In Finspång, progress is being made on the journey towards a new industrial revolution 

Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery AB manufactures gas turbines which are sold all over the world. At the same time, they are driving the development of the digital system of the future.


It is one of the world’s fastest growing industries today. Additive manufacturing, the method of building new products using different types of 3D printers, has created whole new conditions for product development.

With its development, manufacturing and export of gas turbines to customers worldwide, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery has put Finspång, on the industrial map. They were among the first to test new additive manufacturing methods, and the first 3D printer was purchased back in 2009, when the method was in its infancy. The printer allowed the testing of the new way of working in order to understand what requirements machines and digital systems would need to meet in order for the method to become part of the industrial toolbox.

“We see ourselves as an advanced user and test site for new digital solutions, and we can test and push them in the right direction. Working with our colleagues around the world, we are developing the method so that more people can use it,” says Andreas Graichen.

Andreas Graichen, Development Manager for Additive Manufacturing at Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery. 

Andreas Graichen, Development Manager for Additive Manufacturing at Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery. 

World-leading manufacturing

For a long time, additive manufacturing was something that was only used to produce prototypes. Today, it is quite a different situation. After several major digitisation initiatives, Siemens AM’s workshop in Finspång became the first in Sweden to focus on industrial additive manufacturing. Today, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery is the world leader in the additive manufacturing of metal components.

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods where materials are removed, such as turning, additive manufacturing involves adding materials instead. The material is laid in several thousand thin layers, and the 3D printer builds new products from nothing. It allows cost-effective series production of highly complex components.

Lead times are reduced by up to 90 percent, and as production is more precise, the products can be customised and streamlined while reducing manufacturing and repair times. Development processes can be shortened from years to months or even weeks.

AI quality assures production

The development work has led to several digital innovations. One of the most important is the AM monitor, which monitors the manufacturing process and helps technicians assure the quality of production.

“Each layer is normally photographed and manually checked by a person. It’s a demanding job as several thousand photos have to be looked at. We therefore developed the AM monitor, which goes through all the photos and alerts us to any deviations,” says Andreas Graichen.

The AM monitor quickly scans the images and gives them a numerical rating from 0–1 in near real-time. This way, the technicians can stop the printer immediately when something is wrong and prevent the wastage of materials and energy.

“It is not uncommon for there to be problems at the start of a new production, but then – once we have made adjustments – it runs more smoothly. The system speeds up the process,” says Jonny Valette, AM Technician at Siemens in Finspång.

He started as a print operator at the factory two years ago, but for the past six months, he has been working on updating the settings on the AM monitor based on the monitor’s rating. The goal is for the product to be perfect.

“I like working in a place that focuses on digital development. If you’re not at the forefront, you’ll easily get left behind, as development is moving so fast,” says Jonny Valette.

Minimised information loss

Another important element of modern digital additive manufacturing is the creation of secure CAD/CAM tools, which produce the drawings that the machine then uses to print the product. No information is lost on the way from the drawing in the computer to the product – which requires advanced systems.

Jonny Valette believes that his duties have become more enjoyable in line with digitisation and the new technology.

“Today, I work a lot with programming and preparation of the files sent to the machine, which then performs the work according the drawing. Before that, I would have gone over to the machine and prepared it physically for a new job. Now, I simply send the program file via my computer,” says Jonny Valette.

Comprehensive system controls all parts

With many different programs and software in the manufacturing process, a Manufacturing Execution System is required. This is a comprehensive system for controlling and monitoring of the production processes. Together with colleagues in Italy, Siemens in Finspång has therefore developed and customised a monitoring system for the business.

“There was no Manufacturing Execution System suitable for additive manufacturing, so we asked our colleagues in Italy to redevelop a system previously used for the automotive industry. It has now been implemented at the factory. We have the first version and a new update has been developed over the summer,” says Andreas Graichen.

Protects the assets

Another step in the digitisation may also have been the most important: encryption. From an ownership perspective, there are certain risks involved with the digitisation of an industrial plant, as unauthorised persons can access files containing intangible assets such as drawings and material recipes. In the future, files at Finspång will be encrypted to a far greater degree than they are today.

“Implementation is under way, but it’s not entirely straightforward. There are so many different systems that have to be adapted and work together,” says Andreas Graichen.

The fourth industrial revolution

The major digitisation initiatives are thus helping Siemens in Finspång to assure better quality, to minimise the loss of information between computer and machine, to improve communication between the different parts of the factory and to increase the security of intangible assets. At the same time, it has become a better workplace with more enjoyable and more development-related tasks. Finspång is therefore a pioneer in what is called the fourth industrial revolution.

“I am convinced that additive manufacturing will be a fully established manufacturing method in five to seven years. We are at the forefront and showing that this is the way to go,” says Andreas Graichen.