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Erik Skärberg got the forester job he didn’t know existed

Göteborg

 

A job as a forester in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. Working on sawmill projects in Europe and highly involved in the development of new digital solutions for forestry. Erik Skärberg, 28, has the forester job he never knew existed.

Since November 2021, Erik Skärberg has been working as a business developer at ForestX in Gothenburg, Sweden

ForestX is the fast-growing upstart on the digital development scene in forestry. In four years, the company has grown to nearly 50 coworkers and runs projects in Sweden and Europe.

 

The customer list includes well-known Swedish forestry and sawmill companies such as Sveaskog, Setra and Sydved. Outside Europe, the company has customers in Denmark, Germany and Austria. In Austria, ForestX runs projects together with Rubner and Pfeifer Group.

 

Since Erik Skärberg started at ForestX, he has worked in projects towards sawmills and with the development of ForestX’s own optimization system for sawmills; Optinex.

 

– I started directly in ongoing projects and worked side by side with Oskar Selmeryd, a colleague with a lot of experience from the tasks I now also have.

 

One third of ForestX employees in Sweden have an education and professional background in forestry. This means that there is a great deal of support and knowledge in everything concerning forestry.

The tasks of the business developers with a forestry background vary and follow the course of the project. In Optinex projects, which involve sawmills, it may look like this:

 

– We know what information we need in the project and then we analyse the sawmill’s available data and help with what data needs to be further developed. Then we process this into a model of the sawmill. Simply a digital copy with all activities, products, resources and market conditions. Once we have the complete model, Optinex can then find the optimal production plan for the sawmill and explore new scenarios.

 

An important part of the project is also to educate the users in the programme and which working methods need to be developed in order to make the best use of the benefits of the programme, says Erik Skärberg.

 

Erik Skärberg enjoys his life as a consultant.

 

– It’s very varied. You get a different perspective when you work with different customers. It’s developing for yourself too.

 

– We really develop the very latest support for the forest industry and it’s fun to work at the forefront of digital development.

 

ForestX has its own experienced system architects in Sweden with experience from forestry and works on the digital solutions together with ForestX’s development team in India. Erik Skärberg, who has a technical interest himself, also gets to take part in the development work with requirements definition and testing from a user’s perspective by understanding the customer’s needs.

 

The fact that working life could also include projects in Europe was not what Erik Skärberg had expected during the education to be a forester. But ForestX has several large customers in Europe, and the projects there lead to new insights and knowledge about the industry.

 

– There are some differences in how we work in the forestry and sawmill industry in Sweden and how they do it in Austria and Germany. For example, they work with a much larger number of products at the same sawmill, and they are big on further processing, especially glulam.

Name: Erik Skärbärg

Does: Business developer at ForestX

Favorite tree:

Pine

– As an orienteer, there’s not much that beats running through a nice pine forest.

 

Best nature experience:

–Cycling holiday with MTB in Grövelsjön and Ramundberget. Fantastic mountain environment.

Favourite apps:

Strava

UDisc

Spotify

 

 

Want to know more about ForestX?

Follow us on LinkedIn 

 

We are always looking for people with forestry education and the desire to work on the digitalization of the forest!

 

Want to talk more? Contact:

Erik Skärberg

Patrik Anderchen

Carl Barck

Sveaskog and ForestX launch KingPin – a new AI tool that increases the value of the forest

Gothenburg

 

KingPin is a tool that uses AI technology to help Sveaskog take care of the forest raw material in the best possible way! KingPin has been developed in collaboration with ForestX’s partner Tenfifty.

 

– Production is optimized both according to each customer’s unique needs and based on the appearance of our forests in the customer’s delivery area. Timber share is increased, and transport is made more efficient, to the benefit of customers and the environment. So the benefits are great – from several perspectives, says Mattias Forsberg, Production Manager Market Area South, Sveaskog.

