Chemigate, the Bridge 1 / 2022 EN

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Bridge The

CHEMIGATE´S CUSTOMER MAGAZINE 2022

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”– Anatole France


EDITORIAL: Tom Schauman

Berner and Chemigate –

A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

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‘marriage of convenience’ is a marriage entered into for practical reasons. The reasons are often political or economic in nature. Finns are notoriously over-romantic, so we don’t know the concept very well. If you google a word for it in Finnish, then suggestions such as ‘vale-’ or ‘lumeavioliitto’ (‘fake’ or ‘sham’ marriage) come up. But that’s not what it is. The mythological Evangelical Lutheran marriage, on the other hand, is formed between two virginal partners for reasons of love. For such a thing, there is no need for Tinder or lawyers. But that’s not what our union is about either. To continue the metaphor, the situation is rather like two grown-up people deciding, after a long period of dating, that this partnership makes sense. I can honestly admit that Berner did not arouse any passion in me in 2020, neither for nor against. Berner invited Chemigate to meet the family, with his hair water-combed and his Sunday-best suit pressed. The potential father-in-law gave it the thumbs-up. The family was less inspired by the would-be son-in-law’s youthful charm or muscular body built from hard work than by the potential that he represented. The father-in-law gave the union his blessing, Berner proposed and Chemigate responded in the affirmative. Mazel tov!

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Rockefeller, the Elon Musk of his time, once said that “a friendship founded on business is a good deal better than a business founded on friendship.” In fact, while building the friendship between two families, the business needed to be developed so that the potential that had impressed the mother-in-law would not turn out to be lot of hot air. In giving its blessing to our relationship, the Berner family committed to supporting Chemigate in its growth plans. And of course, this also had an influence on Chemigate’s decision to marry. We already had quite a few plans in our minds, some of them quite advanced, on how to develop our core business. And much of this has been developed recently. Examples include a long-term agreement that will make Chemigate Anora’s exclusive barley starch partner in the paper and board market, and the reorganisation of the speciality chemicals business, which has increased sales in this segment by more than 35% each year for the past three years. New initiatives have also gained significantly more substance. The foundation stone of the Lavender production line has been laid, and a digitalisation project called Cerveza, aimed at

improving the efficiency of the order-supply chain, has been launched. You can find out more about this on these pages. We have managed to do all this while the whole world has been learning the Greek alphabet (altogether now: “o-mic-ron”) and Procurement has had to buy/swap/steal all sorts of raw materials because there has been a shortage of everything. The latest development to make the situation worse is the so-called ‘special operation’ in Ukraine. The theme of our magazine is growth. Growth requires healthy soil to succeed. An Espoo wine enthusiast would use the French word ‘terroir’, which embodies perseverance and the ability to keep promises. In moments like these, we must find a way to ensure continuity without opportunism. This is not an easy task, and all the goodwill that we have put into customer relationships – like coins into the piggy bank – is needed once again. Whatever you do, you get punched in the face. Right and left hooks pass through the guard. Even so, it is good to remember that losing is not when you fall, but when you refuse to get up.


Contents

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Berner and Chemigate – a marriage of convenience

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Protecting tomorrow

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A growth story

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One Machine. Two Grades. Three DryStrength Agents. Sounds fun, right?

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New trails of barley

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Project Lavender represents a significant investment and business expansion for Chemigate

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Our cloud service concept increases the efficiency and productivity of the order-supply chain

Training makes a better boss!

Editor in chief: Tom Schauman (tom.schauman@chemigate.fi) Editorial staff: (texts and pictures): Tom Schauman, Maisa Kantola, Annaleena Stenman, Martin Ekman, Jujo Thermal, Bluugo, Jenga Markkinointiviestintä Editorial contributors: Aki Laine, Kalle Kainu, Miikka Laukkanen, Mika Vuokila Layout: Jenga Markkinointiviestintä Oy

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Determining nitrogen content in the quality control of starch

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Do you need a mentor?

Markku Nurminen – A gardener’s spring

The best potato flour

The Bridge is Chemigate´s customer magazine.

Listen now –Chemigate podcasts now available

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Petit Fours

Paper: Multiart silk Feedback: marketing@chemigate.fi You receive The Bridge magazine, since yourname is in Chemigate´s stakeholder register.If you do not, for some reason, wish to receive any post from us, please inform us of the matter by sending an e-mail to marketing@chemigate.fi. You can also order the magazine or provide us with feedback via the same e-mail address.

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Protecting tomorrow In June last year, things started happening at Chemigate. The diversified and fast-growing, strongly Finnish family company Berner bought the majority of our shares. But who or what is Berner and why was this action taken? You will find the answers to these questions in this article.

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he story of the Finnish family company Berner Oy began when the Norwegian Sören Berner arrived in Helsinki in the 1880s to study the market in the city of 40,000 inhabitants. He decided to start a business in Finland by bringing herring directly from the fishing ground in Stavanger, Norway, to Helsinki. Over the years, life has moved on and many things have changed, but one thing is and will remain: “Everything we do, we do for a good future. We work in such a way that, even after 100 years, we all still feel good about life and living. The purpose of our existence is to act as protectors of tomorrow. ” Today, Berner’s diverse product range is run by four different business areas: Industry, Agriculture, MedLab and Consumer Products. If Berner was often described in the past with the adjective “solvency” in particular, the terms “internationalising” and “strongly growing” can also be raised alongside it today.

The largest acquisition in Berner’s history Strategic acquisitions have always been part of Berner’s growth, but 2021 was a real year of acquisitions, with a total of six carried out. Of these, the acquisition of a majority stake in Chemigate was the largest acquisition in Berner’s history, which further strengthens Berner’s role as a significant and long-term industry partner in line with the company’s strategy. At the same time, Berner Group’s supply to the forest industry increased significantly – in addition to basic chemicals, magnesium products and solutions related to analytics and quality management.

“As a Finnish family company, we are very pleased to be strengthened by a domestic company that uses domestic, bio-based raw materials,” says Antti Korpiniemi, CEO of Berner Oy. Chemigate’s customer orientation, sharpness, innovation and continuous development of operations strongly contributed to the acquisition. “During the process, our understanding of how well-managed Chemigate is also strengthened,” Korpiniemi says.

The importance of committed personnel Berner has always had a strong understanding of the importance of committed personnel as a prerequisite for profitable growth. As early as the 1940s, the company introduced flexible working hours, occupational health services and dental care. Berner’s values – honest, down-to-earth and dependable – have been around since the 1950s and are strongly reflected in everyday life. 94 % of the staff feel that they are able to work in accordance with these values.

Berner Group • Net sales € 324.3 million (2020) • Personnel 536 (2020) • Head office, product development and own production facilities in Finland • Subsidiaries in Finland, Sweden and the Baltic countries • www.berner.fi, #protectingtomorrow

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A growth story The budget for this magazine is around € 15,000, and it will take us three months to produce it.

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he magazine is sent to 1,000 people. In addition to which, a few dozen are distributed throughout the year on customer visits (btw, fyi, not many magazines are distributed through Teams). Last week, we posted a story about our fitness campaign on the LinkedIn platform. It took 15 minutes, didn’t cost anything, and as of today 1,500 people have seen it. This will come as no surprise to just about anyone, but illustrates what the people of Silicon Valley call ‘disruption’. A LinkedIn post doesn’t use a single sheet of paper. Chemigate has already been riding the waves of this revolution for ten years. In 2010, about half our sales went to printing paper production.

How do we have the nerve to talk about growth? The answer to this question can be found on the following pages. Before these more (and less) poetically named projects, there were just ideas. We knew we were good at some things, but in the depths of our souls there was a nagging feeling that we could do more. On the other hand, this also led to the realisation that some things we should not do at all. To stop doing something that you’ve always done, ladies and gentlemen, is way more difficult than doing something new.

