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The Polhem Laboratory

Published: 7 March 2011

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