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Love in the Time of Cholera The title is the name of a novel by Gabriel García Márquez. As I am writing this editorial, we are deep in the midst of what appears to be the greatest challenge to face our nation in more than 70 years. Our president has expressed his views and, for once, the government seems to be of one mind. A part of me would like to do what Boccaccio did some 700 years ago in the plague-riddled Italy – in other words, move to the periphery with my friends and tell dirty stories drinking wine. Then, I happened to read Mika Ihamuotila’s (Marimekko, Rovio) LinkedIn article, in which he said this is a time when companies’ values will be tested. I strongly agree. At the end of last year and the beginning of this one, we engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about values within the company. The entire staff were invited to the events. The discussion was rewarding despite the difficult topic. The difficulty was mostly due to it being challenging to put good practices developed over two generations onto paper, crystallise them into individual words, or force them into the form of various charts and diagrams. Despite our sites being fairly scattered in terms of their location, similar values such as joy, courage, competence, responsibility, collaboration and flexibility rose to the surface everywhere. It was wonderful to witness the strength of our corporate culture and the fact that our values clearly bind our people and facilities together. Salaries and wages, which is what we call the compensations we get for free time lost, are what drive us to work, but it is something different entirely that keeps us going back to the same workplace time and time again. The following is an example of our values. Before Christmas, we were temporarily forced to go into overdrive and run our factories at full capacity

because our customers needed our help for a variety of reasons. As is often the case in these situations, we ran into unexpected, but not insurmountable, bottlenecks. I was invited to join a rapidly formed working group, because I was needed. The situation brought a flight control tower to mind: a large group of people cooperating seamlessly on a tight schedule, since it is everyone’s priority to keep the planes in the air. The pressure was further increased by the upcoming holidays and the Santa’s duties waiting at home. I was there because of my expertise in a specific small area, not because I was the boss. It felt natural for everyone from shift supervisors to sales guys to delegate work tasks to me just as long as the job got done. I feel confident in saying that we would not have been able to rise to the challenge had we not been

able to handle our duties, show courage in the face of adversity, feel responsibility to our customers and company, demonstrate flexibility and enjoy our work. This year Chemigate is celebrating its anniversary. We are turning ten years old. In years past, perceptive readers may have picked up a hint of development-related angst in my writings. The situation is now better. The POLKU 2019 (PATH 2019) strategy project was completed last year, and since then every employee has put in work to clarify our company’s values. We now have a path along which to proceed and values that keep us on it. This magazine includes more stories on responsibility, partnership, flexibility and innovation. We are facing firmly forward, but we will permit ourselves a few glances over the shoulder for the sake of nostalgia. The beginning of Chemigate’s anniversary year has been a blur. It is my hope that I will soon be able to write about things other than strikes, coronavirus and the publication of the Bridge. There are many wonderful things going on that I would like to write about, but they will have to wait for now. While you wait, why not take a break and celebrate our collective birthday with a cup of coffee. At the very least those who read these pages closely will get that opportunity. I hope that the content of this year’s the Bridge will draw enough interest to postpone the next phase of its fate in the circular economy. I would also like extend my thanks to all those who worked to make this magazine happen. P.S. Chemigate will turn ten years old on 31 October. Editor-in-chief, Tom


LOV E IN THE TIM E O F CHO LE RA....................... 2 GOOD P EOP LE, GOOD WORK !.................................................... 4 THE HIS TORY OF PAPE R.................................... 8 BEYOND PA P ER – VIS IONA RIES A ND GO-GE T TE RS...................... 10 C ROS S-BORD ER PARTNE RSHIP . . ....................... 17 W HAT IS THE FU TURE OF PAP ER U S E?................................................. 18 C YBER RIS K S M U S T BE TAKE N SE RIO USLY....... 2 0 M OVING TOWARDS SCIE NCE-BASE D, C LIM ATE FRIEND LY T ECHNO LO GY.. .................. 2 1 S AVING ENERGY AND NAT URE ........................ 2 2 GREAT TEAM S P IRIT BRO UGHT A P OLYM ER C HEMIST TO CHE MIGAT E............. 2 3 P ROP ELLERHEAD S – HE ADS IN THE SKY, BOOTS ON THE GRO UND................................ 24 FOC U S P LAN, IND USTRIAL SE RVICE S FOR M ORE THA N T HRE E DECADE S.................. 2 5 C A S E P RIM EBOND . . .......................................... 2 6 GOOD JOB, U S !............................................... 30 P ETIT FOU RS . . .................................................. 32 FINGERP ORI..................................................... 34 FIND ING A FEW BI G-BAGS............................... 35