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Project 1: STEED

We were pondering about the same issues in connection to specialty chemicals in the spring of 2018. Although the ranks of believers were not united, the decision was made to invest once again in the rather overlooked specialty chemicals product family. Roughly speaking, you could say that the objective was largely in or out. The challenge was certainly not in the products or their functionality, but more in the resourcing and focus. If a company is strongly seen as a supplier of bulk starches only, specialty products can easily be overlooked. Both by people in the company as well as by the customers. However, the belief in the products was strong. Today it is safe to say that the investment paid off. The product group, which is growing at an annual rate of more than 35 %, is standing on its own two feet and continuing to positively develop. There are already sales on three continents and new fields of application are being found every year.


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Project 2: EXPANDING THE PRODUCT PORTFOLIO

Today, more than 60 % of our sales comes from board. Producers of both board and paper are increasingly using native starch as a binder. For a long time, we watched this development from the sidelines with equal parts worry and annoyance, as our barley starch supplier became the most important native supplier in the Finnish industry to Finland. However, as Altia developed into Anora, they ended up stating that their rather limited forest industry was no longer a core business. A rare win-win-win situation arose where Anora was able to focus its resources on the ethanol side and Chemigate was able to replenish its product portfolio. At the same time, customers got a supplier that has the desire and know-how to invest in the development of forest industry products.

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Project 3: LAVENDER

With regard to Lavender, it must be said that it partly forced us to redefine ourselves. It may be difficult to see how important it is to define your own know-how when it comes to investing millions. Earlier, we saw ourselves as a producer of modified starches in the Finnish paper industry. In 2022, Chemigate will be a processor of natural polymers, an expert in the board and paper industry, and a partner in the Nordic forest industry. No! No, this is not just corporate jargon. Why don’t you try to get seven million from investors for the further processing of polysaccharides when you have been painting a picture of yourself as a simple starch pusher for ten years. Sure, our company’s “extreme makeover” was propped up by that other, even greater revolution – namely, the green wave. For example, potato ten years ago was roughly as sexy as your grandfather in a bikini, but now it is seen as a renewable raw material with a superior carbon footprint. Our products are now more attractive than ever before, both inside and outside the forest industry. In fact, we have so many green initiatives at the moment that if we do not cut them down, we will need € 50 million in investment over the next two years. Of course, this is not making headlines at a time, when battery factories are being built in Ostrobothnia and billions are being sunk into social reform, but the amount is still considerable in relation to Chemigate’s turnover of just over € 70 million.

Project 4: CERVEZA

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The third revolution, which is also in the megatrend class, is digitalisation. And oh yes, we are also going to steal an apple from this tree. Here’s what we thought: since we’ve been on this journey together for decades, we have to be more than a supplier – we are a partner. In addition to this, we are a fairly close partner to many of our customers, at least geographically. And what could the partner do to make the business run more smoothly? At least try to remove unnecessary interfaces. The Cerveza project, generated by this chain of thought, has been extremely exciting. The world is full of unsuccessful examples of projects like this. But we believe in success, and we also have strong evidence of it, because one of the fruits of Cerveza has already been sampled in our own sourcing of raw materials. Through the new digital platform, we were able to integrate Anora’s native products into our own systems with no additional resources – something that would certainly not have been possible a year ago.

Project 5: BETTER BOSS

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But how to control growth? Subject-related expertise is not enough here. It makes no difference if you are a savant in your own area – if your role includes leadership, then you are never finished. By general comparison, we are no worse at management than others, but as this article has shown, our company is growing like a teenager’s shoe size. The number of knobs is increasing, the industry is changing, the age structure is evolving, and our organisation is already different to what it was before. Now is the time to improve. Many of us developed as managers in line organisations, and some were trained in the military. You can imagine that in a modern expert organisation, it is not necessarily possible to draw direct lessons from either school. Growing as a manager is extremely important, which is where “Better boss” comes from. As a great man once said, you can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. The following pages shed a little more light on these current strategic projects.

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One Machine. Two Grades. Three Dry-Strength Agents.

Sounds fun, right? On January 1st, 2021, China expanded their import ban to be in full effect for all solid waste. This includes all recycled paper and OCC (Old Corrugated Cardboard). For years, China has been a major importer of recycled cardboard and paper materials. Until that day.

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he Chinese Paper- and Cardboard industry has long had difficulties receiving enough fibers of good quality and strength. As many might know, the number of times paper fibers have been recycled significantly impacts the quality and strength of the fiber. Virgin fibers are of course the best in these aspects, but they are very expensive as well. The import ban makes it hard for papermakers to achieve strength and good quality, as they must make do with large ratios of multiple-times-recycled paper fibers. To make matters even more difficult, recycled fibers seem to be quite inert to synthetic cationic strength agents, like polyacrylamide. This has led to papermakers overdosing synthetic polymers and strength agents, to achieve even slightly better strength properties. This is also cheaper than buying more expensive virgin fibers.

In comes PrimeBOND - A ready-to-use, starch-based multifunctional biopolymer. Over the last couple of years, Chemigate have been able to help more and more customers improve the quality and strength of their paper-based products. All the while bringing significant cost-savings, improving overall runnability and maximizing profits. Below is a fresh example of how we have been able to ease our customer’s headaches. This customer in the Asia Pacific area had almost exactly the problems described above. They were dosing high levels of synthetic chemicals, dry strength agents and starch, with minimal improvements in strength or quality.

SPECIFICATIONS AND TARGETS Grades: • •

BCTMP (Bleached Chemi-Thermo Mechanical Pulp) NBKP (Needle Bleached Kraft Pulp) LBKP (Leaf Bleached Kraft Pulp) Coated Broke

Other Relevant Chemicals: • •

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Synthetic Dry Strength Polymer, 24 kg/ton Wet-End Starch, 9 kg/ton

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PAC ASA, 14 kg/t

Concept: •

PrimeBOND dosed 1.0 kg/ton (as is) to the Machine Chest

Targets: •

Cost savings through: o Reduced Dry Strength Polymer Usage by 8 kg/ton o Reduced Starch Usage o Reduced ASA Usage o Reduced Steam Costs (through reduced starch cooking) Other targets: o Improve Scott Bond strength to 900 J/m2 o Maintain or improve Tensile Strength o Maintain or improve COBB values

RESULTS: Glassine Paper: Reduced Dry Strength Chemical dosage, while maintaining the tensile strength and COBB values. Further reductions in starch and ASA dosage. CCK Paper: Improved Scott Bond strength. Reduced dosage of other chemicals, which further improved the Scott Bond. Despite of reduction of other chemicals, no deterioration in COBB levels.

TARGETS ACHIEVED: •

CCK, 90–110 g/m2 Glassine Paper, 56–60 g/m2

Pulp: • • • •

• •

Cost savings through: o Reduced Dry Strength Polymer Usage by 8 kg/ton o Reduced Starch Usage from 9 kg/ton to 4.4 kg/ton o Reduced ASA Usage by 20 % o Reduced Steam Costs (through reduced starch cooking) Other targets: o Improved Scott Bond strength to over 900 J/m2 o Maintained Tensile Strength o Maintained COBB values


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PrimeBOND – products Our unique PrimeBONDs are biobased, multifunctional liquid polymers, supplied as ready-touse liquid. Based on the product type, dosage, and dosage point, they cover a wide area of functionalities, e.g. strength, deposit control, retention, dewatering, dusting, ASA-emulsification, Glassine Paper printability. All our PrimeBONDs are delivered in liquid, which make the use easy and safe.

