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Industrial digitalisation and net zero

Written by James Townsend

The future of digitalisation - engineered by AFRY

At AFRY we believe in creating a more sustainable future for all. That's why Engineered by AFRY is a powerful statement of purpose that guides every decision we make.

Black and white icons showing the 7 industries that AFRY works in: energy; manufacturing industry; telecom, ICT and defence; process industry; automotive and R&D;  food & life sciences; buildings; and transport infrastructure.

Industrial Digital Transformation

In recent years, the term ‘digital transformation’ has become increasingly popular in the business world. However, when it comes to industrial digitalisation, not many business leaders understand the full scale of transformation possible to their business. In this article, we will share practical examples of how AFRY is already helping companies to embrace it to achieve remarkable improvements in their operations.

Staying ahead of the curve

The industrial sector today is an amalgamation of technologies, products, and systems that are often scattered and disconnected. This disorganisation has limited the efficiency and productivity of industrial operations and has impeded the ability of companies to react to market trends and customer demands effectively. With the threat of financial losses and the risk of reduced competitive advantage, the rise of industrial digitalisation has become a viable option for many companies to improve their operations and stay ahead of the curve.

Significant Improvements can be achieved

Companies that have embraced digitalisation in the industrial sector have achieved significant improvements in their operations. For example;

Use case: Process Industry | Pulp & Paper. Renewcell is a textile recycling company based in Sweden. The company has succeeded in recycling and regenerating textile fiber from old clothes to turn back into fiber pulp. In scaling up production at their new plant in Sundsvall, Renewcell asked AFRY to help digitalise the textile recycling processes. This has led to increased profitability, optimised production, high efficiency and secured quality.

Use case: Automotive. Hertz is one of Scandinavia's leading car rental companies and they wanted a long-term digitalisation partner. AFRY was chosen due to high quality standards and many years of experience in systems management.

Use case: Energy & Power. Hitachi ABB Power Grids is taking the next step in its digitalisation journey by creating a digital twin of a robot cell in its production facility in Ludvika, Sweden. AFRY is supplying the advanced technology through its AFRY Real Digital Twin product.

These examples show how companies that embrace digitalisation can transform their operations, leading to increased efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, profitability.

Overcoming obstacles to take the first steps

Despite the potential benefits, many companies remain hesitant about adopting digitalisation in their operations. The obstacles they face can range from a lack of knowledge about digitalisation to concerns over costs, data security, and the need for digital skill sets. These fears are understandable, but they do not outweigh the potential rewards of embracing digitalisation in the industrial sector.

The construction industry has traditionally been seen as one of the slow adopters of digital solutions. Yet AFRY engineers have leveraged digital tools to enable a route to deliver technical success, financial viability, customer satisfaction and sustainable development. Read more.

Step 1: identifying impact areas of the business

Taking the first step in embracing digitalisation can be challenging. But it doesn't have to be. Companies can follow several steps to ensure a smooth transition into the digital era, but do consider very carefully if you can do this alone or need a partner who can help guide you through the ‘digital forest’.

First start by identifying the key areas of their business where digitalisation would have the most significant impact. Here are three different use cases where AFRY have supported businesses at this stage.

Process Industry | Pulp & Paper To advance the digital maturity of wood panel operations in Brazil, Dexco selected AFRY to develop an Industrial Digital Plan (IDP). Based on an Industry 4.0 approach, the plan provides Dexco with a roadmap of digital initiatives that will support strategic decision making in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

Manufacturing Industry Industrial Digitalisation Advisory Services (IDAS) assists company management in creating a digitalisation vision and strategy to direct future investments in production-related digital solutions.

Energy & Power | Energy Companies have adopted the AFRY Digital Use Case Approach as a means of leveraging the benefits of digital improvements in a systematic way. By partnering with an expert such as AFRY, your digitalisation efforts will be guided in a strategic and structured way, enabling maximum return on investment.

Step 2: collaborate with industry-specific experts

Once you have identified the priority areas, consider collaboration with industry-specific experts who can offer bespoke digital solutions tailored to your business. For example;

AFRY X has been created to help you accelerate your digital transformation. We have brought together our leading digital expertise and key digital technologies into one place to become the extended digital arm of AFRY to better help clients accelerate their digital transformation. For bespoke solutions that are tailored to your unique needs.

Energy & Power AFRY supports its clients across the entire energy value chain to transform business operations and digitalise processes as well as assets. Read more about operational and digital transformation for the energy sector.

Step 3: workforce training and change management

Finally, companies should ensure that their workforce receives training on digital technologies to implement these changes effectively.

Established and emerging digital technologies lead to new ways of doing business across all industry sectors. Shared knowledge is the foundation to accelerate the digital transformation to increase production efficiency and flexibility. AFRY’s Future Industry Training Programme helps companies do just that.

AFRY's role in enabling the digital transformation

AFRY has a critical role in paving the way for a sustainable future. By accelerating the transition towards a sustainable society, we are tasked with engineering solutions that protect the environment while simultaneously creating economic value. We have already shared some examples of supporting clients on their digital transformation.

As well as concrete client use cases, we encourage our experts to challenge the status quo and share their insights and expertise. Why not browse our Digitalisation Insights section showcasing the best of AFRY expertise, guidance and insights into digital transformation?