The Bridge is Chemigate’s customer magazine. Editor in chief Tom Schauman (tom.schauman@chemigate.fi) Editorial staff: Maisa Kantola, Tom Schauman Editorial contributors: Timo Kankaanpää, Kati Haapaniemi Layout: Jenga Markkinointiviestintä Oy Cover picture: Pertti Jarla Printing house: Grano Paper: Multiart silk Feedback: marketing@chemigate.fi

You receive the The Bridge magazine, since your name 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 e-mail to marketing@chemigate.fi. You can also order the magazine or provide us with feedback via the same e-mail address.




Good people, good work!

As demonstrated by this magazine, partnership is one of Chemigate’s core values. Strengthening trust helps make interests and goals mutual, allowing collaborations to burgeon into partnerships. To commemorate our anniversary, we wanted to highlight a few people who are very important to us – people who have understood our needs and goals and worked towards them as hard as we have. These flexible partners have helped us out of difficult situations and been willing to lend their time to projects that have been important to our operations. These skilled and reliable experts have sometimes even put in far more effort than would have been needed. With the personal investment of their time and expertise, these amazing individuals have helped us forge onwards. Their role may not always have been very prominent, but without them we would not be at our current level. We have had countless partners that meet these criteria over the years. In the following stories, we will introduce you to six of them.

When an investment project needs to succeed, this is the man we trust Arto Haapanen’s jobs have changed but Chemigate has stayed with him. “Arto is someone we trust deeply. We have been collaborating fruitfully for a long time and will continue to do so. “ The summary provided by Chemigate’s Production Director Harri Heikkinen on Arto Haapanen is short and sweet. It is also a good description of his role in the company’s history going all the way back to Raisio Chemicals, Ciba and BASF. Haapanen also played an important role when the dry modification plant was built in Lapua in 2010. “I served as the project manager of the dry modification project. I had been involved in the survey and design process for many years, so I had a good handle on what we were doing. Seppo Lamminmäki, who was Managing Director at the time, asked me to get involved, which resulted in my working for Chemigate for a couple of years. This project, which is one of the most important ones in the company’s history, was memorable in many ways. 4


“The project was challenging, extensive and involved a lot of pressure with regard to the budget and schedule. The changing economic trends also coloured many of the work phases. At times, we even wanted to throw in the towel. Fortunately, our Managing Director supported the efforts well and we had good people making sure we got across the finish line,” Haapanen reminisces. From Chemigate, Haapanen moved on to Finnamyl and then to the engineering firm Focusplan, which remains his employer to this day. Yet Chemigate will always have a special place in his heart. I have assisted Chemigate annually with a variety of investment projects, providing design, control and coordination services through Focusplan. The collaboration works well across the board,” Haapanen says, commending the partnership.

A patent engineer filters and crystallises Esko Lalli has been serving as Chemigate’s consulting patent engineer for quite some time. Lalli and Chemigate have had a shared history starting from the days of the Raisio Group. Lalli has had a long career as a patent engineer covering patent matters related to starches and other paper chemicals. “Esko provides us with patent-related support on a consultancy basis. This involves monthly monitoring, which means examining what competitors and customers are doing in the patent field. Esko has a knack for filtering out the most essential from thousands of patent publications and crystallising the staggeringly long patent documents, down to the key elements which he then presents in understandable form. In addition to the monitoring, Esko has been involved in conducting targeted patent searches and freedom-to-operate analyses to support production development. In other words, he is a true

expert in the field,” says Chemigate’s CTO Aki Laine. Lalli boils his role down to two primary duties: “I strive to condense and filter the patent publications to find the information that is useful to Chemigate. This monitoring work and monthly reports on competitor patents remain my primary tasks. We have had a long history together since the birth of Chemigate, so the dialogue and interaction work seamlessly,” Lalli says commending the partnership According to Lalli, patent publications are a good way to keep an eye on what is going on in the field. “There are well over 100 million patent publications in the world already. They can be regarded as the most important sources of technical knowledge in the world. Utilising this knowledge can help avoid many pitfalls and find important tools and ideas for your own product development efforts.