COBB Values

If you got interested, or need more information, pls contact us at; 10,00 https://chemigate.fi/en/contact-request/ 9,00

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Tensile Strength(CD)

Starch Dosage

Tensile Strength (MD)

25

5,00

20

4,00

15

3,00 2,00

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1,00

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1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 PrimeBOND A1505 Dosage

Vetolujuus Tensile Strength

Dosage, Annos, kg/ton

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Starch Dosage

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COBB

COBB -arvot COBB Values

10,00 9,00 8,00 7,00 6,00 5,00 4,00 3,00 2,00 1,00 3

COBB

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6,00

9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39

PrimeBOND A1505 Dosage

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7,00

9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39

PrimeBOND A1505 Dosage

Tensile Strength(CD)

Starch Dosage

Tensile Strength (MD)

10,00

45

9,00

40

8,00

35

7,00

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6,00

25

5,00 4,00

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3,00 2,00

10

1,00

5

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COBB

Glassine Paper

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45

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Akselin otsikko

Tensile Strength

10,00 9,00 8,00 7,00 6,00 5,00 4,00 3,00 2,00 1,00 -

1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 PrimeBOND A1505 Dosage

Starch Dosage

0

COBB

CCK-Paper Vetolujuus Tensile Strength

Scott ScottBond Bond -lujuus Strength

15,0

860 10,0 840 5,0

820

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Synthetic Dry Strength Agent Dosage

PrimeBOND A1505 Dosage

Scott Bond

Scott Bond Target

Dosage, Annos, kg/ton

Scott Bond

880

Dosage, Annos, kg/ton

20,0

900

11,0

20,0

920

10,0 9,0

15,0

8,0 10,0

7,0 6,0

5,0 0,0

Vetolujuus Tensile Strength

25,0

800

12,0

25,0

940

5,0 1

2

3

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5

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Synthetic Dry Strength Agent Dosage

PrimeBOND A1505 Dosage

CD Tensile Strength

MD Tensile Strength

4,0

0,0

Tensile Strength

age, kg/ton

20,0 15,0

12,0 11,0 10,0 9,0 8,0

10,0

ile Strength

25,0

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New trails of

BARLEY

Last August, Chemigate Oy and Altia Plc (now Anora) signed a long-term cooperation agreement regarding the sale of barley starch to the paper and paperboard industry. According to the agreement, Chemigate will be responsible for all sales of barley starch for paper and paperboard industry applications.

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Chemigate has been our biggest customer for years, which means that the agreement was a very natural continuation of our long-term cooperation,” commented Jukka Sala, Sales Director of Anora. “In addition, Chemigate is a respected player in its field. Its extensive expertise in the field of starch-based binders and strength concepts for the paper and paperboard industry supports sales and is certainly a good thing for end customers as well.” “This will enable us to focus better on our own core businesses because, although barley starch is clearly the main product of the Koskenkorva plant, it also produces ethanol

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as a by-product for both beverages and technical applications. And this is something that probably not many people knew before,” Sala grins. “Yes, this is definitely a win-win-win situation if you also consider the customers,” says Kalle Kainu, Sales Director of Chemigate. “We both had mainly the same vision, and the synergy benefits were also easy to understand, as we were already present with almost all customers. The expansion of the product portfolio also provides more tools to serve customers in all strength-related challenges.” The agreement made last year covers the entire Koskenkorva plant’s technical barley

starch, except the barley starch sold for food products. In the future, all barley, both native and modified, will enter the paper and paperboard market through Chemigate. In addition to barley, Chemigate’s main raw material sources will continue to be potatoes, wheat, tapioca and corn. And lastly, apologies to those who started reading the story spurred on by the attached pictures. Still, it’s good to keep in mind that barley can be used in various ways. We at Chemigate promise to continue to keep it this way.


Project Lavender represents a significant investment and business expansion for Chemigate Chemigate is currently implementing a major construction investment related to environmentally sustainable products. With the new modification plant in Lapua, their production will expand to the further processing of polysaccharides.

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The Lapua modification plant construction project began in autumn 2021 and was prepared with great care and diligence. And for good reason, as the construction project of around € 7 million is Chemigate’s largest investment since the completion of its dry starch modification plant in 2012. At the core of the whole project is close cooperation with a US-based company, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., that has been ongoing for several years. IFF is a global supplier of ingredients and solutions for food products, home care and cosmetics, as well as health and wellness products. With Chemigate, the company has been exploring the possibility of producing a “technical biopolymer” with the properties of synthetic polymers, such as toughness

and flexibility. This opens opportunities for unprecedented innovations regarding the environmental sustainability of a wide range of consumer and industrial products. The cooperation between Chemigate and IFF was previously reported in the Bridge magazine 1/2021.

A step towards new raw materials and customer segments The aim is to develop a new polysaccharide-based product that will allow for the replacement of oil-based products and microplastic sources in future end-user innovations. The development of new types of biopolymers requires the conversion of simple saccharides into technical polysaccharides. As a pioneer of modified starches for technical applications and starch-based cationic chem-

istry, Chemigate has a strong capability for this. The future plan is to apply and expand this expertise to other sugar-based raw materials. According to Aki Laine, CTO, the modification facility under construction is globally unique: “This type of polysaccharide has never been produced or modified on an industrial scale before. The idea is to produce a bio-based, biodegradable and microplastics-free ingredient for a range of our partners’ applications.” For Chemigate, the investment means not only new raw materials but also expansion into new customer segments, as the aim is to create new business independent of starchbased raw materials and of applications in the paper and board industry. However, neither the demand for starch nor Chemigate’s starch

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production, which will continue unchanged, will be affected by the new developments.

Construction project on schedule The construction of the modification plant started in August 2021 with earthworks and continued with the construction of the foundations, managed by Latovarjo Yhtiöt Oy. The extension work of the current premises began in early 2022. The plant is scheduled to be ready for operation in August 2022. “The project will expand the Lapua wet modification plant by about 50 % with an additional wing. Some of the equipment in the current plant will also be used in future production, which will involve a lot of the same chemistry and process steps as starch processing,” says Aki Laine.

New processing equipment is also needed, and it has been selected in close cooperation with our partners. The project will also involve, among other things, setting up ERP and production management systems as well as implementing quality control methods and practices to support new production. Process engineer Miikka Laukkanen plays an important role in the project. He joined Chemigate specifically to focus on the investment of the new production line and the development and operation of production. “The project is being taken forward by teams focusing on various aspects, and construction is still on schedule. However, the delivery times for equipment and building materials may still face challenges due to the COVID-19 situation,” Laukkanen predicts.

Strong expertise to drive the project In addition to Laukkanen, the project in Lapua has also employed a new laboratory assistant, Anni Myllymäki. Naturally, a large part of the Lapua office personnel and other partners are also involved in the project. The contractor is Oy Culmentor Ltd, the technical implementation of the plant has been designed in close cooperation with IFF and the engineering firm Focusplan Oy, and the automation system will be implemented by ABB. At Focusplan, the project is led by Project Manager Arto Haapanen, who already

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played a major role in the starch dry modification project in Lapua in 2010 and even worked at Chemigate full-time for a while. Another long-term trusted partner is database systems specialist Esko Hagren, who is developing Excel-based production tools for the project. Through the years of close collaboration, both are already so deeply rooted in Chemigate’s work culture that they are like our own people. All this experience is of great

help to them in the planning and implementation of the project.

What’s next?

a time. It might be that you can read more about them in our next issue, or at the latest in the following one.

In addition to the new plant under construction and the new product under development, Chemigate is working on other new projects that may require and enable new production investments and partnerships in the future. But let’s leave these on the back burner for now and proceed one project at

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Our cloud service concept increases the efficiency and productivity of the order-supply chain In Chemigate’s new service concept, customers orderdelivery routines are increasingly running independently on a common cloud platform. Automation optimises logistics and helps all parties to focus on the essentials of the process.

