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Optronic is now a member of Big Science Sweden – an organization that helps Swedish companies to do business with Big Science facilities.
“There is great potential here for Optronic with the expertise it possesses,” Riham Rafael, business developer at Big Science Sweden says.

For a long time, Optronic has been building a valuable network in the research world. Since Big Science Sweden was started three years ago, it has been knocking on Optronic’s door with an invitation to join the supplier network of 250 Swedish technology companies.

Big Science Sweden acts as a link between Swedish suppliers and major global research facilities, such as the CERN laboratory, the ESS research institute, the European Southern Observatory ESO and ITER, the experimental reactor in France, which will create artificial solar power on Earth.

“We want to force the pace of development”

Big Science Sweden is funded by Vinnova, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. It is an initiative that will help more Swedish companies win procurements and it can contribute products, materials or services to the research facilities.

“We’d like to be involved and force the pace of development through our knowledge and expertise. At the same time, it is an attractive challenge since the competition is global. However, we’d rather choose to view our participation as opening doors to the many members who could be our partners in the future. After all, it is a group of numerous strong and competent companies,” Mikael Westergren, Sales and Marketing Manager at Optronic, says.

Budget for decades

Big Science Sweden has recently been granted funding for a new three-year period. Strengthening Sweden as a Big Science country is a priority for the state, which is investing heavily in winning international ground and there is a budget for decades ahead.

“This means that we are not sensitive to fluctuations in economic activity and we are trying to convey this to our Swedish companies. If you get the chance to deliver to one of the major research projects, it’s good business and a valuable recommendation. Some of the procurements from the research facilities are for many billion euros, and no Swedish company can manage this on its own. That’s why we pair companies, like Optronic, with different technology integrators. Nevertheless, these are big business,” Riham Rafael says.

Optics for detecting water in space

This year, Big Science Sweden, thanks to its ventures at CERN, has succeeded in bring home to Sweden an industrial return as large as its investment. But the industrial return will be greater – globally, Big Science is a multibillion market – so the potential for Swedish companies to deliver their services and products to the facilities is enormous.

In northern Chile, 2635 meters above sea level in the Atacama Desert, a major upgrade project is underway on the world’s largest optical telescope, which includes ESO as one of several international partners. Here, they are trying to detect water and particles in space from Earth and need optics that can do the analysis successfully.

Big Science Sweden has contacted Optronic to see if it is interested in participating in the procurement, which is planned to intensify around the end of the year.

“We have the right cutting-edge technology for this type of assignment and it is of course an honour to be discussed in this context. It shows we have accumulated a lot of expertise. We have been around for over 40 years and we have thousands of projects with over 500 unique customers. We have quite simply done everything that requires optical measurement technology, but space is unexplored territory for us,” Mikael Westergren says, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Optronic would contribute a lot of expertise to the Chilean project. Swedish quality counts for a lot in the world and we are happy to help in a procurement process. It would be a big hit for Sweden,” Riham Rafael says.

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