På flera av världens största idrottstävlingar och i aktivitetsparker runt hela jorden används redskap som tillverkats i Skellefteå. Smarta val och lyckade satsningar har bidragit till att en stor andel av Nordic Sports, Latitude 64:s och Fugu Sports produkter går på export. Nordic Sport är en av världens största…
Skellefteå’s ever-evolving wood industry
The wood industry has been one of Skellefteå’s most important sectors for several hundred years. Due in part, not surprisingly, to its proximity to the raw material, forests, but also because the entire industry has continually developed and, in many cases, spearheaded development.
Today, Skellefteå is a development centre for wood science in Sweden and has assumed pole position when it comes to transforming the Swedish construction industry. One important key to this success is collaboration.
“We have an advantage in that, traditionally, we’ve always worked closely together in the region, “says Anders Gustafsson, project manager at Swedish research institute, RISE.
“Moreover, because there haven’t been that many different organizations, cooperation between companies and different parts of the industry has been important, creating an affinity that has resulted in deep collaboration.”
He continues: “Skellefteå’s expertise in wood science became widely known in Sweden due to an approach based on the triple-helix model, which entails close collaboration between academia, industry and government. This collaboration started to take shape back in the 1990s, and today it’s pursued through WoodCenter North and RISE, which bring industry and research together in different ways.”
Academia and industry
“WoodCenter North is part of Luleå University of Technology and pursues research and development issues that companies in the region consider important,” says Gustafsson. “Here at RISE, we also act as a link between academia and industry, pursuing research and development projects alongside tests and trials. Companies can approach us with ideas and processes that they’d like to develop. Naturally, this results in a creative and stimulating environment in which innovation flourishes.
“Another important factor behind Skellefteå’s development in wood science is that the municipality has dared to get involved and invest,” he adds. “When the Lotsen office building was constructed from wood in 1998, it was quite a risk. But the municipality was bold enough to head the project. I think that set the tone moving forward.”
SEK 8 billion in sales
Timber firms Martinsons, which has played an important role in Sweden’s transition to increased wood construction, Skellefteå Snickericentral and Norra Skogsägarna’s with its plant in Kåge are just a few of the companies that have helped put Skellefteå at the forefront of Sweden’s wood industry. Companies in the wood industry also generate large numbers of jobs, which are crucial for Skellefteå’s development.
“The companies that can be said to be a part of the wood industry in Västerbotten County are good examples. According to their own figures, they generate annual sales of about SEK 8 billion and employ 2,700 people. Together with the job opportunities created by the rest of the industry, this gives you a good idea of the importance of the wood industry to development in the Skellefteå region,” concludes Gustafsson.