Student project sparked idea for new solution

In 2019, Troldtekt cooperated with a group of students who were given a chance to try their hand at high-tech challenges in production. The students turned a problem on its head and arrived at a completely new idea.

In spring 2019, Troldtekt opened its factory doors to four students on the MSc programme in Technology Based Business Development at Aarhus University. As part of an exam project, the group was shown several complex challenges that Troldtekt was seeking to address at its high-tech production facility in Troldhede in western Jutland.

In spring 2019, Troldtekt opened its factory doors to four students on the MSc programme in Technology Based Business Development at Aarhus University. As part of an exam project, the group was shown several complex challenges that Troldtekt was seeking to address at its high-tech production facility in Troldhede in western Jutland.

- Beforehand, all we knew was that the task had something to do with IoT (Internet of Things, ed.), and that it had to be solved by Troldtekt. After being presented with various challenges at the factory, we chose to zoom in on one of them in our project, says Eduard-Andres Hedensted, one of the students in the group.

The challenge involved the quality assurance that Troldtekt performs when the wood wool is mixed with cement, before the finished acoustic panels are cast. Orla Jepsen, factory manager at Troldtekt A/S, explains:

- To avoid visible lumps of cement on the panel surfaces, we have an employee who manually removes them. What we were looking for was a technology that could automate the process so we could use the labour in a smarter way.

Three days in the field

The students spent three days at Troldtekt’s factory, and then spent some time working on their technological solution to the challenge. The result was an idea in which a robot, via so-called machine learning, learns to identify cement lumps using a camera. Then, a robot arm can push the cement further down into the panel mixture so that it is no longer visible on the surface.

- We had a very good dialogue with Troldtekt along the way, and we were able to interview employees and collect data from observations of production. The three days at the factory were crucial, because if we had simply been presented with the highly technical challenge on paper, then it would have been much more difficult to arrive at a solution, says Eduard-Andres Hedensted.

Fruitful for both parties

When the group presented its idea, it immediately prompted an enthusiastic response at Troldtekt.

Student project sparked idea for new solution | Troldtekt

- They really thought outside the box, and came up with a solution that we would never have thought of ourselves. Our focus has been on removing the lumps of cement, rather than on whether they could be pushed down and hidden in the panels. All I had been thinking about beforehand was wanting to help a few students with their project, something that we enjoy doing. However, I never expected to get such a specific and constructive solution to a particular issue here at the factory, says Orla Jepsen. The four students also benefited from the process.

- We were very warmly welcomed by Troldtekt, and received a lot of answers and feedback when we needed it. For us, it has been fascinating to learn about a particular product and how it’s produced. During the project, we’ve seen how what we learn on the degree programme can be applied in the real world, says Eduard-Anders Hedensted.

Troldtekt participates in education

Social responsibility is a key value at Troldtekt, and shouldering some of the responsibility for educating young people is no exception. Each year, the company receives many enquiries from students who are interested in using Troldtekt in their projects. And we set great store by this interest.  

FACTS: About the project

  • The four students – Eduard-Andres Hedensted, Lasse Nielsen, Philip Schmidt and Lavinia Stratulat – undertook the assignment at Troldtekt as part of their Technological Business Model Innovation (TBMI) course.
  • TBMI is one of the main courses on the Technology Based Business Development degree programme at the Department of Business Development and Technology (AU BTECH) at Aarhus University’s campus in Herning.
  • The practical assignment the students have to complete is called a TBMI Challenge. The challenge is presented by a company, and has to be solved technologically