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Hiab invests in multiple ways for R&D to secure global leadership in load handling

Hiab, part of Cargotec, reports on significant progress with the research initiative established in 2013. The academic partners in the research are the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin and the Silesian University of Technology, Poland. The project received EUR 1.4 million of funding from the EU’s Industrial and Academy Partnerships.

The project underpins Hiab’s commitment to remain the clear technological leader by championing forward-thinking and innovative product development. The "Hiab Method", which celebrates its 70th year in 2014, revolutionised load handling when first introduced. Hiab’s determination to remain at the forefront of the technological race is reflected through the ongoing investment in market intelligence, benchmarking customer insights and innovative strategic planning. An example of this determination is the EUR 2 million investment in Hiab’s product development and test centre in Hudiksvall, Sweden, announced in May. The investment is being made to ensure the ability to develop and test technologies even more broadly and deeply and to launch innovative new technology on the market more quickly.

To date, the research with the academic partners has concentrated on load handling equipment with a specific focus on the improvement of operational safety and equipment efficiency. Additionally, the research team was assigned to develop design strategies that incorporate advanced light materials in applications for load handling structures, in order to reduce weight and fuel consumption.

We are just over one year into the project and significant progress is being made.

Rafal Sornek, Vice President of Research and Development at Hiab, comments: "This collaboration is proving to be tremendously enlightening by combining resources from industry and academia. The programme is already delivering significant advantages, particularly when compared to the more traditional method of outsourcing the ‘innovation race’ to universities. Networking with external partners and working towards common goals is allowing us to create really valuable ideas and quickly adopt them for development."

"From Hiab’s perspective, the team of Hiab engineers and our new partners have integrated exceptionally well, and this has resulted in outputs that are far better than expected. For example, the new workflow is allowing a significant reduction in product development timescales and costs. We are also realising valuable efficiencies in the areas of prototype testing and advanced simulation. I would go as far as to say that we are introducing a revolution in how we design load handling equipment for the future," he explains.

"There is still a great deal to be done but the results obtained so far are very encouraging to all participants. In 2015, we plan to start training the product line research and development team in new technologies. Following that, the next stage of the research journey, from new technology to new products, will begin," Rafal Sornek concludes.

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