2010: K-Master, Prototype to Product – The Difficult Transition, Thor Hukkelås

Speaker:  Thor Hukkelås, Kongsberg Maritime

Presentation: Thor Hukkelås-Productification K-Master


Kongsberg Maritime started in the autumn 2008 a feasibility study for a new operator workstation for aft bridge of Offshore Support Vessels (OSV). This experimentation and early prototyping phase ended with the decision to start a product development project, leading up to K-Master. The project started in January 2009 and was from the beginning divided into two main phases, – a prototype development phase and a following productification phase. After a few months of intensive work we reached the first milestone with a very successful market launch at the Norshipping exhibition early June 2009. K-Master got a lot of international attention and was rewarded “Excellent Design Brand” by the Norwegian Design Council in March this year. The productification phase is still going on and will have it’s first main milestone reached in August where the first Factory Acceptance Test will take place.

I served as Project Manager of the K-Master project during 2009. In the presentation, I will share with you some of the experiences gained during the development of this “piece of art” which I see K-Master as today. There are quite a few pitfalls and tumble stones along the road from idea to a final product ready to be launched to the market, but it is a very exiting and rewarding trip.

Thor Hukkelås holds a Masters degree in Engineering Cybernetics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim 1976. After first having been Scientific Assistance to prof. Jens G- Balchen he moved to Kongsberg in 1976 and started working in the Defence Division at Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk.

Hukkelås moved to Kongsberg Albatross in the beginning of the early eighties and worked then with the development of Dynamic Positioning systems. He then moved to a small start-up company in Kongsberg called MPS working with the development of simulators and trainers for the military. He started his own company in 1996 called TellMie and worked for many years as a consultant. The longest commitment was for 3 years as Norwegian participant in a European R&D project with objective to develop a small VTOL UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

Hukkelås also worked for 2 years in Riaydh, Saudi-Arabia as Senior Systems Engineer and Project Manager of an international team developing specifications for large C4IS system. After return to Norway again, he has been employed at SiMiCon and Kongsberg Seatex and is now Project Manager in the DP & Navigation Product Development department at Kongsberg Maritime. 

Hukkelås has been actively involved in the start-up of 3 companies and was named “Master of the Golden Feedback Loop” in conjunction with the 50-year celebration of the Institute of Engineering Cybernetics. His main interests are in the area of applied cybernetics, software and systems engineering, especially connected to maritime and aircraft Guidance, Navigation & Control systems.