Full-service partnership

SNcargo’s Expert Coordinator Kai Aunesluoma has provided Chemigate’s specialty chemicals business operations with support and confidence. An expert in international logistics and Export Coordinator for the SNcargo forwarding company, Kai Aunesluoma has played an essential role in organising the shipping arrangements related to Chemigate’s specialty chemicals business operations in China. According to Jaana Karvonen, who serves as Chemigate’s controller and person in charge of the order-supply chain for the Chinese oper-

ations, Aunesluoma’s know-how has often been extremely valuable. “In terms of the shipping arrangements, we had to learn a lot of new things especially early on, but Kai had the patience to answer all our questions, even when he found them a little silly. He has been very easy to work with. In addition to this, his efforts have been very valuable both in terms of time and even money,” Karvonen says, commending Aunesluoma’s work. Karvonen says that Aunesluoma’s expertise and overall attitude towards customer service has been important in the rapidly changing situations. “Even though shipping to Asia takes a long time, the reactions to any changes

must often be very swift. In these situations, too, Kai has been flexible and willing to help, sometimes even outside office hours.” “At times, he has supported us with matters that are technically outside the agreed scope of the services. As an example, he has helped us interpret e-mail messages from shipping companies containing professional jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.” “Kai has provided us with extremely comprehensive and competent services. He has an excellent understanding of our needs and those of our customers, and has lent his expertise to supporting the growth of our business in Asia. This is true partnership,” Karvonen emphasises.



Database specialist Long-lasting cooperation has cemented Esko Hagren as part of Chemigate’s corporate culture. A great many Chemigate employees come face-toface with Esko Hagren’s handiwork in their daily work activities. Some of the company’s employees know Hagren by the courses on Excel usage he held in the days of the Raisio Group, which also sparked the long-term partnership. “Shortly after the courses, I got a call from Lapua enquiring about my willingness to come and help the company build database-driven systems. More than 20 years down the road, the partnership continues,” says Hagren who offers his services to Chemigate as a freelancer. According to Chemigate’s Production Manager Harri Heikkinen, Hagren has designed at least 20 different applications related to finances, production and wastewater management for the company.

“The long-lasting cooperation has cemented Esko as part of Chemigate’s corporate culture and mission. He knows our ways and expectations. When we are envisioning a new application, Esko can often parse the type of tool or system we need from half a sentence. It is very easy to work with a partner like him,” enthuses Heikkinen. Hagren, too, confirms this notion of in-depth knowledge relating to the company. “The cooperation has continued long enough that I sometimes feel like a member of the Chemigate team instead of an external service provider. Due to the variety of functions, processes and applications involved, I have had to examine the matters at hand very closely. This has taught me a lot about the company. In some cases, I have remembered certain things better than the company’s own staff,” Hagren says with a laugh.

An eye for the game and a capacity to react quickly Transport Coordinator Pirjo Hietamäki keeps the many threads of transport arrangements firmly in her grasp. Despite often being a relatively invisible part of a logistics company’s operations, the role of a transport coordinator may be critical from the perspective of the operating chain and the seller-buyer-customer relationship. The customer does not differentiate between the company and the provider of the logistics services and only sees the overall package where everything must be in its right place. Pirjo Hietamäki, Transport Coordinator at Kuljetusliike E. Laurila, has served Chemigate for quite some time, ensuring that products are shipped to the right destinations at the right times. The demands of the job have only increased over the years as the cars are out practically all the time and changes must be handled without interrupting operations. It was stressful especially early on, since there were so many moving parts. The impacts of weather, equipment problems and schedule changes made by the customer require a transport coordinator with an eye for the game and the capacity to react



quickly. The work requires you to stay focused and alert – there is very little time to think about other things when coordinating transport arrangements. Even though we are a logistics company, we also represent the business that ordered the transport. This is the principle behind our operations,” explains Hietamäki. Rapidly changing conditions are a staple of a transport coordinator’s duties, and tricky situations tend to occur from time to time. The coordinator must be able to maintain focus under all circumstances. “Pirjo has shown herself to be a consummate professional capable of managing everything involved and ensuring that our customers’ needs are met,” says Chemigate’s Logistics Manager Yrjö Lundell. “It takes experience and insight to manage the comings and goings of the vehicles, the tight schedules and other factors that are difficult to predict, such as the weather. In this chain, even the small things can have a significant impact.

