What creates a culture of innovation?

Sandvik employees love a good challenge. Case in point: when they recently let a giant Sandvik mining machine self-drive through a glass labyrinth.

“Working with the latest technology to solve challenges that no one has ever really solved before, that keeps us interested and motivated to work at Sandvik,” says Jarkko Ruokojärvi, Global Business Development Manager, Automation at Sandvik.

Thinking outside the mine

While a glass labyrinth might not be a typical everyday challenge, thinking outside the mine has seen Sandvik stay at the forefront of technologies like automation. In fact, years before the automotive industry was even talking about concept vehicles, Sandvik’s self-driving loaders and trucks were already successfully working underground.

“In the 1990s we started to identify and cherry pick the best new technologies,” Ruokojärvi says. “We then looked at challenges our customers faced and blended the technologies to create a system that was useful, and that worked.”

Collaboration is key

“The cool thing is that our customers challenge us to take bolder steps forward,” Ruokojärvi says. “That's why our automation team, like any team at Sandvik, collaborates closely with the customer.”

This close collaboration also means that Sandvik is able to really understand the differences and different needs that its customers have, enabling Sandvik to rapidly turn new innovations and ideas into reality.

“When you give a finished product to the customer and they see that we actually listened, it’s priceless,” Ruokojärvi says.

Glass labyrinth

The perfect mix

The Sandvik Group invests heavily in innovation, with approximately 2,600 working as researchers and around 50 R&D centers worldwide. From engineers to coders, it’s a blend of competencies that work together.

“Our global presence means that we recruit and offer jobs all over the world,” says Lovisa Bergendal Lindstedt, responsible for Global Leadership & Talent Development at Sandvik. “This means we have a great blend of employees, both those who bring years of experience and knowledge from Sandvik with them, but also new talent that brings fresh ideas and thoughts.”

Sandvik’s open culture and common drive for innovation doesn’t just help Sandvik as a company, it also helps to drive and develop its employees.

“As well as striving together towards our lofty goals, we also have a culture that lets everyone speak their mind,” Bergendal Lindstedt says. ‘It’s a culture where entrepreneurialism and innovations can grow and where people care for the well-being of others.”

Björn Rosengren at the glass labyrinth

From mines to medical

With business segments that cover everything from mining to metals, material technologies and renewable energy, Sandvik is everywhere.

In fact, everyone touches something every day that can be “traced back to Sandvik,” as Mats W Lundberg, Sustainability Specialist at Sandvik, points out.

“I’m proud that our technology contributes and makes a difference to some of the world’s biggest challenges too, like climate change and ways to use resources more efficiently," Lundberg says. “Our research actually turns into something tangible — a product. It’s not just another scientific report.”

A job that always evolves

Back at the glass labyrinth, Ruokojärvi tells us that he’s been with Sandvik for more than 10 years. He started as a Systems Designer in the R&D department for Automation, which has grown rapidly in the time that he has been there.

“Being able to work with people from different backgrounds and combining that with new technology to solve problems, it’s exciting,” he says. “It gives you the opportunity to really do something challenging and be at the forefront of your industry.”