Oskar Selmeryd, ForestX, David Fenrich, CTO, Tenfifty Stefan Jönis, ForestX, Anders Bjurström, CEO, Tenfifty, Mattias Forsberg, Sveaskog, Samuel Eriksson, Tenfifty, Christer Lindqvist, ForestX, Patrik Anderchen, ForestX, Jörgen Westman, Sveaskog.
In the spring of 2022, the teams from ForestX, Sveaskog and Tenfifty gathered in Gothenburg to evaluate the work.
Jörgen Westman and Mattias Forsberg of Sveaskog at the ForestX mainoffice in Gothenburg, Sweden.

– It is a long and successful project that is now coming together! It’s  been great to implement an AI project with a well-known customer like Sveaskog. Our ambition is to always be at the forefront of digitalisation. Now we look forward to new challenges together, says Christer Lindqvist, Marketing Manager and co-founder of ForestX.

ForestX and Dianthus in cooperation agreement: Unique forestry GIS and remote sensing expertise broadens ForestX’s offering

Gothenburg/Boden

 

ForestX and Dianthus enter into a joint collaboration.

 

– Dianthus has a unique expertise in the analysis of maps and images as well as GIS. We are entering into this cooperation to develop our expertise and to reach more forestry operations, says Johan Bergström, ForestX.

 

Dianthus AB, based in the north of Sweden in the city of Boden,  is run by Fredrik Walter, CEO, and Daniel Nilede. Dianthus’ technology is largely based on the research and development that Fredrik Walter has carried out both now and in the past within image and remote sensing.

 

– We may be very small, but we are also very sharp and work together with most of the major Swedish forestry companies, says Fredrik Walter, CEO of Dianthus.

Fredrik Walter, CEO Dianthus AB.

Dianthus specializes in systems development, geographic information systems and remote sensing in the forest industry. The combination of a very large industry knowledge with excellence in the mentioned areas has given Dianthus great competitive advantages and is a well-known name in forest Sweden. The company has customers such as SCA and Stora Enso. Dianthus was founded in 2000.

 

Unique technical competence 

 

– The cooperation will strengthen the competitive position of both of our customers. Dianthus has a unique technical competence in maps and analysis of map material, says Christer Lindqvist, Marketing Manager of ForestX.

 

– The market for remote sensing data is accelerating. Together with Dianthus, we are ready when the industry takes the next step, says Johan Bergström, ForestX.

Daniel Nilede and Fredrik Walter from Dianthus visiting ForestX’s main office in Gothenburg.

ForestX digitizes and creates value for the forest industry by combining new technology, process knowledge, business knowledge together with a portfolio of unique industry solutions. The company was founded in 2018 and today has close to 45 employees in Sweden and India.

 

Product development 

 

Both parties see the collaboration as deep and far-reaching. The companies will be jointly involved in product development and will share resources and expertise with each other.

 

– We will develop and disseminate the expertise that Dianthus brings to the collaboration in order to reach more forestry operations. This is a long-term strategic investment to develop the latest technology for the digitalisation of the forest industry, says Johan Bergström.

 

Some examples of Dianthus products and services:

 

Dianthus road package

Planning of forest roads. An advanced decision support tool with geographical analysis.

Based on the existing road network and known obstacles in the terrain, the off-road transport needs are then calculated. Based on this, it is finally possible to calculate where it is more profitable to build a road instead of driving the timber in the forest. Stora Enso is one of the customers.

 

Automated forest inventory services

National laser scanning and its freely available forest variables, together with a wealth of other readily available and useful data, have created a whole new set of conditions and opportunities to dare to think in new and different ways about traditional forest estimation. Dianthus has for a long time developed and marketed services for the automatic assessment of the forest in homogeneous stands and the estimation of forest parameters. The methodology is based on combining different data sources to create a reliable and practical forest overview in a structured and logical way. Over the past year, Dianthus has implemented AI/Deep Learning to take their forest overviews to new heights.

