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Giving business a technology boost

VTT offers its customers a complete range of services, from idea generation to outsourced R&D. Product and service development services are supported by foresight and strategic research, IPR and licensing services, and comprehensive testing and certification services.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the largest multidisciplinary technological R&D organisation in the Nordic region, and its activities cover everything from electronics to construction.

The synergies between VTT’s different research fields, its extensive facilities, and heavy involvement in EU projects and national innovation networks are a particular strength. They have also played an important role in helping VTT create a unique service concept aimed at enabling its customers see beyond the businesses they have today to the businesses they could have in the future.

With its multidisciplinary R&D expertise, extensive domestic and global networks, and value chain analysis know-how, VTT can help customers create new and improved products, processes, and services, drive competitiveness, and open up new business opportunities.
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Market foresight and strategic research

VTT’s wide-ranging expertise in technological and business foresight helps companies manage future trends and challenges and create a solid basis for their strategies. Its foresight and strategy methodologies have enabled small and medium-sized companies such as laser technology company, HT Lasertekniikka, to establish international partnerships with key end-product manufacturers.

Strategic-level technological research helps companies establish a good foundation for their new products, processes, and business and confirm the suitability of technologies for new product and manufacturing solutions.

One such area has been the work carried out by VTT biotechnology researchers on the behaviour and properties of hydrophobins and their potential for improving the properties of food products, such as the strength of the foam structure of ice cream.

New products and services

VTT’s product and service development helps customers move from existing technology into new product and service concept areas, by drawing on some of the leading experts in the field and supporting customers’ R&D through complex technical problems.

VTT has worked with Rocla, for example, on the use of radio frequency identification technology to recognise forklift loads automatically, leveraging the ability of RFID tags to be read from as far away as three to four metres, even when tags are covered in dirt, snow, or ice.

IPR and licensing

Another area where VTT has a lot to offer is IPR and licensing services. The latter can be very useful in helping build new business for a company by combining internal expertise and VTT’s research assets – as in the case of Nicanti, which has been able to produce a cost-effective original product authentication solution aimed at preventing counterfeiting and suitable for mass production by working with VTT.

Testing, inspection, and certification

VTT’s assessment, testing, inspection, and certification services offer fast solutions for operational and maintenance problems and pushing product development projects ahead. A wide range of services are on offer in this area, and VTT often acts as a third-party certification body to ensure that products, systems, and services comply with all relevant regulatory and other requirements. VTT is an approved tester of electronics intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, for example.

VTT has developed extensive expertise in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology; and RFID tags developed by VTT are now being used in areas such as automotive manufacturing to speed up production processes.

Making more of innovation and partnerships

In addition to giving companies access to the cutting edge of technological development, VTT can also help enhance their innovation processes.

Software security company, F-Secure, for example, was able to accelerate its product development by introducing agile software development methods developed and tested by VTT – and cut product development costs by up to 70% in pilot projects and the time taken to develop a new software product from 12 months to four.

Drawing on its unique set of skills, VTT can assume joint responsibility for developing new technologies and competencies and handle all or part of a customer’s R&D operations, advising them on the latest developments in a particular field and helping them identity new business opportunities.

The potential of this approach is highlighted in the Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies, which was recently created by VTT, the Helsinki University of Technology, and forest products company, UPM. This unique initiative will focus on new applications for cellulose as a raw material, intermediate, and end-product. Cellulose-based nanofibres can be used, for example, to alter the structure of the material and create products that meet future market needs more effectively.

> Jouko Suokas
(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)