Chemigate The Bridge 1/2014 - English

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Chemigate’s Customer Magazine.

Road open to CHINA




Chemigate’s Customer Magazine.


New challenges, Part 101................................................................3 Salesman found his place............................................................ 4 Product customised for the construction industry................ 6 Starch chemistry still full of surprises. . ..................................... 9 Passionate about precision. . ....................................................... 12 Improving the world by exercise................................................ 14 Road open to China . . .................................................................... 16 Fingerpori........................................................................................ 18

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The Bridge is Chemigate Ltd’s customer magazine | Edition: 1 000 Editor in Chief: Tom Schauman, Print house: Tammerprint Oy | Paper: LumiSilk, StoraEnso Cover picture: | Texts: Anna-Kaisa Kivikoski Translations: Maris Multilingual | Layout: Mainostoimisto ArtMocca Oy




New challenges, Part 101 After a very trying 2012, 2013 brought some relief to the paper industry. It is interesting how challenging times change the way we see our day-to-day work and make it difficult to keep a long- term outlook. Even a momentary loss of focus could be fatal in today’s market. We simply cannot afford any navel-gazing or self-pity. We at Chemigate took a hard look at ourselves and realized that our strengths are unchanged, our people are still among the best professionals in the industry, and our customers have faith in us. In other words, it’s full gallop ahead. “A bridge of donkeys”, my Finnish teacher would have called this. Project Steed is the new expansion project of our specialty chemicals business line. In addition to the geographical expansion of our paper markets, our goal is to renew our product portfolio and even add some new applications. The situation in China’s paper market appears favourable. The giddy boom of the paper market is over in China. First, investments took all the attention and then their fast growth ate up all the resources. Now it’s time to boost efficiency. The focus has shifted to energy and cost efficiency along with environmental matters. When a small company leaves its comfort zone, it is a good idea to maintain an appropriate level of humility. Paradoxically, self-assurance and even some arrogance are needed as well. Prior to starting the operational part of our project, we spent a lot of time familiarising ourselves with the markets


and defining our value promise. We cannot teach the original inventors how to make paper. However, all through the 2000s, Finland has had to focus on making its paper production more efficient. We believe that that’s where our added value has to be based. A paper engineer may find it exotic to invest in the applications of the construction industry. We see it as applying a proven concept in a new industry. We ask our clients to tell us what they need and aim for. Then, we search for a solution in the form of a bio-product avoiding the use of so-called hard chemicals. Our solutions don’t often look like those of our competitors, and copying is certainly not how we conduct ourselves. This is no easy approach and it would be completely impossible without people such as Aki Laine, our very own fearless and open-minded inventor. You can read more about Aki and the construction industry in the story about the gypsum board manufacturer Knauf on page 6. In addition to new projects and successful product innovations, I hope, of course, that Chemigate is a great place to work and a partner to be proud of. Our fitness campaign, which has drawn in not only the vast majority of our crew but also several other companies, is a small example of our efforts, which you can read about on page 14.


Tom Schauman, On board the Shanghai – Beijing bullet train


Salesman found his place Chemigate’s latest sales professional, Mikko Nieminen, observes test runs, toils away in his home office, and still finds time to exercise.


ikko Nieminen, who started at Chemigate in January, has accumulated extensive knowledge in the chemical industry.

—— I work as a sales engineer at Chemigate, with focus on special chemicals.

own capabilities. Keep your eyes on the road; it’s no use to keep looking over your shoulder, Nieminen says quietly.

Decision-makers close to the field Nieminen has enjoyed his new job very much.

With 20 years of experience in the paper industry, this paper technology engineer has worked in several sales and customer service positions in the paper and pulp industry. His former employers include Hercules Finland Oy, Nalco Finland Oy, and BIM Finland Oy. Originally brought up in the small Finnish town of Jämsänkoski, Nieminen had no trouble deciding on his future career. The strong local tradition in the paper industry made it the obvious choice for him.

—— I like the fact that decision-makers are close by and decisions are made without delay. I can also have a say in matters. I could imagine retiring from this job when the time comes. I want to get thorough training for this work, do business, and get results, Nieminen summarises. ■

—— Just before graduation, my friends and I decided to study paper technology. Many of us sent in applications and followed through.

With courage and confidence

• Establishing my place in the organisation. • Maintain trust and confidence in the Finnish forest industry in the constantly changing and challenging state of the market.

My greatest achievements

Nieminen, who markets Chemigate products everywhere in Finland, spends his work days monitoring trial runs, doing basic measurements, and testing product selections. His days in the office are dedicated to paper work. International assignments may also become part of his future. Nieminen, who does part of his work from his home in Tampere, has familiarised himself well with the domestic organisation. He counts a certain level of perseverance among his guiding principles. —— My goal is to always proceed with courage, trusting my


Challenges for 2014



• My three healthy, beloved children. • Placing fourth in the Finnish championship of wrestling.