The customer is the most important tool for a graphic designer Juhana Peltomaa created Chemigate’s visual image with a fresh touch but respecting traditions. Juhana Peltomaa has been providing Chemigate with services related to graphic design and external brand building since the company was established. Peltomaa ended up designing Chemigate’s logo and visual image partly by chance when his office at the time remained open in July when all others were closed for the vacation period. The collaboration has continued to this day. “The paper and chemicals industries have traditionally been the cornerstones of our industry, so I wanted to take a classical approach to the design, without forgetting a modern and fresh feel,” Peltomaa recalls. Chemigate CEO Tom Schauman praises Peltomaa’s visual expertise and ability to take the customer’s wishes to heart. “Juhana usually catches on midway through the sentence, and the end result is often better than we could ever have imagined. In addition, he speaks the language of entrepreneurs and covers things in con-

crete ways instead of focusing on pie-inthe-sky visions. He knows us and can provide credible results with a laidback feel,” Schauman emphasises. According to Peltomaa, a strong understanding of the customer base is one of a designer’s most important tools. My philosophy has always been that we need to do things together, and I believe this is also one of my strengths. In this work, too, effective interaction and listening to the customer are essential to achieving a high-quality end result. Perseverance is also one of the core values of a good customer relationship. I believe in perseverance instead of chasing a quick profit. Foresight is sometimes difficult, but even responses to emergency situations become easier when the customer and service provider know each other well. This is also the basis of my smooth cooperation with Chemigate,” Peltomaa praises.






An ode to possibly the most undervalued invention of mankind. The official history of mankind always remembers Gutenberg when it comes to the spread of literacy, culture and general education. This 15th-century disruption certainly deserves praise, but in essence the idea was to combine existing inventions. The most important of these, in my view, is paper, whose roots go much deeper into the sediments of history. The word paper itself is a bit misleading. It comes from the word “papyrus”, which was used for the same purpose and produced based on the same fundamentals as paper, but from different raw materials. According to the words of Roman politician Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus (circa 500 C.E.), papyrus was used as a “faithful witness of human deeds”, making it the “enemy of oblivion”. A few hundred years before Cassiodorus’s enduring one-liners, his countryman Pliny the Elder (circa 50 C.E.) praised the material: “human civilization depends, at the most for its life, and certainly for its memory” on the reed. I consider it my duty to mention Pliny for the simple reason that he also investigated the use of starch as glue. Heeding the hand that feeds you...



Bast, hemp, cloth scraps and fishing nets If we want to examine the origin of paper in its present sense, we can stay around the same time frame, but we have to take flight AY 097, operated by the safest airline in the world (Finnair), to Guangzhou in Southern China. Historians have good reason to give paper the birth date of 105 C.E. The good reason being that its birth was documented, unlike previous historical inventions, on paper. Cai Lun was the emperor Ho Tin’s armorer and a all-around nerd whose inventions are very highly respected today. Cai Lun’s process used bast, hemp, cloth scraps and fishing nets. As someone who has observed the local manufacture of recycled fibre packaging board, I can assure you that the recipe has not changed all that much. Together with PrimeBOND®, however, you can turn it into first-rate packaging material these days. On the wings of packaging board, we can now jump clockwise across the Pacif-

ic Ocean, where Robert Gair, a Scotsman, toiled in a printing house in Brooklyn in 1890. Even then, the Americans had become used to pouring their Kellogg’s Corn Flakes from a coloured cardboard box, and the popularity of the carton box as a convenient package was on an unprecedented rise. The printing house was kept busy. So, it is likely that Bob was behind schedule and rushing. And maybe some screws that Bobby forgot to tighten failed. The story does not say. In any case, the fact is that when the machine was supposed to fold on that fateful day, it instead started to cut. The result was a breakthrough: a pre-cut packaging form based on folding cartons, which is now also known as the cardboard box. Corrugated cardboard had already been previously patented in the Old World, but by combining inventions (corrugated board + liner on both sides), it was possible to develop a lightweight, durable and easy-to-use packaging format. The first corrugated cardboard box was officially produced in 1895.

