«Construction starts this fall. We are excited to get started», says Bak.
New equipment and new solutions must be tested and documented before they can enter the market. MIL will be a national laboratory for pilot testing within mechatronics and related fields. The purpose of the lab is to strengthen innovation of businesses throughout the country and shorten the time to market when introducing new products and solutions.
«A national lab like this in Grimstad, will boost the entire region. MIL will help us develop and keep expertise – not only in Agder but also in the rest of the country. Today, companies need to do a lot of testing abroad. When MIL opens, they can do more or all of their testing at home», says Bak, Project Manager for MIL since April 1st.
MNOK 100 is needed to complete the lab. MNOK 20 was given by Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland in the revised national budget for 2015. University of Agder, GCE NODE and others are working to secure the remaining MNOK 80. NODE companies have pledged to spend MNOK 50 in the lab the first five years.
MIL includes facilities for testing of electric and hydraulic components and systems, scale models and complete prototypes, as well as robotic welding and other automated processes. More services will be added before the lab opens. Bak has already received numerous requests from the oil and gas sector.
«We have also received inquiries from companies about specific projects. Clearly there is a need for this lab in the market», says Bak.
A partnership with NCE Eyde has also been initiated.
«Unlike the regional oil and gas industry, the process industry already has some test facilities. Still, there are facilities they would like to find in MIL. This fall we will meet with the process industry to see how MIL equipment could be adapted to meet the industry’s needs», says Bak.