 

Samplanering.se

Collaboration portal for the reindeer husbandry and forestry industries. Forest owners and reindeer owners can plan and agree on actions in the forest in the same portal.

 

Visit Dianthus for more to read

Time to meet again!

Göteborg

 

Now we can finally meet as usual again! One Friday in May 2022 we met up for a snack and a drink at our main office in Göteborg, Sweden. Enjoy!

New projects in Europe with Pfeifer

Göteborg 

 

ForestX and Pfeifer continue to work together. After the successful project when ForestX developed OptiNex Glulam together with Pfeifer in Austria the two companies look into new ways of digitizing and optimizing timber manufacturing processes.

 

In December 2021 Stefan Hammerl, director of IT and Andreas Schierle, director of process and project management at Pfeifer, were on a visit to Gothenburg where they discussed upcoming projects. ForestX recently developed a new application within OptiNex for tactical planning for Pfeifer’s glulam production.

 

Pfeifer

Andreas Schierle, Stefan Hammerl, Pfeifer and Carl Barck and  Johan Eriksson, ForestX, continue to work together after the successful project developing OptiNex Glulam.

 

Furthermore, Pfeifer is planning to implement OptiNex in other fields of business as well. Therefore, Pfeifer and ForestX are currently planning to continue their successful cooperation.

 

  • The cooperation with ForestX is very valuable for us as we are not only looking for technical solutions but also for a partner with deep understanding of timber processes who helps us identifying the best fit within our organization and system landscape, says Stefan Hammerl, Director of IT at Pfeifer.

  • It’s inspiring to work with customers like Pfeifer who wants to and dare to work with the latest digital work tools in the sawmill industry. It’s in the collaboration with committed customers like Pfeifer we can make OptiNex even better. This means we can always meet the requirements and needs of the industry, says Carl Barck, CEO of ForestX.

Easy to test the outcome of different cases

Göteborg/Färila 

 

 

ForestX is now in the final phase of a feasibility study with Setra. What can Optinex achieve in a Setra sawmill? 

 

 

In the feasibility study, ForestX has built a full model of Optinex for Setra’s sawmill in Färila. The model mimics and reacts like the real sawmill with a few simplifications.

 

 

Oskar Selmeryd is project manager at ForestX and explains what sawmills like the one in Färila can achieve by using Optinex:

 

1. Crystal ball

 

– Optinex works like a crystal ball! What happens if we want to sell this type of product to this imaginary market at this imaginary price for the coming quarters?

 

– Or what happens if we change the distribution of products. How does it affect the production plan and net profit? We can model different scenarios and then evaluate. You can simply try what effect different types of business have on the net result. And it can be done continuously all the time.

 

2. Alternative calculation

 

– What effect does it have if we change market and products? How do we manage production, other commitments we already have and what does the utilization rate look like at the sawmill? Optinex can provide answers to all of this, Oskar Selmeryd explains.

 

3. Changes in the supply of raw materials

 

– The raw material supply can be changed; the material has a different diameter than planned, or comes in a different length distribution. Optinex can then show what effect it has on the saw, how the ability to pay changes and how to manage its previous commitments based on the change.

 

The customer Setra early on raised the question of what requirements are placed on the organization for Optinex to function best.

 

That part is therefore already included in the feasibility study.

 

– There must be an organization that can receive the tool. Who is responsible for maintaining the product, for example? says Oskar Selmeryd. We have simply looked at the organization linked to the use of Optinex.

 

– We have also looked at how Optinex can be technically integrated in the company. This is a completely new tool that they have not used before at Setra, then it’s important that you address both the technical and the organizational issues early, so that it doesn’t just land in someone’s lap when it’s done.

 

The feasibility study began in October 2021 and already in January 2022, Setra can see and evaluate how Optinex works in their particular case.