Chemigate is increasingly investing in developing stronger customer service and a business that benefits its stakeholders. The Cerveza project, which took its first steps in connection with the 2019 strategy update, is essential to these objectives. The project was properly launched in early 2020. As a result, a service concept for customers and transport business partners emerged based on a digitalised and automated order-supply chain. The project is led by Kalle Kainu, Sales Director for Customer Relations, and Mika Vuokila, CFO and responsible for IT Infrastructure. Controller Jaana Karvonen has also played an important role in developing the concept, having done significant practical design work together with the project’s partner Bluugo. According to Kalle, the main goal of the project has been to develop a cooperation model that increases the degree of automation of the order-supply chain and logistics, and thus increases the delivery reliability, cost efficiency and productivity of the entire

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process. One of the key goals is also to improve business predictability. “With real-time maintenance and monitoring of consumption forecasts and downtime data, we are able to produce information for production planning – and this also helps to maintain good reliability of delivery”, says Kalle.

Data and products move safely and accurately At the heart of the service concept is the Tracking Cloud™ cloud platform developed by Bluugo Oy. It connects all the different parties and data sources in Chemigate’s order and supply chain on the same platform, automates key transactions and enables real-time data sharing between different parties. “In this solution, the systems inside companies communicate with each other through secure interfaces, producing and transmitting data to the various parties in the logistics chain, such as inventory surface or paper machine operating data, product consumption and consumption forecasts. In the future,

Chemigate’s raw material flows can also be combined with this information”, says Kalle. Automation, digitisation and transfer of transport orders between different systems are also essential for streamlining logistics. The transport organiser will book and schedule the consignments in a system where the electronic transport documents are available to all parties at the final stage of the project. This allows shipments and reliability of delivery to be monitored in real-time, including order points, delivery limits and alarm limits. Benefits also include the digitisation and automation of post-delivery documentation, for example in cargo receipt and invoicing.

Great benefits with little effort “The implementation of the system does not require significant efforts from our customers, only some time for both cooperation and initial technical configurations on the IT side. However, it is small in relation to the benefits of the concept”, Kalle promises.


CUSTOMER

Automatic tracking

Automatic replenishment orders Transport tracking

Real-time flow of information

Transport planning Digital transport documents

TRANSPORTATION COMPANY Production and sales planning

Our goal is that our customers can easily manage and view their orders in real-time with a cloud-based application, and supplementary orders are handled automatically, for example, with the help of IoT sensors that monitor the surface levels of silos. Information will flow seamlessly between different stakeholders, and Chemigate’s products will always reach the customer at the right time. This eliminates time spent for routine inventory or manual data transfer from one system to another, allowing all parties to focus on the core processes of their business. For example, different user levels can be created for the customer and the transport company, where the contents and functions related to one’s own job description are clearly available and accessible. A common platform eliminates duplication of work and manual entries across systems, making everyday life easier for customers and reducing the possibility of errors.

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On the path to even wider digitisation of cooperation The most important value of the operating model is in improving customer service and reliability of delivery, but with more autonomy in ordering and delivery, both the customer and Chemigate can focus more on value-added work. In addition, the system facilitates the monitoring of product consumption levels and thus helps to improve the efficiency of the procurement and use of raw materials, as well as the planning and control of production. According to Kalle, our partner Bluugo’s advanced Tracking Cloud™ platform has proven to be an efficient solution that adapts to a wide range of needs. “Compared to traditional surface monitoring tools, for example, it has a lot more functionality. In addition, the system can be developed flexibly, and more features will certainly be added in the future. As a whole, this concept contributes to the increasing digitisation and automation of everything we do and collaborate in.” The portal has been used by Chemigate for some time now in some raw material deliveries. The user experience gained through this has also been very positive. According to Jaana, the digital platform offered by Cerveza already showed its claws last autumn when sales of Anora’s native products were transferred to Chemigate. “The introduction of the cloud platform facilitated the integration of the new business area into existing systems, saving many manual work steps. The processing and invoicing of native barley orders are already highly automated. The same possibility already exists for the receipt of future raw material deliveries.”

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Benefits of the service concept for the customer… • • • • • • •

Saves time and effort in ordering and delivery routines. Increases information and improves reliability of delivery. Provides a portal for real-time tracking of deliveries. Streamlines the supply chain and brings a competitive advantage. Allows the customer to focus on the essentials. Provides a tool for further development of digitisation, for example in the form of automatic invoicing. All documentation in real time from one place.

…and for the carrier • • • •

Surface monitoring via a single portal. Easy interface for managing and controlling Chemigate’s transports. Possibility to automate invoicing. Possibility to track and document shipments.


Bluugo – digitalisation without exhausting IT projects Founded in 2014, Bluugo Oy is a Finnish software company that offers solutions for the digitalisation of order and supply chains and after-sales services, among other things. At the core of the solutions is Bluugo’s cloud platform Tracking Cloud™, winner of an international innovation award. Tracking Cloud™ provides businesses with an opportunity to digitalise their core business processes quickly and cost-effectively without the need for traditional, time-consuming IT projects. Tracking Cloud solution packages come 80 % readyto-run – the final 20 % is configured to meet the customer’s needs. This ensures that businesses quickly get solutions that are ideally suited to their needs without the need for grassroots-level development work. The creation of added value and return on investment can begin immediately.

Read more about Bluugo and Tracking Cloud at bluugo.fi.

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The best potato flour Our longstanding partner, Finnamyl Oy, celebrated its 80th birthday in January. Finnamyl produces potato starch – not only as a raw material for Chemigate, but also for cooking. In celebration of the anniversary, we’d like to offer our readers a recipe to test the excellent properties of potato starch – the secret ingredient of traditional Finnish kissel. Below is the recipe for an authentic Lappish cloudberry kissel. Our recipe comes straight from the heart of the Finnish Maiden, Pelkosenniemi. The result is a guaranteed gluten-free treat with a very low carbon footprint.

CLOUDBERRY KISSEL (GLUTEN FREE), Ingredients: • • • • •

900 ml water a small pinch of salt 4 tbsp potato flour mixed with 100 ml cold water 1 ½ cups berries 3/8 cup sugar (or to taste)

Pour water into a saucepan and add salt. Bring to a boil. Add the starch slurry to boiling liquid in a thin stream, stirring vigorously to ensure even starch gelatinisation. Heat a while longer, stirring constantly, until it bubbles once and turns clear. Remove from heat. Add cloudberries and sugar. Mix vigorously to incorporate flavours. Serve with whipped cream. For a richer flavour, substitute 100 ml of water with orange juice.

Storage: Film formation can be prevented by sprinkling sugar onto the surface of the kissel. To avoid low temperature retrogradation, don’t store kissel in the refrigerator.

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Wood, water and co-operation SHIELDPLUS® by Jujo Thermal replaces plastics in flexible food packaging. Jujo Thermal’s new flexible packaging material SHIELDSEAM® was put to a real life test in a co-project with Chemigate. Potato starch was successfully packed in the heat sealable SHIELDSEAM® material. SHIELDSEAM® is the newest member of Jujo’s fibre-based SHIELDPLUS® product range. Thanks to its waterbased barrier coating, it has excellent barrier properties against grease and water. ”Chemigate is our starch supplier. I had come across Chemigate’s marketing sample pouches, and they caught my interest. I asked if we could provide our SHIELDPLUS®-based SHIELDSEAM® material for the next samples, and we were happy that Chemigate’s team reacted positively to our proposal”, describes Jujo’s Supply Chain & Product Safety Manager Jyri Huppunen. Jujo Thermal has traditionally manufactured thermal papers and coated one-side papers. In 2019 the company decided to enter a new market and launched the SHIELDPLUS® product range targeted for flexible packaging. On this journey, not only investments and new skills but also courage and creative cooperation have been demanded. During our co-project with Chemigate, we recognized the similar straightforward attitude in their way of working!