Leisure-time interests • Spending time with my children. We play, go swimming, etc. • Whenever there is snow in winter, I like to ski, and in summer I roller-skate. I also try to stay active in the gym.

Strength & runnability PrimeBOND specialty biopolymers by Chemigate


m o t s u c ro d u c t

e h t r ised fo




■■ Established in Kankaanpää in 1991, Knauf Oy is a company specialising in the manufacture of gypsum boards. ■■ Knauf develops, manufactures, and sells various construction materials, most importantly gypsum-based products, plasters, and insulation materials. ■■ Knauf Oy belongs to the German Knauf Group, which today has over 200 offices worldwide. Founded in 1932, the Group continues to be a family-owned business. ■■ The Knauf Group is one of the leading European manufacturers of construction materials and one of the largest gypsum board suppliers in the world.



Chemigate is reaching out to an interesting new market sector. The construction industry opens up completely new opportunities for cooperation and product development in starch applications.


hemigate contacted us, and we became interested in the possibility of obtaining starch from them for our product needs. We worked together in product development, did some test runs, and so our collaboration was established,” Plant Manager Olli Santahuhta from Knauf Oy in Kankaanpää explains.


Specialising in the manufacture and sale of gypsum boards and other construction products, Knauf Oy is a new collaboration partner of Chemigate. Family-owned business, the worldwide Knauf Group is one of the largest gypsum board producers in the world. Knauf invests heavily in high-quality gypsum capabilities. —— There are not many players in Finland, but the competition is still tough, says Santahuhta.

Seeing the process with their own eyes Last autumn, a group of Knauf people visited the Lapua plant of Chemigate. Santahuhta was pleased with the day. —— We like to visit our suppliers from time to time to audit and to get to know their process. We wanted to see with our own eyes where starch really comes from. We thought about the production process together – what is important, what can we inf luence, and where can we be f lexible.


One important consideration in the background of the visit was work safety. —— Over the last decade, we have put much effort into our own work safety system. I read in a previous issue of Bridge that Chemigate in its present form has had no workplace accidents in 20 years. We were interested to hear how such a good result had been achieved and what we could learn from them. We did, indeed, get an affirmation for the work we have been doing. We have taken very similar measures at our plant, says Santahuhta.

Enthusiastic product development According to Santahuhta, good collaboration consists of flexible development, fulfilled promises, good communication, and smooth advancement of common issues. Santahuhta is quite pleased with the supplier relationship between Chemigate and Knauf. (Will continue on the next spread.)



—— The product has worked as expected. Transports have been smooth, and notifications of changes in schedule have been sent without fail. Chemigate convinced the Knauf people with their innovative attitude. —— We appreciate it that Chemigate was ready to develop and customise a working product to suit our needs precisely. They didn’t offer us a ready-made solution, but modified it to meet our requirements exactly, Santahuhta emphasises. This plant manager reveals that he is something of a developer himself. —— It is wonderful that Chemigate is so enthusiastic about developing the product. If we mention something special, they immediately tackle it and start developing the idea further. I like that very much. Another important factor was that the supplier was from Finland and located nearby.



—— We like to use Finnish products and suppliers as much as possible. We are the only manufacturer of gypsum boards in Finland that uses the Key Flag Symbol, indicating the Finnish origin of our product.

Increased recycling Santahuhta believes that the future of Knauf products and operations is stable. The next big challenge for Knauf is to develop optimal recycling solutions. —— We have recycled our own products for a few years already, but from now on we will increase our efforts in that area. We have made small improvements to the system to make recycling more efficient. According to Santahuhta, the going is pretty smooth in the gypsum board industry. —— We don’t see any big signs of threats and will continue our progress. The collaboration with Chemigate can also be expected to continue in the long run. I hope that the product will be developed further, as has been the case so far. ■


Starch chemistry still full of surprises

Aki Laine, Chemigate’s Product Development Manager, reveals that starch has always been his favourite topic of research.


tarch can bring about surprising solutions. It’s an incredibly multidimensional substance with an infinite number of characteristics and features to study.

Master of Science (Chemical Technology) specialising in starch chemistry, Aki Laine has previously worked in new product development at the Technical Research Centre VTT, Ciba, and BASF, among others. This top expert in his field has years of experience under his belt in the research and development of starch and other chemicals.

Construction materials and water treatment are among the latest development challenges of Chemigate. —— During the product development process of non-paper applications, the key issues are often ecology and cost efficiency. Knauf has been pleased with the products we have developed and with the fact that we have listened to their requests. For our customers in waste water treatment as well, the ease-of-use and efficiency of our products have been deciding factors. (Will continue on the next spread.)