In the feasibility study, ForestX has built a full model of OptiNex for Setra’s sawmill in Färila. From January 2021 Setra can start testing and evaluation how OptiNex work in their processes.

 

 

About Setra:

 

 

Setra is one of Sweden’s largest wood industry companies. The company has eight production units around Sweden, seven sawmills and a processing unit where Setra manufactures glulam components and KL wood.

 

 

Setra is 50 percent owned by Sveaskog and 49.5 percent by the forest owners’ association Mellanskog. Other shares are owned by 1,500 smaller shareholders.

 

 

The group includes the subsidiaries Setra Trävaror, Pyrocell and Setra Wood Products. Setra has approximately 800 employees and sales of approximately SEK 4 billion.

 

 

About 65 percent of sales consist of exports to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Christer and Mohamed successful team in chess tournament

ForestX’s marketing manager and founder Christer Lindqvist participated in October 2021 in the event “Näringslivet möter förorten” (Business meets the suburb).

 

Christer and his chess partner Mohamed met other teams in a pair chess tournament. They played every other move, with the only restriction that they were not allowed to talk about the moves, but about everything else! The afternoon could be summed up with two wins, two losses and a draw.

 

  – With my very limited knowledge of chess, our success is entirely Mohamed’s merit. I also want to thank all the children from Eriksbo in Angered for good support during the matches, says Christer Lindqvist.

 

“Näringslivet möter förorten” is an event-based movement for integration that brings people together. The event is arranged every year in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Linköping and Malmö.

 

Read more here

ForestX in new major European project: Tactical operational planning at Rubner

During fall 2021, ForestX began work on three projects at the wood processing Rubner group in Austria. Rubner has operations in 20 locations in four European countries with over 1,300 employees.

 

The first project includes implementing tactical planning with OptiNex. Then follows a project with operational sawmill planning with OptiNex and a project for planning for glulam.

 

– It is a great acknowledgement to have a new big project with a strong European wood group as Rubner, says Carl Barck, CEO of ForestX. 

 

– We got new experiences from the Central European wood industry in recent work in the area, which we bring into the new project. We meet a great interest in digitizing all parts of the work process from our European customers.

Leading planning tool integrated with SAP S/4HANA for glulam industry in operation at Pfeifer in Austria

Gothenburg/Imst

 

Europe’s glulam industries needed a complete solution for planning production with a seamless integration with SAP S/4HANA.

Johan Eriksson and colleagues at ForestX developed a module to the company’s existing product OptiNex. 

 

OpiNex is a unique optimization planning tool that uses the full power of IBM Watson.

 

Since January 2021, the application has been in operation at Pfeifer group in Austria.

 

A large part of glulam planning in Sweden and around Europe takes place with excel sheets and simple computer support. The introduction of OptiNex Glulam means a direct step into a digitalized way of working for the wood processing industries who choose the application.

 

– OptiNex helps us to implement our business strategy with regard to the digitalization of production-related business processes in a consequent manner, says Stefan Hammerl, head of IT applications at Pfeifer.  

Johan Eriksson, solution architect, ForestX and Stefan Hammerl, head of IT applications, Pfeifer

– This is one of the most fun projects I have completed. We have worked closely with Pfeifer’s planners and they are happy with the tool. We have been able to do exactly what the customer wanted, says Johan Eriksson, solution architect at ForestX.

 

OptiNex Glulam can be configured to take into account a number of parameters in the optimization of the planning of glulam production, for example:

 

  1. Minimizing waste.

  2. Machine utilization.

  3. Optimized flows in the factory.

  4. Available raw material.

  5. Finishing operations. 

The scheduler can easily prioritize the various optimization parameters during use, depending on the current order mode.  

 

Unique optimization model for the customer

 

– We have developed a unique optimization solution where the model can be adapted to the customer’s needs. The solution is integrated with other modules in OptiNex. In this way, the solution becomes more complete, says Johan Eriksson, ForestX.