Finland’s first original PM1 At what point did Finland get involved, then? After all, the land of thousands of paper engineers is known to have the forests, energy and water needed in the paper industry. At first, the water systems were used since Finland lacked the convenient four-lane Autobahns, because trees moved almost by themselves along our rivers and lakes. When Finland started to show signs of industrialisation, our forests were used initially for burning tar as an energy source and as construction material. In the 16th century, a bean-counter of the day came to the conclusion that if trees could be cut to the shape and form, this building materials business could be made profitable, and so the sawmill industry was born. Until the late 19th century, wood entering and leaving the sawmills and unfit for its intended purpose was ignored. Then, much before the coining of the term ‘circular economy’, it was decided in Finland to begin to use that wood material. Even though paper production had been carried out as early as the 17th century in Tammisaari on a smaller scale, a machine considered Finland’s first original PM1 was built at J.C. Frenckell’s mill in Tampere in 1842. Did Frenckell’s management team unknowingly define the basic profile of the production manager of a paper machine, which has been used for all recruitment to the present day? A hard-working, proud, self-respecting, taciturn tough nut, whose religion and fundamental values are embodied in the idea “run the machine, run it hard”. Be it as it may, I think that this investment could be seen as the starting shot. Wood, paper and printing products have remained top exports in every decade since the early 20th century. Today, wood

fibre is experiencing a new golden age, and it is not based on its positive employment effect or its undisputed ability to keep eggs intact, but rather on something else.

Single-use plastics directive Do you remember the time when Big Macs came in a styrofoam box? Before abandoning this undeniably useful packaging, McDonald’s had long defended the use of expanded polystyrene plastic with the fact that no tree had been felled in the production of the packaging (Los Angeles Times, 2 Novem-

ber 1990). Combined with the debate on the inadequacy of forests as a carbon sink, this is a good example of a position based on ignorance that obscures the issue and will help fossil fuel producers and their lobby laugh up their sleeve for many years to come. (According to Professor Robert J. Brulle, $2 billion was spent on lobbying in the Unites States between 2000 and 2016). However, something happened in 2019, which certainly caused even the most hardened cynic to notice that the winds of change were coming. I am not talking about a Swedish teenager’s cruise from Solsidan to NYC, but rather about something as ba-

nal as an EU directive. The Single-use Plastics Directive, adopted by the EU in summer 2019, aims to reduce the use of so-called redundant plastic. The logical replacement for plastics in many applications is and will be paper or paperboard made from renewable raw materials.

Printed media has overwhelming advantages I am a devoted bibliophile, and that affects my way of approaching this topic. I would like to return to the theme from the beginning of the article, where I mentioned the importance of paper as the enemy of oblivion. I believe that the importance of this has been emphasised in the present day. Printed media still has some outstanding advantages compared to its modern competitors. The first is the user interfaces integrated in the human body, which are also called eyes by medical professionals. Secondly, I would like to remind you that once the printed word has been brought into the world, it is difficult to deny it afterwards. The credibility of the printed word compared to the internet is still, at least for the time being, overwhelming. The third advantage I wish to highlight is ownership. When you buy a work in a digital format, your ownership is controversial. In articles written by John Archer in 2018, for example, Forbes highlighted the weakness of the ownership rights to digital material. The good thing about printed material is that when you take it to your home and toss it on the coffee table, no one will take it away from you – not unless the world takes a big leap towards a Bradbury dystopia. In this article, I have freely used the material, ideas and segues that Nicholas A. Basbanes, doubtless on the basis of a long study, was able to bring to everyone’s enjoyment in his book ”On Paper – The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History” (Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2013). My scribblings certainly do not hold a candle to this excellent book, so I recommend all paper-makers and others pottering about with the medium to buy it for their own library.






Beyond Paper – visionaries and go-getters One decade gone and many to go. As its recently updated strategy indicates, Chemigate is also heavily involved in the development of the paper and paperboard sector. But how does the future look for our customers and, by extension, us? Is it possible to peer into the future, and what means do we have to impact our fate? Are some future developments already evident?

When we had finished turning our own Tarot cards, we decided to ask a few experts in the field for more information on the issue. We got some very interesting and knowledgeable comments. In summary, you could say that means are available and the future is looking good. The problem will not be a lack of opportunities. In ten years, we can come back to this topic and see how everything went.

How do we speed up innovations? Metsä Spring, a part of Metsä Group, is an innovation and capital investment firm. Its vision is to become to most valued partner in the development of new business opportunities based on bioeconomy and the circular economy. Jarkko Tuominen serves as a project lead at Metsä Spring. Currently, he is heading a collaboration project between Metsä Spring and Valmet, which involves bringing new fibre-based options for fossil-based consumer packaging to the market.

What has been the most significant change in the field to you personally in the past 20 years? The most significant change is currently under way, as we are looking for alternatives for plastics.

How do you see the Finnish paper and paperboard industry developing in the next ten years? The Finnish forest sector has a good development outlook in the coming decade. We have quality raw materials, efficient logistical arrangements and lots of expertise.



