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Scania to fund new chair in solid mechanics at the Royal Institute of Technology

Quality has long given Swedish industry an internationally competitive edge. New, high-quality products must be developed at lower cost to maintain this lead. As part of this effort, Scania has allocated SEK12 million to fund the Sverker Sjöström Chair of Reliable Structures at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (KTH).

“A greater commitment to research and development in the borderline area between materials science and design and production engineering is essential to the competitiveness of Swedish industry,” says Hasse Johansson, head of R&D at Scania.

The new chair, which will be instituted at KTH’s Department of Solid Mechanics, will be named in honour of Dr. Sverker Sjöström, who worked at Scania from 1947 to1985, including 22 years as director of engineering. Scania’s funding for the chair is equivalent to SEK 2 million per year over a six-year period.

The production and subsequent testing of prototypes has become increasingly expensive, and a great deal of money could be saved if these were replaced by analytical and computational methods. However, this approach calls for credible techniques of verifying product reliability and life. 

“The chair will provide a highly interesting link between academic research and industry-related problem scenarios,” comments Professor Peter Gudmundson, Dean of Solid Mechanics at KTH. “We foresee even closer cooperation with Scania, as well as with other industries, leading to new and exciting collaboration in research, education and industrial development.” 

Through his research and his work as head research and development at Scania, Sverker Sjöström made groundbreaking advances of decisive industrial importance in the field of reliability structures. Entitled ‘On random load analysis’, his 1961 doctoral thesis at KTH was a landmark in the field, contributing to developments in the areas of mechanics of materials and mathematical statistics.

“Sverker Sjöström’s time as the head of technical development at Scania laid a solid foundation for our progress. As one of his successors, I see it as essential to preserve and develop his outstanding legacy to us. The institution of a chair in his name is part of that,” adds Hasse Johansson. 

In 2003, Sverker Sjöström was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in recognition of his work, which provided Scania with significant competitive advantages in technological terms and was an important contributor to the company’s leading status in the truck industry.

Scania’s wide-ranging cooperation with KTH is notable for its long-term perspective. At present, this extends to the fields of production engineering, internal combustion engine technology, mechanical engineering, vehicle engineering, information technology and acoustics. About 15 PhD candidates from Scania are presently pursuing courses at KTH, while three of the university’s professors have Scania backgrounds.

The Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan) supplies one-third of Sweden’s capacity for engineering studies and technical research at post-secondary level. Representing education and research of a high international calibre, this covers a wide range of disciplines from the natural sciences to all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial economics, urban planning, human engineering and environmental engineering.

For further information, please contact:

• Peter Gudmundsson, Dean of Materials Science

and Engineering, KTH, tel. +46-8-790 75 48

• Hans-Åke Danielsson, Press Manager, Scania,

tel. +46-8-553 856 62

Scania is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, and of industrial and marine engines. A growing proportion of the company’s operations is comprised of products and services in the financial and service sectors, assuring Scania customers of cost-effective transport solutions and maximum uptime. Employing 30,000 people, Scania operates in about 100 countries. Research and development activities are concentrated in Sweden, while production plants are located in Europe and South America, with facilities for the global exchange of both components and finished vehicles. In 2004, invoiced sales totalled SEK56.7 billion and net income amounted to SEK4.1 billion.

[N05031EN] Hans-Åke Danielsson