A sustainable and cost-e icient choice SHIELDLUS® is an environmentally friendly alternative for flexible food packaging where presently barrier films made from plastic or aluminium are used. The full range is certified for various kinds of foodstuffs – not only for dry foods but even for moist and fatty foods. With the SHIELDPLUS® material packaging

industry can reduce the number of layers in flexible packaging and thus simplify the converting process. ”In addition to SHIELDSEAM® our flexible packaging material range includes recyclable and biodegradable alternatives, such as SHIELDPLUS® which has excellent barrier properties against water vapour and oxygen in normal conditions. It is available in a bleached white finish and unbleached brown finish. SHIELDPLUS® PREMIER, in turn, has superb barrier properties against water vapour and oxygen, even in demanding tropical conditions. For the applications which require printing performance, we can offer the recyclable SHIELDPLUS® Graphic. It is optimized for high-definition process printing and is suitable for both flexo and gravure printing”, tells our Sales Manager Sanna Kiuru.

SHIELDPLUS® – barrier without plastics and aluminium SHIELDPLUS® is based on technology in which material made of wood-based fibres is coated with a water-based barrier layer. It is made from PEFC and FSC certified pulp. SHIELDPLUS® has excellent barrier properties against water vapour, oxygen, aromas, greases, mineral oils and solvents. All the grades can be coated with an optional heat sealant layer by the converters.

Interested? Contact us: jujopack@jujothermal.com +358 (0)10 303 200 www.jujothermal.com


Training makes a better boss! Managing people is a demanding business of patience and skill, which is why Chemigate has always invested in leadership training. Most recently, operating models were refined in the Better Boss project, led by HR and Finance Manager Pia Autio. At the start of the development discussions, she asked all Chemigate employees to give feedback on the good and especially the bad aspects of the content. There were actually a surprising number of comments and suggestions for improvement, which have since been discussed with supervisors.

Facing the fire – or braving challenging situations “I still don’t really know why they asked me to do the job, someone who has no supervisor training or experience. Maybe because I know the company and its people very well. The idea sounded a bit scary, but I agreed anyway,” laughs Pia The launch of the Better Boss project took place at the end of 2020. The first thing that came to mind at the time was the development discussions that were about to get underway. Leading them is an individual thing, and more natural for some than for others. Therefore, the target was to provide concrete support for the work. Pia took action, and soon the small groups of supervisors started to consider the content of the development discussions. “Chemigate has really excellent bosses who know both what they are doing and how to manage the work. But often the role of a supervisor is only thought of in terms of managing issues, even though it always also involves managing people. For this purpose, we wanted to create a template to act as a tool to help everyone get started in their development discussions. We were able to quickly put together a content library that everyone can use and modify freely according to their own needs,” says Pia.

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Pia called the second phase of the Better Boss project ‘Facing the fire’. The aim was to give supervisors more courage, tools and willingness to tackle difficult situations in the workplace that are hard to address, by providing encouraging feedback. “We have a great team at work, and managers don’t want to offend anyone or risk friendships over difficult issues. On the other hand, difficult situations are opportunities for showing genuine caring while building and strengthening trust. If someone is facing difficulties at home, for example, it will and should be reflected in the workplace because –fortunately – we are human beings and not robots. But you can also try to do something about it,” says Pia. To help, trainer Tea Wigren from Spring House was enlisted. In autumn 2021, she conducted a two-day training session on challenging situations for a total of 13 managers. A DISC analysis was also carried out with Tea, using a questionnaire to identify the different personality types of supervisors. The analysis generated a great deal discussion and, according to the feedback, much was gained from it. To take the ‘Facing the fire’ process a step further, it was decided to extend it with a new event in January 2022. The idea has been to

go through examples of difficult situations in the workplace in small groups of 3–4 people and to consider solutions to them together.

Let’s make a good job even better The Better Boss project will be continued in the future, once more thought has been given to its form and content. Pia herself has found the creative planning and brainstorming sessions in the leadership training to be very rewarding and praises the fact that the team is able to talk about things very directly. “On the whole, people enjoy working at Chemigate, which is reflected, for example, in their long employment relationships. Compared to other companies in the sector, we also always score well in workplace surveys, but there is of course always room for improvement in our management. Hopefully, as the coronavirus pandemic eases, we will be able to meet more people face-to-face and engage them in different ways.”


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LISTEN NOW

Chemigate podcasts now available

Chemigate – alternatives to fossil fuels Even fossils will start to turn green when you listen to the sustainability wisdomin Chemigate’s podcasts! Our topics are, among other things, the carbon footprint, security of supply, biodegradability, compostability and perhaps even crop yields. The episodes culminate in the Potato Theatre, where you can hear about the curious incidents that have befallen Chemigate people on their sales trips.

Starting in May, the podcasts can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and from www.chemigate.fi.

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Determining nitrogen content in the quality control of starch On a sunny August day in 2020, I was on my first tour of the Lapua starch modification plant. I was shown a huge wooden crate sitting in a warehouse. I learned that the box contained my first major task as the future quality control chemist at the plant: to deploy the newly acquired Dumas nitrogen analyser in the quality control laboratory.

11.1.2022 Annaleena Stenman, Quality Control Chemist In Lapua and Kaipiainen, nitrogen analysis is one of the most important analyses carried out by the quality control laboratory. In starch modification, a nitrogen-containing cationic reagent is attached to the glucose units of the starch. The nitrogen content of the modified starch therefore reflects the success of the cationisation. The more cationic reagent attaches to the starch, the higher the nitrogen content. However, the average nitrogen content of modified starches is relatively low. In Lapua, typically around 0.15–0.50 %. For comparison, wheat flour, for example, has about 2 % protein nitrogen, and protein powders on the health food shelf in grocery stores have about 13 % nitrogen.1 The low nitrogen content of modified starch poses its own challenges to the analytical method used for quality control. In general, the lower the concentration to be achieved, the greater the uncertainty associated with the measurement. To this day, the Kjeldahl method2, invented in 1883, has served Chemigate well in de-

termining nitrogen content. The method has been very popular worldwide, especially in food analysis, due to its reliability and reproducibility. However, the method has a downside. It uses a number of chemicals that are hazardous to humans and the environment. In addition, the whole analysis and pre-processing takes about an hour and a half, which is a painfully long time in today’s hectic world. In Lapua, too, a shorter analysis time would have saved production from tricky situations several times.

The need to speed up nitrogen analyses led Lapua to explore alternative analytical methods in spring 2020. The Dumas method, which was actually invented in 1831, before the Kjeldahl method, has been competing with the Kjeldahl method in nitrogen determination. Today, the Dumas method is widely used and reliable, with the advantages of speed, safety and low cost of analysis. The results can be obtained from the device in a few minutes, which would be perfect for Lapua’s fast-moving situations.

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In order to guarantee the suitability of the modified starches for Dumas analysis, typical slurry and powdered starch samples were sent from Lapua to the equipment manufacturer for analysis. The results were very promising. The instrument could analyse starch samples of low nitrogen content with the same reliability as the Kjeldahl method. Convinced of this, the device was ordered in summer 2020. When the 95-kilogram green cube was unpacked and installed in November 2020, the deployment tests began. Before any new analytical method is introduced, it must be validated, i.e., its suitability for its intended use must be demonstrated.5 The purpose of validation is also to demonstrate any differences in the level of results when nitrogen is determined by two different methods. The validation process may consider a number of different parameters, including the assessment of accuracy, linearity, specificity, robustness, measurement uncertainty and detection and quantification limits at minimum.6

Validation tests were carried out on routine samples and standards with known nitrogen content until summer 2021. In August 2021, the results were reviewed, and we were very satisfied with the performance of the device. The Dumas method had proved to be a fast, reliable, accurate and reproducible method. In several studies7, the Dumas method has produced on average 1.5 % higher protein results than the Kjeldahl method. In Lapua, the opposite was observed: on average, the Dumas method was found to give 1.4 % lower nitrogen concentrations than the Kjeldahl method. In the long run, however, the difference to the Kjeldahl method is negligible, so there was no need to change the product specifications. In October 2021, Lapua switched to the Dumas method as the primary method of analysis. There have been technical challenges along the way, which is not unusual. It is a high-tech, highly sensitive instrument that analyses samples from morning until long

into the evening. This means that the nitrogen analyses may still cause some grey hairs, but now mainly just for the author of this article. In problematic situations, it is comforting to know that we can still use the Kjeldahl method. There will continue to be a place for both devices in quality assurance.