OptiNex Glulam is a true SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. The optimization engine is upgraded to use the industry leading capabilities of IBM Watson cloud optimization. OptiNex is seamlessly integrated with the business processes in SAP S/4-HANA, minimizing manual work and reaching a high level of security and availability.        

– Our event driven architecture is built from the ground up for maximum flexibility when integrating with customer solutions. Both regarding transmission methods and message formats, says Johan Eriksson, ForestX.

– With ForestX, we have found a partner who, on the one hand, understands our business model and, on the other hand, has transformed our – sometimes – very complex requirements into a scalable and user-friendly system with OptiNex, says Stefan Hammerl, Pfeifer.

 

Everything started in the summer of 2020. The integration of OptiNex Glulam was part of Pfeifer’s SAP S/4HANA implementation project. The integration project started in August, in early autumn ForestX was able to demonstrate parts of the application and in December tests and adaptations were made. In January, the application began to be used in production.

 

During the implementation phase an agile project team with optimization specialist, architects and planners from Pfeifer was formed. The project scope included adaptations of customer specific UI, Integration and Optimization models tailoring. With a team well experienced from similar projects we could learn from each other and complete the goals and timeline.

 

In early March 2021, Johan Eriksson and his team were in a phase of “hyper care”. In this phase, ForestX has extra resources in support for end users to ensure a smooth rollout.  

 

OptiNex Glulam is in operation at the Pfeifer facility in Imst, Austria since January 2021.

Digitized process

 

Other glulam manufacturing industries could become more digital in their production through OptiNex Glulam; the module can be used both in industries with a high degree of customer adaptation and in those that manufacture standard dimensions.

 

Johan Eriksson and colleagues are also looking at how the application can be developed to also include cross laminated timber, CLT. The method is common in Europe, but new to the Nordic countries. Cross laminated timber is used, for example, for house building where wall elements are completed in the factory. Everything from doors and windows to electrical outlets are removed from the wall modules. And what good would a smart planning tool do in these processes?

 

Johan Eriksson looks into the future:

 

– Well, you do not have to lay the wood with the best quality in the spaces you know will be removed…  

 

More about Pfeifer 

 

Pfeifer is a leading company in the European wood industry. In their eight facilities in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic Pfeifer practices their philosophy. Passion for timber – Passion for our work with conifer wood.

Pfeifer headquarters in Imst, Austria. The company has more than 2 000 employees in eight facilities in three European countries.

With Pfeifers more than 2,000 employees the group transforms the raw material timber in a precious range of products. A clearly structured range of goods builds the basis of the Pfeifer Group success. In over 90 countries, people trust in our products.

 

pfeifergroup.com

 

ForestX team on the project

JohanErikssonForestX

Johan Eriksson

Lösningsarkitekt

Area of focus
Problem solving, streamlining and automation.

Oskar Danielsson

Lösningsarkitekt

Area of focus
Problem solving, streamlining and automation.

webb_6659

Prasad Patole

Senior Technical Lead

Area of focus
Senior System Dev. with 10+ years experience from Microsoft Technology, MS Azure development and Azure Devops.

webb_6611

Pooja Rakade

Lead Software Engineer

Area of focus
Senior System Dev. with 5+ years experience within Microsoft Technology. Pooja has worked with solutions for the forest industry in the past (4+ years).

Innovative AI projects at Sveaskog linked together at ForestX

Gothenburg

 

When Sweden’s largest forest owner Sveaskog invests in AI, two projects link up at ForestX. Oskar Selmeryd at ForestX is currently leading two innovative AI projects for the forestry giant.

 

Swedish Sveaskog funded an AI-forum two and half years ago. Brainstorming gave the forum 27 ideas for developing the use of AI in forestry. Some have been tested and implemented, some will never be tried out and new ideas have been added.

