We still see a lot of room for improvement in technology, but circular economy solutions such as new materials and their recycling will also play an important role as the industry grows, says Kimmo Rauma, President, Danfoss Editron.

Danfoss press release

Zero4 digitalizes material flow management

During the past years in Finland, increases in industrial productivity have tended to be the result of investments in more efficient equipment, automation and enterprise resource planning systems. However, this growth potential has now largely been tapped, and new innovations are needed.

Konecranes' Zero4 project envisions digitalized material flow that combines automation, eco-efficiency and employees as the core elements of productivity. The objective is to create a unified material flow platform together with ecosystem partners, universities, research institutions and customers.

The Zero4 project focuses on four different research areas that have a key role in increasing the industrial productivity and competitiveness of Finnish companies and supporting the achievement of sustainability targets:

  1. Removing information barriers between humans, equipment, and control systems
  2. Reducing GHG emissions by moving to renewable energy and sustainable materials
  3. Reducing the amount of energy needed in material flows and using waste energy in production
  4. Reduction of safety incidents.

– Material flow platform combines the fleet of equipment to produce digital data on material movements. This will open remarkable opportunities for developing new equipment, system, and service solutions. Konecranes’ core competences in the ecosystem are the material flow solutions for the industrial industry and ports, and the development and commercialization of new technology, says Konecranes' Research & Innovation Director, Matti Kemppainen.

Business Finland has granted EUR 20 million in innovation funding to Konecranes’ Zero4 project and EUR 50 million to the related ecosystem in its national Veturi challenge. The project aims to significantly boost research, development and innovation activities in Finland and create hundreds of new jobs in the coming years. Solutions developed in Zero4 will support the reduction of GHG emissions, increase Konecranes’ Finnish exports and grow Zero4 ecosystem partners’ exports significantly during the next five years. Furthermore, R&D investments will enable Konecranes to transform selected production plants to global material flow flagship sites and model factories.

– The time is right to achieve the Zero4 mission and vision because the technologies we need are mature enough, and Finland is a hotspot for material flow research, products and services. This funding from Business Finland will enable the country to become a technological pioneer in the subject area and a significant exporter of related solutions, says Konecranes' Executive Vice President of Technologies, Juha Pankakoski.

Konecranes press release

Orion is building a unique pharmaceutical research ecosystem in Finland – data and AI to shorten the development time of medicines

Orion is launching a project to build a unique data- and AI-based pharmaceutical research ecosystem in Finland in cooperation with other companies, research institutes and universities. Business Finland has granted nearly EUR 10 million in funding for Orion, and reserved nearly EUR 20 million for the research institutes and companies participating in the ecosystem to be created.

The four-year ecosystem project led by Orion aims to reduce the time needed to research and develop new innovative medicines by using artificial intelligence and improving data processing and analysis. Efficient and optimal data use can reduce the pharmaceutical research phase by up to three years compared with the current situation.

The operations of the research ecosystem are based on sharing information and various types of expertise within the network and creating new data to validate novel predictive models. The project will create new competencies by bringing together experts in disease biology, pharmaceutical research and data science. The operating model of the ecosystem to be built during the project will be tested in new drug discovery projects while also creating international business opportunities for the ecosystem companies.

– Artificial intelligence guided use of data is a competitive advantage when developing new innovative medicines. It improves the probability of success and shortens the discovery and development time significantly. The volume of knowledge is growing continuously, and its optimal use requires more resources and special expertise. Finland has a great deal of high-level knowledge, but expertise is fragmented. By joining forces, Finnish pharmaceutical, biotechnology and technology companies, research institutes and universities can succeed in tough international competition. A well-functioning and thriving pharmaceutical research ecosystem will also attract talent and investment to Finland, says Outi Vaarala, Head of Orion's Innovative Medicines unit.

Orion press release

Ponsse and Epec: Towards sustainable mobile work machines

Forest machine manufacturer Ponsse and technology company Epec believe that the emissions and environmental impact of mobile work machines can be significantly reduced with new technology. In the field of mobile work machines, there are several development targets towards sustainable development.

The aim of Ponsse's FORWARD'27 programme is to develop solutions to significantly reduce emissions from mobile work machines, reduce their energy consumption and improve productivity. Improving operator working conditions with auxiliary functions and automation are also among the key components of the programme.

Ponsse and Epec will implement the FORWARD'27 together.

– Ponsse aims to be a technological pioneer in CTL forest machines and it aims at producing carbon neutral, sustainable and increasingly competitive solutions. With funding granted by Business Finland to leading companies, we can accelerate our development of sustainable and digital solutions for mobile work machines, says Juho Nummela, Ponsse's President and CEO.

The targets of the FORWARD’27 programme are achieved with the following measures:

  1. Ponsse will focus on developing sustainable next-generation CTL forest machines and smart data-driven digital solutions for them.
  2. Epec will develop control systems, solutions for electrification and automation, emission-free power solutions, and data collection, optimisation, and transfer solutions for heavy machines.
  3. The ecosystem of companies that will be built around the FORWARD'27 programme will focus on sustainable energy solutions and electrification of mobile work machines and utility vehicles, including the development of hydrogen-based and other alternative sources of power. In addition, the ecosystem companies will focus on developing digital and data-based solutions that support sustainable development and manufacturing autonomous solutions and the components required by them.

In the next few years, Ponsse and Epec will invest more than EUR 25 million to developing sustainable mobile work machines and create an extensive ecosystem around the development work.

– Epec innovates and develops technological solutions for future work machines to enable zero emission. The joint competence of Ponsse and Epec develops continuously and FORWARD'27 programme will take our abilities even further. The group of companies and partners included in the ecosystem created also play a key part, says Jyri Kylä-Kaila, Epec's Managing Director.

Ponsse press release

Read more about the funding for leading companies