Gypsum board starch is a model example of a new market area and successful cooperation with a client. — — The appropriate form and ease-of-use of a product are often the decisive elements. Gypsum board starch is a model example of a new market area and successful cooperation with a customer. One of the current product development lines of Chemigate is cold solubility, which means that products do not need to be cooked but can be added to water or to the customer’s formula as they are. This makes a wider field of applications possible and it is also often a prerequisite for finding cost-efficient commercial solutions for new market sectors.

Challenges for 2014 • Development of new dry-modification tech nologies and more efficient strength poly mers.

My greatest achievements • 2 boys, aged 5 and 7 • Interesting work experience, completely in line with current work.

Leisure-time interests • Summer cottage, exercising, and technical gadgets.

S ci ro cco su r face s t a rch es by Ch e m igate

The objective of Chemigate’s product development is to offer our customers flexible and cost-efficient solutions.

— — One of the current product development lines of Chemigate is cold solubility, which means that products do not need to be cooked but can be added to water or to the client’s formula as they are. This makes a wider field of applications possible and it is also often a prerequisite for finding cost-efficient commercial solutions for new market sectors. ■


Customisation on customers’ terms



PrimeSIZE hydrophobic sizes by Chemigate

Passionate about PRECISION 12



One of the principal employers in Lapua, ammunition manufacturer Nammo Lapua Oy keeps aiming higher.


ammo Lapua’s cartridges are used in sport shooting and hunting worldwide. Defence force and law enforcement are also among their customers.

The plant manufactures small-calibre cartridges and their components. According to Nammo Lapua’s Marketing and Sales Manager Erkki Seikkula, the manufacture of cartridges is a very special part of the metal industry that is without competition in Finland. —— The production of cartridges and their components consists of unique precision-shaping of brass and lead using infinite-precision tools. Nammo’s guideline “passion for precision” also reflects that line. Not only do Nammo’s products hit the target precisely, but precision is the goal of all their activities, products, and services.

Globally recognised quality

was in the warehouse and saw that the custom-made cartridges were still there. Accidentally, Stenvaag had been sent mass-produced ammo, but his faith in us was strong enough, Seikkula chuckles. Nammo constantly aims higher. What’s good enough today, will not be sufficient tomorrow.

Weapons and shooting often evoke extreme emotions. —— The media has presented us in a positive light with regard to biathlon. Our work has been noticed by those who were not already familiar with shooting or hunting.

—— We improve the technical quality of our products every day. We are proud of our work. We want to be in the vanguard of development and a forerunner in our industry. ■

While Seikkula calls the 90-year-old cartridge factory a youngster in its field, it has operated through difficult war years when our lives and independence were threatened. Thanks to its high-quality product range, Lapua today is a globally known and recognised brand. —— Our products are expensive, but they are also amongst the best in the world. We attempt to develop new solutions and innovations from a slightly different perspective. Our company in faraway Finland is able to deliver products worldwide.

■■ Nammo Lapua Oy manufactures high-quality small-calibre cartridges and their components for ci vilian and official use ■■ The company’s origins date back to 1923, when Val tion Patruunatehdas was founded in Lapua.

Power of image Over the years, there have been many funny incidents. Sometimes faith in premium quality can be stronger than the reality. —— The Norwegian top shooter Harald Stenvaag once ordered custom-made cartridges from us. They were crafted as ordered, packaged in Master L cartridge cases and taken to the warehouse to wait to be shipped to Norway. Soon Stenvaag called us and praised the cartridges he had received. A few days later, I


■■ The Nammo Group was founded in 1998, when the Finnish Patria, Swedish Celsius, and Norwegian Rau foss joined forces to form an international ammuni tion firm. ■■ Operating in several countries, Nammo employs some 3,000 people. ■■ The 150 employees at the Lapua plant are known as “paukkulaiset” (“the blasters”).



Improving the world


The fitness campaign that saw its beginning last year, will continue in the spring. This time, the campaign will be given an extra boost in the form of a charitable donation.


any at Chemigate are already familiar with the campaign. In Chemigate’s hands, the concept has been broadened to cover more people. This year for the first time, the campaign forms a part of Chemigate’s official workplace health promotion programme and includes, in addition to voluntary fitness testing, a charitable contribution to the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. The number of participants in the campaign is higher than ever. We have challenged our partners, raw material suppliers, and former colleagues, among others. The foremost goal of the campaign is to improve the physical fitness of our staff, foster a good mood, and strengthen community spirit. The idea for a fitness campaign was born in the early 2000s, when the old parent company experienced some turbulence, employees



were stressed and hurried, and sick leaves started to have an impact on our work. Salespeople queued up to have their blood pressure taken and tried to plan when everybody could take their sick leave. This prompted, after some talk around the coffee table, the initiation of a playful competition with the goal of achieving better health and increasing well-being at work. Neighbouring tables and units were challenged, and the concept quickly became popular. Even people with little previous experience were eager to participate and try new sports.

