Interview with Karl Fahlström from Swerim

On October 1st, 2018, parts of Swerea KIMAB and Swerea MEFOS came together and created the research institute Swerim. We wanted to know more about the new institute, and interviewed Karl Fahlström, Research and Development Manager, Production Technology at Swerim.

What is Swerim?
Swerim is an industry owned research institute working with the whole value chain for metallic materials. We have four main research areas: mining, metallurgy, materials and production technology. We work in both short and long publicly financed research projects and receive funding from an important amount of industrial missions. The projects are often classified. 

In what ways does Swerim work with lightweight?
Swerim is mainly working with lightweight in the area for production technology. We develop, adapt and optimize components and manufacturing processes for lightweight. Joining different materials is one example of an important focus area for us. In lightweight constructions, you need to maximize the benefits of the materials used, either through selecting a high performing material (e.g high-strength steel), or through mixing materials in their construction (multi material construction). Either way it puts a high demand on the joining between the materials, and that it is satisfactory, since the joining is often the weakest link in the construction. Apart from joining, we also work with lightweight in carving treatment, heat treatment, simulation and mechanical properties in combination with good material comprehension.

What can Swerim offer LIGHTer’s network?
Swerim has good material competences, and in combination with a good understanding of the manufacturing process, the proposition becomes unique in that it creates adapted manufacturing solutions for lightweight. We have laboratories with a wide range of equipment and several complete testbeds. Our latest testbed is ”Testbed Joining”, where we have the possibility of laser welding, spot welding, mechanical joining, gluing, MAG, laser-hybrids as well as TIG. You can come here and test what process best fits your construction. Our testbeds are open for both large companies as well as small and medium enterprises. 

Why is a LIGHTer membership valuable for Swerim?
Our purpose is to generate industrial benefits and societal benefits. We need to be visible and made accessible so that they know that we are an available resource that can be used. Within the LIGHTer network we meet both existing customers and potential new ones. We need to analyse trends both in Sweden and internationally, and we also see this as a way of spreading competences. For us, LIGHTer is a good platform to contribute to Swedish lightweight research.