Jarkko Tuominen b M.Sc. (Tech.) Wood Processing, A long career in a variety of companies in the packaging and special paper fields and management consulting b Special expertise: packaging business b Position: Metsä Spring, Project Lead. Formerly; VP/ Director Business Development at Metsä Board

The question is, how can we speed up innovations even further. In addition to our current development efforts, we as a field can expand our innovation activities and increase the number of calculated investments in new kinds of projects involving more risk. This requires strong leadership and internal trust. It takes time for organisations to change, but we are quickly heading in the right direction Many start-ups have also emerged to meet market needs, and these newcomers are quick on their feet. If larger companies can support the start-ups in the right way, we can expedite the impact of their innovations on a wider scale.

What are the trends in the field, and what is driving change? What is slowing it down? What are the most significant challenges in the field? There is no question that the drivers are reducing carbon dioxide emissions, replacing plastic and reducing food loss. This increases the popularity of light, renewable and recyclable materials. The development is hindered by the inconsistency in the definitions and use of the relevant terminology. You can make a lot of things sound good even through the overall impact may not always be positive. The lack of standards and essential recycling infrastructure is also troublesome.

The situation places an increasing emphasis on providing accurate information, grasping the big picture and the role of consumers as makers of responsible choices. The current challenge for large companies is also retaining brand value – even minor missteps and disinformation can have quick and long-lasting effects.

What is your view on the differences and opportunities of plastic and fibre, and what about the future? Plastic is a good material, the problem is humans. Since plastic packages have not been made easily recyclable and no efficient recycling systems for them exist, plastic is not sufficiently reused. Due to humankind’s collective carelessness, some of it also ends up in nature, such as seas and oceans. And since it does not degrade, there it stays. Fibre-based materials are renewable, and sound recycling systems for them are already available. Online trade is continuing to increase and logistical solutions are advancing, so smart and responsible packaging solutions will have plenty of use going forward. In order to maintain circulation, fresh fibre is needed constantly. In addition to this, clean and hygienic primary fibre is required for demanding end use, such as food packaging, in the context of which it is important to ensure consumer safety. As such, Metsä Group has done well to ensure the availability of responsible high-quality raw materials through its investments. Wood fibre sourced from responsibly managed forests is an environmentally friendly packaging material.

Which of your work tasks and ongoing projects are related to the future of the field? Essentially all of them. Around the time the interview was arranged, we sent out a bulletin about a new collaboration project with Valmet, in which our goal is to leverage multiple different competence areas to develop entirely new fibre-based packaging solutions. Our ambitious goal is to lay a lasting and sustainable foundation for future growth in the forest industry.

Describe what you think would be the perfect fibre product. The perfect fibre product meets the end user requirements while minimising the overall environmental impact and remain-

ing as cost-efficient as possible. That said, it may be a challenge to determine the overall impact. The life cycle of a fibre product alone may not necessarily say much about its environmental friendliness. For example, when assessing whether or not a package has been made responsibly, it is often essential to consider the material, such as food, being packaged and the effects of the packaging on its shelf life (food loss). In this context, too, I would like to emphasise recyclability for the purpose of saving energy and resources. However, if efficient recycling is not possible for some reason, it would at least be good for the material to be biodegradable.

In your opinion, how can Chemigate impact the competitiveness and future of the field? Chemicals have an important role in ensuring the functionality of the product. When creating new types of solutions for purposes such as packaging, new types of features are often also a necessity. In this regard, rapid action and seamless cooperation with chemical suppliers is key.

What is your own wild vision about where the industry will be in 20 years? I firmly believe that the forest industry is facing positive change and that the companies are perfectly capable of switching gears and offering new woodbased innovations to a variety of fields, such as packaging, construction and the clothing industry. Companies are growing, and the role of recycling will increase in the efforts to save resources.



Technologies’ opportunities for success can be predicted The success of the Finnish process industry stems from a variety of factors, such as a high level of product development expertise, successful leveraging of strengths related to domestic raw materials (e.g. cellulose), efficient production processes and a high degree of production automation. These have helped form some of the leading companies in their fields, which have generated economic growth, employment and well-being in Finland and abroad through their operations. But will the old ways be enough for the future? Most likely no, but a good foundation is easy to build on when you know what the future will demand. Kalle Kantola, who leads the Foresight-Driven Business Strategies unit of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, provides us with a glimpse of what is to come: “Last year, we conducted an interview survey of the strategic and innovation management of the largest member companies of Technology Industries of Finland, which showed that businesses are faced with surprisingly similar challenges in growing and reinventing their operations. The efforts to compete for market share have been replaced with the need to create new business.” This means that instead of slicing the pie into ever-smaller pieces, the aim is to increase its size, which is obviously not easy. On the other hand, now would be a good time, since the rate of change in terms of aspects such as technological development and markets is faster than ever, which generates a constant stream of new opportunities. And the pace is not likely to slow down. We are living in extraordinary times – all we need to do is stay sharp.