Our goal: regular exercise The basic idea of this campaign is simple. Teams collect points and compete against each other. As in work, achieving our exercise goal requires that we give encouragement to our colleagues and work together. Our goal is that each team member gets at least two exercise points every week. Every uninterrupted 30-minute exercise session gives a member one point. Over a 12-week period, the total weekly average of a team should be at least two points.


Better team spirit for a good cause The fitness campaign has attracted large numbers of people both from Chemigate and other businesses answering our challenge. All in all, there were some 130 people from ten different businesses. The experience has been quite good all around. A common project is a great way to improve team spirit and solidarity. Chemigate has also committed to donating one euro for every exercise point earned at Chemigate to the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. Most of our partners have done likewise, and this dedicated exercising is likely to result in more than 3,000 euros in contribution.

A common project is a great way to improve team spirit and solidarity. The powers behind the campaign aim to make the campaign part of the company’s annual operation model. Chemigate will continue to challenge our partner companies to exercise and increase everyday well-being. Watch out! You just might get challenged next year. â–




Road open to

CHINA Chemigate is preparing to expand its business into the Chinese market. Excellent timing, careful planning, and high-quality, custom-made products will smooth out the start-up process on the new continent. —— We launched our special products designed for the Chinese market last autumn at the China Paper exhibition in Beijing. We also gave a presentation at a symposium held during the exhibition. Since the exhibition, we have searched for partners, set up a distributor network, and carried out the first trial runs



on paper machines, says Tom Schauman, Business Director. Chemigate is preparing a service-based business concept to be introduced in the Asian markets. Project Steed, which started in 2012 with support from Tekes (Finnish Funding Centre for Technology and Innovation), was named after the current year of the horse in the Chinese calendar. Chemigate intends to use more efficient, deliverable special products to enter the Chinese market. —— The Chinese use a lot of recycled material and shorterfibred raw material which is likely to cause interruptions in the process. Our PrimeBOND, RaiFIX, and PrimeRUN products


are designed to improve not only the runnability and efficiency of paper machines, but also the quality of the end product. Because of stricter environmental legislation, it’s no longer possible to overuse inexpensive, poor-quality chemicals,” Schauman explains.

Strong player in paper industry The coordination of Chemigate’s distributor field is the responsibility of Peter West, a paper-industry consultant living in China. —— While Chemigate is a new name in the Chinese market, we do have a good story to tell about the company’s history. Chemigate has a strong focus on the paper industry and good European references.

Chemigate is a new name in the Chinese market, we do have a good story to tell about the company’s history. A native Australian, West has lived in China for 14 years and has some 20 years’ experience in the country’s business culture. — — To be sure, there are some differences between

the Chinese and European business customs, but also many similarities. Customs are more restrained now than 20 years ago. It would be rare today to celebrate the signing of an agreement with a bottle of traditional baijiu liquor. Most customers are looking for reliable suppliers, who offer high-quality, efficient products at low cost.

Innovativeness is rewarded Yao “Tony” Tao, a Senior Consultant consultant working at Finpro’s Chinese office, was charged with carrying out a market survey and obtained a list of distributors suitable for Chemigate. —— The Chinese market presents a challenge for any company. Complications include over-production, which drives down prices, and tough competition. At the same time, China opens up the possibility of huge sales. Tao praises Chemigate’s innovative approach. —— With Chemigate’s products, the Chinese paper industry can save on wet-end chemicals and improve the paper quality at the same time. In times of over-production and a challenging economic situation, that is exactly what Chinese paper mills need to make a profit.

Perfect timing While the conquest of the Chinese market by a small Finnish company is sure to be challenging, Schauman remains confident. Chemigate’s high-quality products, careful preparations, and favourable market situation give cause for optimism. Peter West agrees. (Will continue on the next spread.) (Jatkuu seuraavalla aukeamalla.)

—— Chemigate’s products are intended for the paper industry, whose era of intense growth is slowing down. Chemigate’s timing is perfect, because right now the paper industry is pursuing higher productivity and better quality through cost-effective solutions. There is huge demand for fixatives and strength chemicals in China. Thanks to tightening environmental legislation, it’s no longer possible to overuse inexpensive, poor-quality chemicals. —— Chemigate’s future in the Chinese market looks bright. The entry has been planned well, and once deliveries start running, the next step is to start production, West summarizes. ■

Challenges for 2014 • My personal challenge is to lose five kilos (about 11 pounds). I have a bet going on this with my Korean business partner. His goal is to quit smoking. • My work-related goal is to ensure that Chemigate wins a strong foothold in China. We intend to generate regular business that can be developed further.

Leisure-time interests • Spending time with my family and playing golf.












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