The three nominees were selected by a jury of experts who – according to the head of the Estonian Trade Development Agency Tanel Rebane – took into account different economic indicators, the values applied by the companies, readiness for innovation, and contribution to the society as a whole. Investor of the Year will be announced at an award ceremony on October 11, 2019.
The Estonian Investment Agency is happy to introduce the three nominees: the best of the best in the Estonian FDI.
Ericsson Eesti AS
Ericsson, a company with already long traditions in Estonia, is investing to deploy an innovative intelligent automation system at its manufacturing facilities here. Ericsson’s partner ABB (Estonia’s Investor of the Year in 2014) is providing a fully automated flexible robot cell solution for the final assembly of 5G radios. The partnership will enable enhanced connected services, Industrial IoT and artificial intelligence technologies in the future.
With the help of partners, among them the Nordic-based telecommunications company Telia, Ericsson has brought automated guided vehicles, Augmented Reality (AR), and a huge number of sensors to life at Ericsson’s manufacturing facility in Tallinn, Estonia, via a dedicated cellular network. The resulting mobile communication is delivering the capacity, customization, and control needed to scale and secure the connected factory, improving manufacturing operations.
The first solution to benefit from the dedicated cellular network is Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) delivering product components from warehouse to the production lines. The AGVs can now communicate with the control system, provide a live stream of data and video, as well as use the dedicated network to open doors. Transporting components is a labor-intensive, costly and repetitive task where AGVs can save time, reduce the risk of damaging components, and cut waste.
The second solution is Augmented Reality (AR) troubleshooting, which is providing an interactive method for the quality control and testing of electronics components. By using AR glasses or terminals, the troubleshooter gets an overlay with all manuals, instructions and collective knowledge of other troubleshooters, allowing them to quickly identify potential problems. Field tests have shown a 50 percent reduction in time spent on troubleshooting circuit boards when using AR.
The third solution enables the Tallinn factory to monitor the environment using mobile sensors to measure moisture, temperature, noise, light, and carbon dioxide. The goal is to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment while minimizing the risk of production defects. The dedicated cellular network has the capacity to handle thousands of sensors in a factory, allowing them to be relocated as the layout of the factory evolves.
Estonian Cell AS
AS Estonian Cell is an East Estonia based aspen pulp mill, which started production in April 2006. The company is owned by the Austrian Heinzel Group.
The company, in Estonia specializing in aspen bleached chemi-thermochemical pulp (BCTMP), has completed a €20 million investment in the Northern Estonian town of Kunda which will increase the company’s production output as well as reduce its impact on the environment.
In the 13 years that the company has been in business, it has invested €50 million on top of the original investment of €153 million, Alfred Heinzel, one of the owners of Estonian Cell told ERR.
Estonian Cell’s aspen pulp mill in Kunda launched production in 2006. With €205 million, the facility, which produces chemi-thermomechanical aspen pulp for export, boasts one of the biggest foreign greenfield investments made in Estonia over the last decade. The company employs 90 people directly, and generates work for around 500 employees within its value chain.
One of the world’s biggest companies in the automotive sector, Daimler AG is known for its strategic view on technology-related investment. In the recent years, the company has invested considerable sums in the Estonian-based ride sharing company Bolt and the Estonian-founded tech startup Starship Technologies that is building a fleet of autonomous robots designed to deliver goods locally.
“Daimler’s mobile services have 22 million users around the world and the services range from combined transportation to ride sharing, head of Daimler’s mobile and financial services Jörg Lamparter commented after announcing that Daimler will lead the €159 M investment round in Bolt. “Taxify, a fast-growing ridesharing platform with a global ambition, will be an extension to our growing network of mobility services.” According to Bolt’s cofounder and CEO Markus Villig, the company will use the funding for technological development and expansion on European and African markets. “Our biggest challenge is growing the best team,” Villig said.
When Mercedes-Benz Vans, the global full-line supplier of vans and related services owned by Daimler AG, first started cooperation with Starship Technologies back in 2016, the focus was already on strategic cooperation. “With its involvement as lead investor, Mercedes-Benz Vans underpins its strategic, long-term collaboration with Starship Technologies,” the comapany stressed in a press statement again in 2017.
Furthermore, Daimler has turned strategic partnership when cooperating with startups into a corporate philosophy. They are assisting the companies they invest in by immediately adding strategic value from day one.
The Investor of the Year award is a part of the Estonian Entrepreneurship Award initiative. Awards are given out in five categories: Investor of the Year, Exporter of the Year, Design Applier of the Year, Family Enterprise of the Year, and Innovator of the Year.
The best in each categories will be announced at the gala “Best Estonian Companies 2019”, which can also be seen live on Estonian national television.