Future-oriented business strategy That being said, many companies are either incapable of taking enough risks due to the constraints of the quarterly economy or far too weighed down by their past successes to reinvent themselves. The challenge is international in scale. In this context, the term being used is ‘ambidexterity’: how to optimise the development of current business operations while successfully



Kalle Kantola, D.Sc. (Tech.)

b Vice President, Foresight-Driven Business Strategies VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland ltd. b Special expertise: Industrial digitalisation and innovation strategies

building entirely new kinds of operations. The situation is not made any easier by incentives that mostly measure management capabilities based on shortterm performance and only rarely on the company having successful products on the market in five years, for example. Furthermore, information on the future is often too general in nature to be useful for decision-making. In other words, there are plenty of challenges. One solution to the dilemma of reinvention is a future-oriented business strategy. With the right tools and experts, information on megatrends and other pertinent factors can be used to form practical scenarios and business opportunities that are directly measurable in numbers and euros as to their probability and impacts. This strategic model incorporates the future into the present, enabling the necessary steps and investments sufficiently early on. This helps build future competitive advantage and growth in a way where the companies themselves can influence the process. As a concrete example of these opportunities, Kantola mentions tools developed at VTT (such as the Future Radar application), which can be used to create global situational pictures of various technologies.

“By utilising a range of information sources, such as market data and research and patent databases, we can predict the maturity of various technologies, the leading developers, the rate of development and the likely areas of application. Especially when we know the uses of the technology, the means of protecting its use and the kinds of start-ups or other business

operations emerging around it, the data is concrete and valuable enough to become a part of the strategic process of pioneering companies.”

Shift in the energy sector In the context of examining phenomena that create new business opportunities, particularly for the paper and paperboard industry, Kantola highlights aspects, such as the digitalisation of business, the circular economy, renewable (bio)materials and the shift in the energy sector: “Even though the application of technologies such as artificial intelligence has already generated significant competitive advantages, the impact of digitalisation continues to strengthen. The important thing here is to understand the concrete benefits of various technologies and be able to apply digital technologies in ways that support business operations. An algorithm will not generate any benefits if it remains unused and a single technological solution is often not enough, which means that more are required.” As an example of the benefits of artificial intelligence, Kantola mentions the optimisation algorithm that VTT produced some time ago. It was used to improve the productivity of a pulp mill enough to enable the normal annual output to be maintained with about 700 lorry-loads less raw material. Alongside production, Kantola sees after-sales as one of the key areas where digitalisation can be applied. In this regard, the process industry still has plenty of opportunities, especially since the circular economy will require new kinds of services that critically demand digital solutions to implement. Both the circular economy and finding replacements for plastic are areas that create needs for new biomaterials. In terms of these uses, pulp-based solutions are extremely interesting.

As the final phenomenon worth noting, Kantola mentions the shift in the energy sector, which creates opportunities for the process industry, in particular: “As renewable energy sources become more commonplace, energy production is decentralised and the variation in production volumes increases. In order to balance this development, we need a range of energy stores, which results in new business opportunities as the price of energy fluctuates more and more dramatically and can even dip into negative territory. Process industry facilities that hold significant energy and heat resources play an increasingly important role, bringing inertia to the entire energy system. This is becoming increasingly valuable in terms of business and the economy. In addition to this, new technologies, such as power-to-X solutions, are very interesting. They can be used to convert excess energy into a variety of products, such as industrial chemicals, proteins and so on. This is prudent especially when the price of energy is low or even negative.” In other words, we are living in fascinating times which require us all to stay sharp and hone our skills in innovation.



We must help our customers stay competitive What has been the most significant change in the field for you personally in the past 20 years? The shift in focus between 1975 and 2010 from mechanical and coated grades (LWC/SC) to wood-free grades (WF/WFC). The thing of the moment is the transition to non-wood-based raw materials. North America is likely to have venture capitalists for this trend technology. Non-wood is important in China, but there is a lack of risk-taking willingness to invest in new technology.