 

During spring 2021 two projects are in progress where Sveaskog has chosen Finnish company CollectiveCrunch and Gothenburg-based Tenfifty for two pilot projects on how Sveaskog can use and develop AI in the forest. Both of these leading AI companies are also linked as industry specialists and partners to ForestX. When the projects now are underway at Sveaskog, it’s Oskar Selmeryd in his role as project manager at ForestX who’s in charge.

 

– We contribute with the knowledge between the forestry and the technical, he says. Sveaskog is a good customer to work with. The attitude towards AI is good and it’s exciting that they have a number of concepts they want to try.

Value optimization with a new tool

 

In the project with Tenfifty and Sveaskog, AI is used to find the optimal point between fulfilling customer requirements and value to provide the right instructions before felling.

 

– There are tools that provide support in the decision-making process today, but it is a time-consuming process, says Oskar Selmeryd.

 

There are no ready-made solutions in this project, a completely new tool is being developed. Tenfifty bring the experience and competence in terms of AI to the project, ForestX builds the interface. Through Sveaskog, there is access to data on all types of forest throughout Sweden, necessary to be able to train AI.

 

The purpose of the project is to develop a new tool for timber value technicians and corresponding professional groups at Sveaskog. They will in turn save time, have access to better quality pin files and have more well-founded options to consider.

 

– If you look at the longer term, you could get an even higher degree of automation by continuously taking in data from ongoing fellings and make corrections, says Oskar Selmeryd.

 

Synergy effect with an edge with Tenfifty

 

From Sveaskog’s point of view, it is of course the large degree of automated calculations that is interesting.

 

– To be able to do things faster and better, that is the great benefit, says Christer Ranvald, project manager at Sveaskog.

 

The collaboration with ForestX began early in the process:

 

– All the regular IT providers also have AI. Together with Christer Lindqvist at ForestX we looked for specialists in AI, and through that we found Tenfifty.

 

– ForestX knows forestry and can make it into products. Together with Tenfifty, it gives a synergy effect with an edge, says Christer Ranvald at Sveaskog.

 

In the spring of 2021, work will continue on developing and implementing the tool.

 

Better forecasts with LindaForest

 

The project with CollectiveCrunch is based on the company’s product LindaForest. It collects both public and general data such as climate and satellite information, together with customer-specific data on, for example, stands and felling. Together, it provides improved estimates of planned care and outcomes.

 

– The goal is improved estimates of the forest without having to make field visits. It should provide better outcome forecasts and be time saving. It also provides increased data quality, says Oskar Selmeryd.

 

The project will be carried out in Sveaskog’s area Södra Norrland and has just started. It will end before the summer of 2021.

 

Practical applications

 

AI is a concept that is used generously and the hopes for what AI can solve are high in all industries.

 

– AI is a term that is sometimes used a little fluffy. Here we work with two practical applications. We’re doing something concrete and value-creating, says Oskar Selmeryd.

 


 

Sveaskog

 

Sveaskog is owned by the Swedish state. The main geographic market is Sweden. Sveaskog owns 14% of forest land in Sweden, spread across the entire country. The forest and its assets are Sveaskog’s core business. Conducting forestry operations and developing new business opportunities and applications for wood raw material, wood products and forest land are a major responsibility. Sustainable development permeates every aspect of Sveaskog’s business.

 

Sveaskog had sales of SEK 7.209 million in 2019 and in average 807 employees throughout Sweden.

 

Sveaskog.se

 

CollectiveCrunch

 

CollectiveCrunch is a leader in AI in the forest industry. The company collects climate, geo- and process data and “crunches” the information into AI models. All for better predictions about forest holdings and forest management. Five of the top ten forest companies in the Nordic region are customers of CollectiveCrunch.

 

Collectivecrunch.com

 

Tenfifty

 

Tenfifty develops and implements customized customer solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to optimize, automate, predict and forecast customers’ operations based on all types of data. Tenfifty has over 15 years of experience in delivering stable AI solutions to customers in Europe.

 

Tenfifty.io