Food for thought: the best sector-focused use cases and insights to help you plan your digitalisation journey

Energy & Power

As well as the use cases in the previous section we invite you to read about the latest Digital Trends in the Energy Sector. Our experts regularly share their insights through our AFRY Insights magazine. Our clients value the range of energy webinars we produce. AFRY also produced a podcast series in which leading industry experts discuss how energy systems are responding to decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation. Watch Fuelling the transition now.

Nuclear AFRY X Real Digital Twin supports safer decommissioning of nuclear power 

Food & Life Science

Digitalising the food and life science sectors. The challenges and opportunities for businesses when it comes to digital transformation

Manufacturing Industry, Automotive and R&D

Automotive Industry 4.0 and the next generation of manufacturing requires advanced technologies and turn-key solutions. At AFRY, we are specialists in delivering automation systems for all industries.

Industrial Plants typically gather data from many sources and, by combining data on a common platform, production processes can be optimised, operation models can be developed and strategic business decisions can be informed through actionable insights. But how to get started? Read our thoughts on solving the digitalisation puzzle.

Industrial Plants. Value creation with plant modelling and simulation - AFRY and Siemens showcase Real Digital Twins.

Within Manufacturing Industry it is clear that digitalisation is a transformative force that will shape future industry, but many industrial companies are questioning how and what they should do to take advantage of digitalisation. Our insight article aims to answer those questions.

The digital revolution opens up a world of possibilities, complexities and dangers for our businesses. We meet these challenges by teaming up with you, bringing to the table market leading expertise within digital innovation, advisory, technology, quality and security. Discover AFRY Digitalisation and IT Solutions.

Manufacturing Industry. When digitalising a factory, old legacy systems usually need to be combined with new smart solutions. However, the cost for replacing all utilities, systems and software at the same time can be high. If implementation instead is made step by step, the cost and the risk level can be more attractive. New technology is released in roadmaps from suppliers, and Asset Management for industrial digitalisation helps you to plan what steps to take, when and how.

Manufacturing Industry MES is a platform, a Manufacturing Execution System, that connects systems on different levels and makes It possible to respond to the demands in a modern and competitive industry that strive towards Industry 4.0 and an excellent operation. AFRY MES - your digital platform for easier and more efficient production AFRY.

Sweden-based Löfbergs, one of the Nordic region's largest coffee roasteries, has selected the AFRY Pulse digital solution to increase productivity and efficiency at their production plant in Karlstad, Sweden.

Manufacturing Industry Wireless connectivity for plants is an important step towards industrial digitalisation. The 5G-technique can simplify and increase stability and provide better coverage. AFRY’s way of working with industrial digitalisation and connectivity helps you become more effective than your competitors. We put technology and digital solutions to work to increase your productivity and lower your cost.

Manufacturing Industry: ‘Digital Twin’ technology is a game changer, providing businesses with the opportunity to build, test and verify production equipment before it is physically available. Read more about the AFRY Real Digital Twin Framework.


Buildings The Digital City is a ready-made concept from AFRY that enables solutions that contribute to better quality of life and increased sustainability. A city that meets tomorrow’s demands on how people want to live their lives.

Transportation A cloud-based digital solution from AFRY, in a joint venture with Volvo Cars, provides the Swedish Transport Administration with road condition data - one of the first initiatives in Europe to share data from vehicles in daily traffic with road authorities on a larger scale. Read Digitalisation of the transport system.

Transportation: Bane NOR is a Norwegian state-owned enterprise responsible for the national railway infrastructure. With support from AFRY, Bane NOR now has a platform to provide them with efficient and digital solutions.

Water Water sector digitalisation – what does it mean for the citizens? 

Process Industry

Pulp & Paper Digitalisation – A land of opportunities for the tissue industry (2020).

Pulp & Paper Improving efficiency with digitalisation – Waggeryd Cell, Sweden. “AFRY Pulse is a platform that suits our needs today and, at the same time, allows us to continue developing and streamlining our business. Through the platform, we can facilitate the demands of daily work and simplify the follow-up of production,” says Peter Dahlbom, CEO of Waggeryd Cell AB.

Pulp & Paper Mondi Dynäs, part of the Mondi Group, a global leader in packaging and paper, assigned AFRY to deliver the digital solution platform, AFRY ProTAK, to optimise their production further in Väja, Sweden.

Pulp & Paper: Imagine any operation where the inventory information has over 20% margin of error. That’s what Forestry companies have to contend with. Precision forestry aims to change this. Read our insight article: Green Gold - Digitalised.

Pulp & Paper Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, has awarded AFRY an assignment to deliver a digital solution integrated with internal product logistics systems for its Husum mill in Sweden.

The challenges and opportunities for businesses when it comes to digital transformation

Although many businesses have reservations about digitalisation, there is no need to fear change. The rewards far outweigh the risks. Digitalisation offers significant advantages, such as increased process efficiency, higher quality outcomes, new business models and opportunities for growth. Yet lack of transparency can make it challenging for executives to identify, track and control large numbers of different digitalisation activities within their organisation.

Do consider who you could partner with to help advise on a structured approach that can truly transform your business. If you’re a CEO, a finance or project manager, or an industry decision maker, it’s time to take that first step and embrace the power of industrial digitalisation.


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Our offerings

If your business is ready to begin exploring how you can carry out a successful transition, explore the ways in which AFRY can help you today. Browse our offerings.