AI pioneer

Meet Marcus Wallberg – Gränges’ first expert on Artificial Intelligence. Reducing waste is one of the first areas he will focus on with help of the new technology.

He still feels rather new at work, does Marcus Wallberg, the man who is Gränges’ first AI engineer. Small wonder. He only graduated from KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, in December last year, earning a master’s degree in Computer Science. Just a couple of weeks later he became part of the Research & Innovation team in Finspång. He says he is looking forward with great anticipation to a role that he has been involved in defining, at a company he describes as “innovative, global and just the right size.”

So why Gränges?

“An important thing that attracted me to Gränges was the company’s connection to China,” says Wallberg. “Before I started at the university, I studied Chinese for three semesters. I really look forward to visiting our production facility in Shanghai.”

And what will be his focus areas?

Asking Wallberg to describe the importance of artificial intelligence for the industry proves to be a bit difficult, as the scope of AI is so broad. But he does say that wellknown applications such as self-driving cars, image recognition in your smartphone and language translations are important areas to study, in order to develop the technology for other areas that apply to Gränges. “For many people it’s a big change to work in cooperation with computerized intelligence, but in five to ten years, when we look back, we will probably ask ourselves why we didn’t start earlier,” says Wallberg. “With my insights into AI and machine learning, I hope I can contribute towards Gränges’ process to develop new materials.” Wallberg’s thesis at KTH focused on the prediction of lightning strikes in Ghana with the help of AI modelling.

With my insights into AI and machine learning, I hope I can contribute towards Gränges’ process to develop new materials.
- Marcus Wallberg, AI engineer

Even if that sounds far from Gränges’ daily operations, it is experience that he has great use for in his new job because safety and maintenance are areas where AI’s predictive capacity could be highly relevant for the company. For example: by collecting and analyzing large amounts of data it is possible to predict risks, such as the chances of a fire in one of the rolling mills, or when a machine is going to need maintenance. During 2019 Gränges will implement the company’s first AI project, focusing on scrap optimization and increasing the company’s share of recycled aluminium. Today, two thirds of Gränges’ total input materials is recycled aluminium, most of which comes from internal process scrap. The long-term goal is to recycle all internal process scrap (26,000 tons) as well as to increase the share of external recycled aluminium to 20 percent.

Front runner. When he’s not at his desk at R&I, Marcus Wallberg enjoys running in the woods.

“Reducing waste is crucial both for the environment and for the company’s profitability. And there is a lot of exciting AI research that concerns sustainability and environment that I hope we at Gränges will be able to benefit from; for example, reducing our carbon footprint.” It’s been an intense first months at Research & Innovation for Computer Science theorist Wallberg, especially seeing as he is the only one in the department who so far lacks detailed knowledge of aluminium. Tensile strength and dispersoids are just two of the many new words he has recently learned.

Marcus Wallberg

Age: 28.
Lives: in Solna, just outside Stockholm; commutes to Finspång each week.
Title: AI & Machine Learning Engineer.
Background: Master’s in Computer Science at KTH (2018); other studies at Singapore University of Technology and Design and Zhejiang Wanli University.
Personal interests: Plays drums, piano and guitar. “If the weather is good I like to go running, and in the winter I go skating.”