(2000), "TRIBOLAB EUROPA - plans to conduct R&D and contract research in tribology at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 52 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/ilt.2000.01852eab.002Download as .RIS
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TRIBOLAB EUROPA - plans to conduct R&D and contract research in tribology at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden
TRIBOLAB EUROPA – plans to conduct R&D and contract research in tribology at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden
Keywords Tribology, R&D
It is the objective of the Division of Machine Elements at the Department of Mechanical Engineering to establish a research centre for tribology with the provisional name TRIBOLAB EUROPA. The main reason for taking this initiative is to create better forms of co-operation with industry. Additional reasons are to obtain access to attractive measuring and testing equipment through strengthening our resources, and to maintain in the long term a leading-edge competence in the field of tribology and rheology that is adapted to the needs of industry.
The planned research centre is to be built up in direct co-operation with the companies that need the know-how and measuring equipment which the centre will have at its disposal. A suitable form for this co-operation is the establishment of TRIBOLAB EUROPA. The co-operation with the University will guarantee access to the latest discoveries in tribological research. Moreover, as a result of the industrial connection, the research activities conducted within the University will to an even greater extent be adapted to the future needs of the companies.
Business concept/mission statement
TRIBOLAB EUROPA is to offer its partner companies competence for R&D and contract research in the field of tribology, rheology and condition monitoring. TRIBOLAB EUROPA's testing and measuring equipment is to be adapted to the existing and future needs of its partner companies. Through combining leading-edge competence with the most highly advanced testing and measuring equipment, TRIBOLAB EUROPA is to develop and reinforce its position as a resource for the development of industry in this field.
The European dimension is to be actively supported through marketing in the EU and through an endeavour to connect companies from the whole of Europe to the research centre.
The objective is that TRIBOLAB EUROPA should be fully built up and in operation during the year 2001.
This requires the following measures:
formation of a board with representatives from the University and companies;
analysis and inventory of the companies' need for equipment for R&D and measurement;
assessment of the volume of future contract research from the companies;
the compilation of financial and technical data as a basis for planning;
the drawing-up of a financing plan;
persuasion of financiers;
decisions concerning financing;
formal establishment of the research centre;
purchase of equipment and adaptation of premises;
commencement of operations.
The realisation of the idea behind TRIBOLAB EUROPA requires a clear commitment from the companies. The activities of the research centre are to be adapted to the existing and the future needs of industry and are to be conducted with the fundamental aim of reinforcing the competitiveness and development of the companies.
The participation of the companies is regulated through the establishment of the research centre TRIBOLAB EUROPA, whose activities in turn are regulated by a board where the companies are represented.
The board is responsible for the aims and direction and the management of TRIBOLAB EUROPA, as well as for following up the centre's activities.
The companies' task in the starting-up phase is to specify which types of measuring instruments and testing equipment should be procured for the planned activities. These requirements should be based on the present and future needs of the companies.
Prerequisites for financing
The main prerequisite for establishing TRIBOLAB EUROPA is that external financing can be arranged. In this connection the EU's Structural Funds constitute one of the main financiers. The condition for financing through the Structural Funds is that national financing can be arranged first. Optimally the Structural Funds can then contribute capital that amounts to the same sum as the national contribution. Consequently, the national capital is thereby doubled.
Examples of national and other financiers are the University, county administrative boards, NUTEK (Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development), foundations, etc. In addition, the companies themselves constitute a source of financing.
As far as is known, the EU's Structural Funds can be utilised to finance fixed assets, i.e. machines, fixtures, fittings, buildings, etc. The Funds can also be utilised to finance operational costs during the initial phase of building up and starting the research centre.
A decision on financing through the Structural Funds requires that the national share of the financing should be arranged first.
Running the research centre
TRIBOLAB EUROPA will be located in its own specially allocated premises on the University campus. The activities will be led by a person functioning as a managing director and specially employed for that purpose. One of the main tasks of this person will be, on the basis of the companies' product-related problems, to specify relevant measuring and computational methods, as well as market and sell TRIBOLAB EUROPA's testing and measuring activities on the European market.
The concrete assignments will be carried out by engineers hired on short-term contracts and, possibly, permanently employed engineers.
TRIBOLAB EUROPA will be run as a separate unit within the University, and consequently the research centre will be responsible for its own results and its own financial management.
The long-term objective is that TRIBOLAB EUROPA will be developed to form an independent unit. When this is achieved, the research centre can be converted into a company and can be located outside the University. The connection to the University's research activities and competence development will be guaranteed and maintained. In such a situation the ownership can be divided between industry associations, companies and people connected to the University.