Table 1. Differences between the Kjeldahl and Dumas methods METHOD

INVERTOR

STAGES

PROS/CONS2-4

Kjeldahl

Johan Kjeldahl 1883

Three stages of analysis: 1. Decomposition of sample matrix in concentrated sulphuric acid  ammonium sulphate formed from the nitrogen compounds in the sample. 2. Steam distillation of ammonium sulphate solution with sodium hydroxide  ammonia is formed. 3. Ammonia titration with hydrochloric acid  possible to determine the exact concentration of nitrogen.

+ very versatile for different types of samples + official method of analysis for food and animal feed + excellent for the analysis of single and non-homogeneous samples + samples of up to 10 g possible - long total analysis time - use of several hazardous chemicals

Dumas

Jean-Baptiste Dumas 1831

Samples are burned at a very high temperature. During combustion, the nitrogen compounds in the sample decompose and are released as detectable nitrogen gas.

+ + + + -

-

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total analysis time of only a few minutes best choice for large sample sets no chemicals at all low running costs not the best choice if there are only a few samples and they are different in terms of the matrix maximum sample size approx. 1 g typically the sample must be wrapped in a slightly awkward foil packet


Table 2. Typical validation parameters (Kemian metrologian opas, a guide to chemical metrology) PARAMETER

DESCRIPTION

Accuracy

Describes the ability of a measuring instrument to give responses that are close to the true value. Consists of measurement accuracy and repeatability. Accuracy: the agreement of the average of the results obtained from several measurements with the agreed true value of the quantity to be measured. Repeatability: the mutual accuracy of independent measurements obtained under known conditions.

Linearity

The ability of the analytical method to give an acceptable linear correlation between the results and the concentration of the test substance in the samples over a given range.

Specificity

The ability of the method to detect only the compound of interest in the sample matrix.

Robustness

The sensitivity of the results of the method to small changes in test conditions and performance stages, in the laboratory, staff, etc.

Measurement uncertainty

A parameter related to the measurement result, describing the expected variation in the values of the measurement variable.

Limit of detection and quantification

Limit of detection: The lowest concentration of the compound to be determined that can be reliably detected, and that differs significantly from the value of the blank sample. Limit of quantification: The concentration limit of a quantitative determination method and a sample matrix for which an estimate of uncertainty can be provided.

Sources: 1. fineli.fi: National food composition database maintained by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, accessed 4 Jan 2022 2. https://www.velp.com/public/file/E-book-DumasandKjeldahlMethodComparison-NProteinDetermination-251031.pdf, accessed 4 Jan 2022 3. https://www.fossanalytics.com/en/news-articles/lab/protein-methods-kjeldahl-dumas-or-nir-analysis, accessed 4 Jan 2022 4. https://www.labmanager.com/laboratory-technology/protein-analysis-8345, accessed 4 Jan 2022 5. Kemian metrologian opas (a guide to chemical metrology), 2005, ed. Tapio Ehder 6. https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/quality_assurance/ SupplementaryGMPValidationTRS937Annex4.pdf, pp. 136–140, accessed 5 Jan 2022 7. A comparison of the Kjeldahl and Dumas methods for the determination of protein in foods, using data from a proficiency testing scheme, Thompson, M., Owen, L., Wilkinson, K., Wood, R. and Damant, A., Analyst, 2002, 127, 1666–1668. CHEMIGATE THE BRIDGE 2022

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Do you need A MENTOR?

Or do you already have one, you just don’t call it by that name?

Many of us feel like we need someone to talk to, about our career, life choices, problems, or, just someone to pitch ideas to. That someone may be your partner at home. Or it may be your boss or team leader. It may be your colleague. A friend. A coach. Or some family member or relative. Think about every one of these alternatives. What could you or should you talk to them about? All of these relationships are different, but all of them may, in some cases, remind you a little about what a mentor could be. What is a mentor then? Eric Parsloe defined mentoring as follows: “Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.” Sounds like a coach right? Or a boss? Well, yeah. But no.The skills and characteristics involved with coaching or supporting your partner/family member are quite similar to those needed for good mentorship. However, they are not quite the same. Let me share a couple of examples. • If your mentor behaves exactly like a coach, there is a risk that he or she may take too much control of the relationship

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or be too directive. As a coach, you need to keep the sharing of personal experiences to a minimum. • If your mentor or mentee behaves exactly like a partner or family member, the mentoring risks becoming too intimate or personal. Mentoring does not exist e.g. to blow off steam about how rough a day you’ve had.

”The discussions are always confidential, and the mentor is not expected to report any of the discussions to anyone else in the company. ” There are (at least) three types of mentoring: • One-on-one Mentoring, where there is one mentor, and one mentee. • Distance or Virtual Mentoring, where there is significant distance between the mentor(s) and the mentee(s). • Group mentoring, where there is one mentor, and multiple mentees.

Different companies, groups, and people benefit from the different types of mentoring in their own way. For some time now, Chemigate has had a way of assigning a mentor to new people in the company. The targets of the mentoring program include making the new hire become productive quicker, introducing the company culture at an early stage and to eventually making him or her stay with the company longer. For us, mentoring has been a kind of combination between distance and one-onone mentoring. Mentoring has been a great way of creating a link between our sites as well increasing cross-functionality between teams. To underline the importance of this aspect the mentor is always chosen from a different site and function from the mentee. Mainly, due to the distance and the still on-going pandemic, the meetings have been held virtually. But ever so often, having an old-fashioned face-to-face discussion is truly refreshing.

What do you talk about at mentoring meetings then? And what are the benefits or challenges? The things that are common to all programs are the confidentiality aspect and the willingness to commit to the process. The discussions are always confidential, and the mentor


is not expected to report any of the discussions to anyone else in the company. The mentor and the mentee need to agree on a way of working and commit to it. This means for example, choosing the topics beforehand and being prepared. However, in the end each mentorship relationship is different. And each mentorship program is different. So it is natural that the results and benefits are different for everyone. We interviewed some of Chemigate’s mentors and mentees, to get a glimpse of the best bits, as well as what has been challenging. The overall consensus seems to be that mentoring can bring great benefits by allowing the participants to share their knowledge, knowhow, and useful experiences, in a safe space. The mentees receive great feedback on their thoughts and plans, advice on work-related topics, as well as someone that they can talk to about anything. Additionally, it helps integrate newcomers into the company and their work. They also learn more about the people and different teams/functions. As for the mentors, they are forced to practice some self-reflection about their work and the company. Having someone new who questions what you do is invaluable. Additionally, they get a great opportunity at getting to know the newcomers in the Chemigate-family!

