Konecranes launched its new Zero4 research and innovation program to improve the industrial productivity and competitiveness of Finnish companies. Business Finland has granted EUR 70 million to Zero4, part of its broader “Veturi” program that aims to significantly boost research, development and innovation activities in Finland and create hundreds of new jobs in the coming years.
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 to ensure the continued competitiveness of Finland’s exports and economy.
Zero4 will be a Konecranes-led ecosystem of partners, universities, research institutes and customers working towards the vision of a unified material flow platform. The program will focus on reducing four major deficiencies in material flows: information barriers, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and accidents. The ecosystem is expected to consist of more than 70 partners by 2027, with Konecranes to develop selected production plants into material flow flagship sites and model factories to boost research and innovation efforts.
“This is a result of long and hard work that we have done together with an extended team, and of course we are very proud and excited about it. It is strong recognition from Business Finland of the innovativeness and the technology leadership at Konecranes, and our ability to boost the Finnish economy. With the developed material flow solutions, Finland will become a technological pioneer in the subject area and a significant exporter of related solutions,” says Konecranes’ Executive Vice President of Technologies Juha Pankakoski.
In addition to the grant from Business Finland, Konecranes plans to invest EUR 40 million into Zero4 during the next five years to continue executing on its technology vision and sustainability ambitions, and to generate productivity growth. Funding from Business Finland will enable Konecranes and its ecosystem partners to significantly grow their broader research and innovation activities during the next five years.
Konecranes expects the program to boost its own exports from Finland, and further strengthen its efforts to decarbonize its own operations and value chain as well as to accelerate circularity. Konecranes is committed to reducing emissions in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C.