1. Project summary

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In several industrial processes, a non-optimal use of resources prevails, something that could drastically be reduced by introducing smart ICT (Information and Communication Technology) tools that make real-time traceability solutions possible.
One rather spectacular application concerns the forestry-wood production chain where allocation of adequate raw material for specific final products remains a major challenge due to the complexity of the biological raw material. The magnitude of the problem, based on an estimation of the total production of sawn wood in Europe 2002, is approximately 25 million m3 of wood raw material going to waste, equivalent to €5 billion. A major reason is that important information regarding the raw material is not available throughout the process. The project will change the supply strategy from volume-based to knowledge-based.

photo.jpg The Indisputable key project will develop tools and knowledge to enable a significant increase in raw material yield and in utilisation of production resources, thus decreasing the environmental impact. The results will to a large extent be applicable to other biological raw materials, thus opening up opportunities for a wider use.
Making information available at different stages along the forestry-wood production chain requires automatic traceability systems. The developed systems will be based on the Individual Associated Data (IAD) concept. Communication between systems requires advanced information technology involving RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) transponders and cellular phones adapted to industrial use through increased functionality. Frontline electronics, mechatronics, software and nanomechanics R&D partners will develop these systems.

The function and the environmental effects of the Indisputable key systems will be implemented in different nodes of the forestry-wood production chain by key stakeholders like high-tech hardware and software developers and evaluated by world-leading industry groups and forerunner SMEs at hardwood and softwood forest industries in Estonia, Finland, France, Norway and Sweden etc.

2. Project objectives

2.1. Strategic objectives addressed

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The Indisputable key proposal addresses key objective ii) of IST Call 5 and more precisely Strategic Objective 2.5.8 ‘ICT for Networked Businesses’, research focus 2 ‘Extended products and services’, meeting its vision towards intelligent networked products and services including business transformations.
The Indisputable key project will enable an industrial breakthrough of information systems for biological raw materials such as wood. A powerful, distributed and ambient knowledge-based, network-oriented system will be developed to improve the use of wood raw material and production resources. New approaches to collaboration, planning and material management between businesses throughout the value chain will be enabled.
This will enhance agility, innovation and value creation.

The overall objectives are:

  • to improve competitiveness for sustainable raw materials
  • to improve SME’s and Europe’s competitiveness
  • to make new valuable environmental data available minimising waste and energy
  • to enable tracking back to the raw material

No company or country can achieve these objectives alone. An international effort, involving the industry, SMEs etc. is required. The proposed project represents a unique opportunity to achieve the objectives.
Exploration of these systems at different production stages will, by evaluating individual items’ environmental load (such as energy consumption, carbon dioxide emission etc.) throughout the forestry-wood chain, explain previously unknown relations between raw material and final products.

The work will thus provide an Indisputable key to the question: How can raw material yield and use of process resources be maximised to minimise the environmental impact?
SMEs constitute a substantial part of the forestry-wood chain and play an important socio-economic role as major employer in rural areas. A strategic objective is also to develop solutions tailored to the needs of rurally based SMEs by supporting training, organisational networking, process integration as well as improving adaptability and responsiveness to rapidly changing market demands and customer requirements.


2.2. The main purpose of the Indisputable key

The main proposal objective is to initiate and stimulate an industrial breakthrough in traceability systems for biological raw materials, specifically wood, leading to substantial economical and environmental improvements in the wood processing chain. This will be achieved through specifying, developing, introducing, evaluating and disseminating a powerful system for improving the use of the wood raw material and production resources of the European forest industry resulting in notable improvements to European competitiveness and sustainability of wood products.