Agenda Step 4. Increase flexibility

If customers’ stringent requirements in terms of product features and services are to
be met, at the same time as the cost of energy and raw materials, and thus inventory,
increases, flexibility in production and distribution must be improved. This requires
technology that allows more processing options and fast switch-over. This is partly in order
to produce smaller batches of niche materials while maintaining quality at manageable
cost, partly to allow substitution between different raw materials, or between raw
materials and energy, as price and availability fluctuate in the world market. To increase
the flexibility in existing processes requires detailed knowledge of the process variation
that can be tolerated to achieve the target material properties – and an ability to keep
the process within these tolerances. The processes therefore need to be robust and
repeatable. At the same time, knowledge of the variations in material properties that
can be tolerated in order to achieve a certain function can be used to further increase

The goal is that the Swedish metal industry should be capable of producing niche materials
in a short time and in small quantities at a competitive cost, in order to enhance
competitiveness and resilience against economic fluctuations.