Chemigate’s own Mika Vuokila, CFO and Head of HR, but also a mentor, comments: “Mentoring has been an eye-opening experience that I was lucky to be a part of. I often had to stop and really think about why we do something a certain way at Chemigate. The mentoring was made especially interesting by

” The mentor is always chosen from a different site and function from the mentee.”

the fact that I regularly got to meet and discuss important topics with someone who represents the next generation.” One of the challenges has been COVID and all the restrictions that it brings. Another has been the long distances between the sites. However, one mentorship pair solved this by deciding to meet up in the middle between the sites, somewhere

Presentation

around Tampere. Mentoring and being a mentor also take some work and preparation. To get the most out of it, it is good to prepare before a meeting by planning an agenda and topics to talk about. After a while, it is natural that you start to run out of good topics. This could mean that it can be a good idea to either conclude the mentorship project or just have a longer time between the sessions. Overall, the mentees think it has been a great experience. Annaleena Stenman, one of the mentees and Quality Control Chemist, has found the mentorship program really useful: “I wanted to utilize the vast amount of know-how and professionalism that my mentor, Kalle Kainu, has. Specifically, his knowledge of our customers and their processes. Additionally, Kalle also manages people, which has provided insight into personnel matters. I also liked the fact that he is stationed at another site, which means that I have someone at Mietoinen that is easy to reach. These are all the things that I wanted from the mentorship experience, and I got them as well. “ At Chemigate, we have a long line of people with vast amounts of knowledge and experience. Sharing that knowledge and making sure that everyone has good opportunities to learn is important. We also want to make sure that every new member of the family feels welcomed and listened to. Having a mentorship program is part of making that happen.

Introduction

Commitment

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Markku Nurminen – A gardener’s spring

It’s late summer, 1995, and the weekend has just begun. Markku has just returned home from a long machine trial in Eastern Finland. He lifts his gaze from the stack of newspapers he picked up from the mailbox and, to his confusion, sees two police cars parked on the side of the road in his reputable suburb in Raisio.

The cars look familiar; Markku and his wife, Laila, had seen them before on a few weekends. Instead of joining his family, Markku starts walking towards the police. “Maybe one of the teenagers in the neighbourhood has gotten into some trouble?” Markku thinks to himself. His confusion turns to irritation when both police cars rev their engines and drive off, as if running away from him. It is not until some time later that it comes to light that Markku’s extensive plant lights have caused the police to come to some erroneous conclusions on what this greenthumbed chemical industry professional is actually growing in his greenhouse. Thus the legend of Kaanaa’s very own ‘Walter White’ was born, long before the pilot of Breaking Bad hit the airwaves. However, the truth is that

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even though Markku’s detailed records list more than 200 different plant species, he has never grown hemp, cannabis or Mary-Jane. Markku’s hobby started years ago in Jämsä.

The family he was born to was not the wealthiest. They grew hay and barley in Jämsä and kept livestock. The young but rather quiet boy came up with the idea of becoming self-sufficient. First, Markku planted carrots, but then moved on to various species of berries. The story does not tell which came first, enthusiasm or talent, but soon the boy had decided that gardening would be the right career for him. The school he had his eye on was far away, in Nurmijärvi. However, the father of the family made a decision that may have seemed harsh at the time but should make the Finnish paper industry feel incredibly grateful, indeed; Markku was sent to technical school in Valkeakoski. After graduating with flying colours, he supplemented his education with business training in Jakobstad.


PERSONAL CHEMISTRY

Markku started his career in the field of paper chemistry with Raisio Group in 1982. He started getting paid a year later, when someone remembered to notify the payroll office of the young pump pusher. By this time, Markku had already built a reputation for himself as a reliable and persistent customer service engineer in the paper industry. A few years later, he could add Raifix and Raibond to his portfolio. Their development was continued, and the fourth generation is now included in Chemigate’s portfolio under the name PrimeBOND. In 1985, a talented young woman named Laila was hired to assist Markku in his work. The couple call it an ‘occupational hazard’ that they got used to each other’s company when touring the Finnish paper mills. If Markku had left his childhood fascination with gardening behind him when the obligations of the paper industry and family life pulled him in different directions, we probably would not be interviewing him right now. As thousands of paper industry professionals have sadly realised at nightclubs, on dance floors and on Tinder, this profession alone does not make you interesting. When I arrive at Markku and Laila’s garden in the autumn, the backyard seems abandoned and grey. However, a closer look reveals that it is really more like an animal at rest steadying its breath, like a phoenix ready to burst into full bloom upon awakening. While being served grilled salmon with risotto on the glazed terrace, I get to hear all about a gardener’s autumn. For example, I find out that berries tend to ripen a whole month earlier now than 35 years ago, when Markku first started gardening in Raisio. Undoubtedly, climate change deniers will now take a sip of silver water before tweeting about how Markku’s berries are victims of the media’s brainwashing campaigns. While the garden is quietly gathering strength for the next growth season, there is still plenty to be done, such as making jam and juice. Beefsteak tomatoes must also be turned into soup or pasta sauce. These are then frozen for later use. By the way, this family has three freezers. Maybe by now, Markku can breathe freely and trust in his self-sufficiency? When I ask for advice for customer service engineers just starting their careers, I receive three answers: perseverance, winning the customer’s trust, and patience. Markku has devel-

The Gardener’s Spring article is part of the Personal Chemistry story series, where we get to know Chemigate employees more closely through their hobbies. You can read more Personal Chemistry articles on our website: www.chemigate.fi/en/personal-chemistry/

oped hundreds of applications together with his customers. He knows how to make liquid cartons coffee-proof or how to optimise the dosage of other chemicals when cationic dry strength additive is added into the process. About eleven years ago, we didn’t yet know that we needed Markku but, luckily, he told us. I remember how he came to me and stated that he would become a partner. Not that he would like to; that he would. I am very thankful that Markku postponed his gardening career, as we would not have made it without him. The truth is that Markku is entering his autumn as a paper engineer. But this will be followed by a gardener’s spring. In the end, Markku reminds me that he will get to challenge the next participant. It seems that I get to go angling for pike perch. How do you feel about that, Vesa Rämä?

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Petit Fours

80 years of potato starch

In January (on the 15th), our dear partner Finnamyl turned 80 years old. Not much after that Lapuan Peruna from the same group, celebrated their 70th. The Finnamyl group produces potato starch as a raw material for Chemigate, but also for food. Many have unknowingly eaten potato flour made in Kokemäki while munching on Finnish grilled sausages. It is precisely this secret additive that makes the sausage taste delicious when traditionally prepared, with the end product being black on the surface and cold on the inside. Chemigate’s birthday gifts were received by Piia, Pirjo and Ossi from the Finnamyl management team.

Throwing our weight behind the Baltic Sea This year, Chemigate’s traditional Sports Campaign once again sought to energise the mind and body. Every spring, we also challenge customers and partners to take part in a campaign where the goal is to exercise at least 2 ½ times a week for half an hour – the more, the better. At the same time, fitness groups can support a selected charity according to their number of exercise sessions. This year, a record number of 185 Chemigate employees and our partners sweated euros for the John Nurminen Foundation’s Clean Sea Fund, which raises funds for the protection of the Baltic Sea. By the beginning of April, the funds already totalled about € 2,500, which will probably grow to about € 4,000 by the end of the campaign.

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INFO BOX 2022 Campaign • The campaign lasts for 14 weeks from 17 January to 24 April 2022. • Charity target: The Baltic Sea. The funds raised will be channeled towards the protection of the Baltic Sea through the John Nurminen Foundation: https://www.puhdasmeri.fi/en/itameri/. • Results and more information: https://chemigate.fi/en/fitness-campaign/.


Raise your hand if you messed up It really is difficult to admit a mistake. Mistakes happen, it’s inevitable, but it doesn’t make it any easier to admit them. That’s exactly what we’ve been practising at Chemigate for a year – namely, admitting mistakes. The name of the project is: Raise your hand if you messed up. When a hand is raised, you can learn from what happened and the mistake won’t swell like bun dough. We have sought to change the culture

from sweeping mistakes under the rug to honestly admitting them. I believe that, as a result of our work, the quality that our customers receive and the punctuality of deliveries have improved. When hands went up last year, they weren’t slapped with a ruler, but repaid with a prize. To quote the words of the Finnish band Lapinlahden Linnut: Now I am not pis**d off at all anymore.

