Mechanical components for artillery systems or hardened parts for fighter aircraft. Whatever the area, the Swedish defence industry is world-class thanks to the high level of expertise of Swedish suppliers. In many ways, this is a legacy from the classic Swedish arms manufacturers.
PartnerTech Karlskoga AB, which is exhibiting at Elmia Subcontractor, manufactures mechanical parts for ammunition and weapon systems. In many cases, this involves extremely lean and unique processes to produce products to the highest standards.
Since PartnerTech Karlskoga AB merged with Permec Group in 2017, turnover has grown from 150 million SEK to 450 million SEK.
- We want to bring in our expertise in the design stage to make the final product both cheaper and easier to produce. We have expertise in all stages and work closely with customers' design departments, which means we are more than happy to provide input early in the process," says Anders Blomgren, Marketing and Sales Manager at PartnerTech Karlskoga AB.
High competence among Swedish suppliers
PartnerTech Karlskoga AB was born out of Bofors and the legacy of the original company still lives on in the Karlskoga area. Several companies that took over from Bofors are still in the area and the municipality has become a kind of centre for the Swedish defence industry.
- I would argue that we, in Sweden, are ranked highly globally in terms of both skills and costs. In addition, there is a solid body of legislation in Sweden that governs where and to whom we can export, and we must also talk about who we have offered and delivered to. Similar requirements do not exist in all countries. There may be a certain inertia around exporting, but with possible NATO membership I think we can get more similar conditions as other NATO countries, says Anders Blomgren and continues:
- If we look at the bigger picture, we have the JAS 39 Gripen, which is doing very well globally, and the competence among Swedish suppliers to the defence industry is really high. We supply Saab, for example, which in turn sells its products to the US, which is clear proof that we manufacture very competent products.
NATO can open up new opportunities
The long experience and high level of expertise in the defence industry in Karlskoga is also something that the global group Bodycote, which is also exhibiting at Elmia Subcontractor, is benefiting from. Two years ago, the group acquired a hardening shop in the neighbouring town of Kristinehamn, where, for example, the heat-treating of ammunition components takes place.
- We have been around for a very long time and have built up a great deal of expertise, which means that many larger customers turn to us. We are present all over Sweden and can also connect to a global network if necessary. When it comes to the defence industry, we try to focus our activities on certain specific units, so Kristinehamn was a natural choice. There is a long tradition and a great competence towards the defence industry and their special needs. Above all, it is about high quality and accurate documentation of the products, says Ulf Fritz, Marketing Manager at Bodycote in Sweden.
Bodycote has been operating in Sweden since the 1940s and offers a wide range of surface and heat treatment processes to both the civil and defence industries. Like Anders Blomgren, Ulf Fritz believes that possible NATO membership could create more export opportunities for Swedish suppliers to the defence industry.
- Swedish suppliers are very well positioned in the world and believe that NATO can open up more opportunities that may not have existed before, because NATO countries are happy to choose suppliers that are adapted to NATO, he says.