February 28, 2016

How Kalmar is building the digital terminal

Lasse Eriksson

Vice President, Digitalisation, Cargotec

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, is on a drive to become a world leader in intelligent cargo handling. We believe our first-ever hackathon, taking place in Tampere in April, will help accelerate this.

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, is a major force in the cargo handling industry. We have operations in over 100 countries, and of the 600 million shipping containers in active circulation worldwide, around 150 million - or one in four - are handled by a Kalmar solution.

However, we recently updated our strategy to reflect the fact that our future success - and that of our customers - will rely on more than simply having the strongest equipment portfolio on the market. We're now on a drive to become a world leader in intelligent cargo handling, increasing our focus on software, services and digital innovation.

There are a number of reasons that we've taken this route. For one, the use of technologies like automation, mobile and big data, will help our customers make their operations much more efficient. At the same time, innovations in maintenance have the potential to lower the total cost of ownership of our equipment. Last but not list, technology could also be used to make the terminal environment safer.

To date, Kalmar has made some big strides in this journey. Perhaps most significantly, we've invested more than €35 million in total to build the Kalmar Technology and Competence Centre in Tampere, Finland. There we have, the world's largest terminal automation test site. Consisting of six laboratories spread over five hectares, the centre allows our engineers and software developers to create and test end-to-end automation solutions on a never-before-seen scale.

Now, as the next step in implementing our strategy, we're about to open the doors of the test site and organise our first-ever hackathon.

What can a hackathon do for cargo handling?

Hackathons are currently surging in popularity in Finland. By now, a wide range of companies have successfully used the model to come up with ideas for innovative products and services. Hackathons are even being used in the industrial space, where they represent a major departure from the traditional way of working and lengthy research and development cycles.

We're just starting to unlock hackathon’s full potential as a co-creation concept. Companies are starting to recognise that it's more than just a fun way for some people to spend a weekend - it's an important step towards being more agile, innovative and collaborative.

At Kalmar, we see using the the hackathon model as a logical extension of our new strategy. Our plan to increase focus on digital innovation isn't just about making the most of new technologies - it's about changing our culture and working practices, and changing the way we co-create with other software companies, startups and universities, too.

In this sense, the Kalmar Technology and Competence Centre is ideally located. Kalmar has deep roots in the Tampere region, which is also one of Europe's foremost clusters of mobile work machines and home to three higher education facilities. It's a hotbed of talent and therefore the perfect place to organise an industrial hackathon.

Join Kalmar for CargoHack on April 8th to 10th

The event itself, CargoHack, will take place between April 8th and 10th, and the participating teams will be asked to help us "digitalise the terminal". We've devised a number of tasks to this end, covering areas like visualisation of terminal operations, use of mobile technologies, safety, and improving efficiency of the wider value chain around cargo handling. The event is organised in collaboration with Tieto Experience Hub and we'll be using their well-thought-out hackathon concept – CXHack - as the platform for the event.

To learn more, read the news story and visit the CargoHack website.

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