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Fighter Jet Maker Saab Joins Composites Collaboration

Japan’s Hitachi Energy is also joining Collab Composite with the aim of connecting international industry with innovative startups in the field of fiber composites.

Stephen Moore

November 25, 2023

3 Min Read
composites test bed
Image courtesy of Collab Composite

Collab Composite, a collaboration between Arctic Business and Piteå Science Park, was launched in Sweden in April 2023 with the aim of connecting international industry with innovative startups in the field of fiber composites. The collaboration is starting to bear fruit with the announcement that two leading companies have joined as partners in the project.

The first industrial partners for Collab Composite are Saab and Hitachi Energy. Both are currently developing products using composites and see the potential in accessing expertise and innovation through Collab Composite. “The collaboration with both companies is a milestone in attracting expertise, businesses, and investments to Piteå [municipality],” said Jens Lundström, CEO of Arctic Business.

Saab has long history developing composites

Saab, which has long been developing composite products for industries such as aviation, looks forward to collaborating with innovative companies in the composite field. "Several of our products, such as [the] Gripen [fighter jet], use fiber composites as an important and often necessary part of the construction. This demonstrates the potential of fiber composites, and we are very proud to be early partners in Collab Composite in Piteå. We look forward to contributing to new innovations and applications for fiber composites both in our products and in society," said Per-Olof Marklund, head of technology and innovation at Saab's aeronautics business area.

Hitachi Energy, present in Piteå since 2018, uses composite materials for developing products such as power transformers and high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) equipment due to their excellent insulating properties. In addition to time and business networks, Hitachi will also participate in steering groups and provide know-how and research expertise for the companies.

Sustainable composites crucial to Hitachi Energy's business

"When Collab Composite was established, we saw the potential to get involved early in the project. Sustainable composites are crucial for our manufacturing, including transformers. We are actively seeking collaborations that can contribute to our product development," said Tobias Hansson, country manager at Hitachi Energy.

Piteå municipality, through Piteå Science Park, has been involved in the Collab Composite initiative. Municipal Councilor Patric Lundström sees the collaboration with Hitachi Energy and Saab as a natural next step in making Piteå the leading hub in Sweden for the development of composite materials.

"There are currently world-leading producers and research in fiber composites in Piteå. We have worked hard to make Piteå an attractive place for companies and startups in the composite industry, including access to sustainable energy, investment in expertise, and competitive land prices. The collaboration with Hitachi Energy and Saab is evidence that this effort has yielded results," said Lundström (S).

Work is currently underway to attract composite companies and startups from across Europe to bring them to Piteå and present their solutions to the companies. The goal is to create new development projects in collaboration with Saab, Hitachi Energy, and other partners at Piteå Science Park in 2024.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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