Valued guests

Lorry drivers, farmers and labourers each have their own roles when they visit our factory. They represent the activity on which, business is built. But when VIPs like Mikko Kinnunen, Juha Sipilä and Hanna Huttunen from the parliamentary group of the Centre Party visit, it represents continuity. Together with Ossi Paakki, representing Finnamyl, we had the opportunity to discuss the needs and obligations of successful entrepreneurship. The discussion was fruitful because both parties listened to each other.

Help to Ukraine “The Ukrainian crisis is our common cause. Although the parent company Berner has donated € 100,000 and Chemigate € 5,000, this has not diminished our people’s desire to help. The people of Chemigate have donated their own funds and goods, and some have even gone directly to help the incoming war refugees. The latest campaign is the collection of first aid supplies started by Janne Vähämäki, Lapua’s Operations Manager, where the outdated but fully usable first aid supplies of each factory are collected and sent to Ukraine.”

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New faces Anni Myllymäki, who started working as a laboratory technician at the Lapua plant last December, is the mother of a 7 and 10-year-old from Lappajärvi. Anni has gained work experience taking water samples in environmental research laboratories and researching Covid-19 samples in a hospital laboratory.

In the summer, Anni’s passion is recumbent cycling (editor comment: yes I had to look that up too), and you may come across her – if not on the road – at a three-day cycling gathering somewhere in Finland. “When I was 17, I worked in the pulp mill’s quality control laboratory as a summer job, and it feels really nice to get to work in the factory’s laboratory again.”

Ronja Torikka, who is only in her twenties, started her permanent career as a process operator in Mietoinen on April 1st. Ronja, from Mynämäki, graduated as a process manager from Uusikaupunki in December 2020. Despite her young age, Ronja has already gained work experience, for example, in the production of seed crispies at the Rosten bakery and in summer jobs at Exxon Mobil Finland Oy. But she didn’t come blindly to Chemigate. The production tasks were

Kimmo Mäntysalo, who started as a Procurement and Logistics Manager in Mietoinen at the beginning of the year, is responsible for Chemigate’s raw material and logistics agreements and the development of procurement operations. Kimmo’s previous background includes experience at Hansaprint Oy, part of the TS Group, in the printing and paper markets, and Kuluvaaka Oy, which specialises in indirect procurement. Coming

from Merimasku, in his free time Kimmo enjoys exploring the archipelago with his family, and playing volleyball and floorball with the guys. You’ll find him on the field whenever he can make it. “The responsibilities offered by Chemigate are broad and challenging. I leverage all my previous experience to secure the supply chain. In addition, I have already gotten into the rhythm of my new, comfortable work community.”

Miikka Laukkanen, a Process Engineer who started in Lapua in September, is already fully involved in the investment project of the new polysaccharides-modifying Lavender production line. His job is also related to the production development and operations of the line. Miikka, who studied in Seinäjoki as an automation installation engineer and electrical automation engineer, is from Koskenkorva. Prior to joining Chemigate, Miikka worked as an Operations Engineer at Teollisuuden Voima in Olkiluoto, as a Process Manager at Operon Finland Oy and as a Project Engineer

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already familiar to her from almost a year with a temporary employment agency. In her spare time, Ronja knits or does other crafts. She also works as a personal assistant, accompanying those in need to the shops, gigs, or festivals – or even jogging, with her little chihuahua in tow. “It’s great when the days are different, the work is varied and there is always something to learn. And although I’m the only (and first!) woman here at the Mietoinen factory, I’ve been really well received. Since the beginning, I have felt I am part of the team.”

at Epec Oy. During his studies, he also gained experience at Koskenkorva’s A-Rehu as a Process Instructor. In his free time, Miika can be found on walks with his terrier or reading books at home. Miika’s favourites are melancholy Russian writers. “A clear responsibility in my own project, in a completely new kind of technology, was the thing that drew me to Chemigate.” Miika’s calm nature already signals that there are no problems, only interesting challenges.


Happy, happy, happy birthday! This year, more of us at Chemigate are celebrating their birthdays – some even twice, because in addition to their age, they have been in service for a very respectable number of years. These numbers also tell their own story about the amount of tacit knowledge and strong commitment that we at Chemigate have always been proud of. Chemigate warmly congratulates all of those who are celebrating.

Birthdays:

Years of service:

• • • • •

• • • • • •

Pia Autio, HR and Financial Manager, Lapua, 50 years 8.2.2022 Anu Tuomainen, lab technician, Kaipianen, 60 years 10.2.2022 Kalle Kainu, Sales Manager, Mietoinen, 50 years 18.2.2022 Juha Mäenpää, warehouse worker, Lapua, 60 years 10.5.2022 Juha Parkkonen, operator, Kaipianen, 60 years 1.11.2022

Rämä Vesa, operator, Kaipainen, 40 years 27.1.2022 Tuomainen Anu, lab technician, Kaipiainen, 40 years 8.2.2022 Parkkonen Juha, operator, Kaipiainen, 35 years 13.4.2022 Vainionpää Harri, operator, Lapua, 35 years 18.5.2022 Anttila Juha, supervisor, Lapua, 35 years 25.5.2022 Kylänpää Esa, operator, Mietoinen, 40 years 5.7.2022

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Student collaboration Investing in the future, for example by supporting students in the field, is an important part of Chemigate’s philosophy. We have been working with Åbo Akademi University’s students in chemical and process engineering, Aalto University’s process chemists, the University of Turku’s chemists and the University of Tampere’s biotechnologists for several years. Sponsoring overalls (the kind Finnish students like to wear during their extracurricular activities), “Sitsit” parties, excursions and anniversaries are some ways to be more prominent not only in the daily lives of students but also in their celebrations. In addition to these, lecturing and sponsoring schnapps singing competitions can be added to last year’s account. Unfortunately, some events still continued to take place in virtual form.

1.

Below are a few snapshots from these events…

2. 3. Lämmönsiirtoa tukemassa

1. Christmas sewing at Åbo Akademi University’s Kemistklubben clubhouse. The overalls badges that Chemigate sponsored found their places at the Sitsit after party.

4.

2. The winners of the drinking song competition, organised by Chemigate together with Åbo Akademi University’s Kemistklubben, are Joel Vauhkonen and Liisa Leino. The theme of the song was potato,barley and starch. 3. Bioner freshmen sewing at the October overalls sauna and second-year students presenting before the relocation of the badges. 4. The Ninth Anniversary Celebration of Aalto University’s Process Engineers, Heat Transfer IX, on September 17, 2021. The celebrations were held virtually because of Covid-19. Neither the festivities of the event nor the abundance of catering was disturbed by this, and the sponsors also remained faithfully in line.

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…and an excerpt from the feedback we received from Bioner students

“We would like to thank you for participating in sponsoring our overalls project. We’ve finally completed the overalls project, and our overalls are already lighting up the streets. Your importance to us is enormous and we are very grateful for your participation. We will wear our overalls with pride throughout our studies. So a warm thank you for your cooperation. It’s great when there are companies like you involved in supporting students!”


Retirement blues Jari Immonen, Chemigate’s resident “Blues man” and Kaipiainen’s long-serving production manager, retired last summer. A crowd gathered in the warm weather to see Jari into his rocking chair. Speeches were given, old exploits laughed over, and tears shed. By evening’s end, Jari had already threatened to return – perhaps for a new summer job as a forklift driver. Well, we haven’t come across his application yet – our search for a new development engineer is still ongoing.

We brightened up our online image At the turn of the year, we relaunched our website. We clarified and refreshed its look and updated the content. At the same time, the launch of a new publishing platform and its technical implementation took our site from a village track into the motorway class. If you haven’t already, come have a look and try it out. We will continue to welcome feedback and ideas for improvement at marketing@chemigate.fi.

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Vamos a la Playa! After all this remote life, it will be nice to meet you in person at the PulPaper exhibition in June. Come visit Chemigate’s beach bar at stand 6g54 – even in your swimming suit if you want!

7–9 June 2022 HELSINKI, FINLAND

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