LUT-yliopisto elektroniikka-alan tutkimuskeskus
Created 11.6.2024
Updated 12.6.2024

LUT University will set up a new research and testing centre focusing on the reliability of electronics and components on its campus in Lappeenranta. The project is funded by the Regional Council of South Karelia, the City of Lappeenranta, and LUT University and aims to create a flexible service model for electronics industry actors alongside the university’s existing research services.

“The idea for the centre came from electronics companies. This type of competence centre is new to Finland, and we’re now assembling a set of competencies for doing things no one has done before,” says Tommi Kärkkäinen, associate professor of electrical engineering at LUT University.

Expertise and large-scale equipment under one roof

Technical reliability has become a key differentiator that makes companies stand out in the electronics industry. Devices and components have decreased in size but are used in increasingly challenging conditions. This leads to new types of problems that require extensive testing to achieve required reliability. 

The achievement of sustainable development goals and the electrification of heavy-duty transportation, industrial vehicles and marine transport require extremely high reliability from power electronics.

Power electronics refers to electronics that controls machines and devices, such as electric motors. It is one of the focus areas of LUT’s electricity and energy research and one of the most important factors in the future competitiveness of the electronics industry.

“The green transition requires many types of power electronics. That opens up significant business opportunities for our company,” says Janne Kuivalainen from Danfoss Drives Oy.  

“The equipment for the new research centre will be purchased based on the needs of the electronics industry. The aim is for large equipment to be accessible to everyone so that companies won’t need to invest in their own,” Kärkkäinen says.

New devices are needed for stress testing and analyses. Kärkkäinen mentions that items such as an environmental test chamber are already on the list of future purchases. In addition to research and testing services, the research centre will offer continuing education and train new experts in the field.

Service needs determined with a survey and workshops

Industry players have shown great interest in the project. In the planning stage, the establishment of the centre was recommended by several leading businesses in the field, such as Danfoss Editron Oy, The Switch Engineering Oy, Kempower Oyj, ABB Oy Drives, Danfoss Drives Business and Vaisala Oyj. 

Companies will have the opportunity to offer input on what services the centre will offer. Ideas will be developed in a workshop on the Lappeenranta campus in late August. In addition to the workshop, businesses can express their wishes in an online survey.

“The centre will be up and running already in 2024, and its capacity will be increased over the next two years. Our aim is to create a long-standing service concept that we can adapt according to the needs of the operating environment,” says Kärkkäinen.