How do you see the Finnish paper and paperboard industry developing in the next ten years? The three biggest operators in the field are doing well and have even strengthened their positions. Metsä Group is the clear leader in packaging board and is carrying out corporate acquisitions. A company like Huhtamäki, for example, would be a good addition to the portfolio. The competitiveness of pulp is maintained, and lobbying efforts pertaining to timber procurement continue. In order to fund corporate acquisitions, Metsä Group could outsource the IPR for wood-based textile fibre to its Japanese partner Itochu, which could then introduce the fibre products to the markets through its own channels. Stora Enso will most likely have to choose its focus, and it may even have to give up bulk paperboards. This leaves technical paperboards – especially those for which nano pulp creates added value. The company is likely to profile itself as a carbon



Markku Korpela

b Independent paper industry consultant b M.Sc. Chem. Helsinki University. Post-graduate studies at the University of Washington b A veteran of the paper industry, whose 40-year career has included international development, production and management duties.

sink company. The Swedish background is a definite benefit, since Swedes are good storytellers. UPM will continue its projects aimed at making it a notable raw material supplier for the medical and chemical industries. It can gradually distance itself from fuels and continue its efforts to profile itself as a carbon sink company. UPM may even sell its energy production but retain a minority share. Uruguay is one of the large investment areas and therefore also risky. This may impact the company’s freedom of movement.

What are the trends in the field, and what is driving change? What is slowing it down? What innovations do you find to have potential? Print and copy paper continue as steady sources of revenue. Although their role is decreasing, the process of adapting these grades to the supply and demand continues to require work. The better this succeeds,

the more resources there will be for creating something new. New ideas are being explored constantly, but we already have existing ones, some of which are sure to succeed. I find that the most important opportunities are related to pulp are as a replacement for cotton and synthetic textile fibres, and lignin as a raw material for carbon fibre and phenolic resins.

What are the most significant challenges in the field? Now, it is essential to be able to bet on the right horses and have the courage to take the lead instead of falling in line behind others. This requires companies to succeed in their branding efforts so that they have access to sufficient funding, the best resources and the right partners. The challenge is strategic and requires strong leadership.

What is your view on the differences and opportunities of plastic and fibre, and what about the future? I see this as a question of natural vs. synthetic polymers. Both have different highly-developed applications with regard to sustainable development. Going forward, the raw material base will be selected with consideration to the big picture instead of CO2 alone. Globally speaking, we cannot afford to neglect any raw material resources.

Which of your ongoing projects are related to the future of the field? My current project pertains to nonwood technology. I believe that the LEEBIO concept (www.bioeb.fr) will provide a good option for the utilisation of non-wood raw materials.

Describe what you think would be the perfect fibre product. Wood-based textile fibre for which the processes and chemistry have been optimised in terms of quality and costs. In this context, the competence of the equipment manufacturer is equally important as chemistry expertise, since it must be possible to recycle the fibres. Is pulp-based fibre better in this regard than cotton fibre? For a project as demanding as this, even all “relatives” of the cellulose molecule, such as starch, must be included.

In your opinion, how can Chemigate impact the competitiveness and future of the field? Chemigate must be able to help its customers remain competitive. It is important to avoid excess quality and focus on winwin projects that optimise overall efficiency. This applies to both products and logistics.

In addition to this, we must identify the projects that will generate reliable revenue sources for the future, such as initiatives related to textile and carbon fibres. I will be very surprised if a use for starch cannot be found in the context of these or other projects. Another requirement is the ability to take the field by surprise by introducing functional chemicals modified from starch into the discussion and making them available for trials. The wheel does not need to be reinvented every time. Does the research portfolio include something that was “invented too early?” Could there be demand for it even now? All in all, it is necessary to build the image in a way that is appealing to investors. The cash flow does not generate sufficient funds to make the necessary large investments. Chemigate has already demonstrated its innovative approach. What does the competition with non-food raw materials require?



How to merge the digital and material revolutions? What has been the most significant change in the field to you personally in the past 20 years? The most significant change I have personally witnessed may be surprising: many things that are now presented as “new” were predicted a long time ago A good example of this is that the first instance of data mining in a Pöyry database is mentioned in an article from 1998. The significance here is likely to be in considering how it took so long for the predicted change to occur and why things are changing right now of all times.

How do you see the Finnish paper and paperboard industry developing in the next ten years? Correct decisions made now will ensure that the Finnish pulp and paperboard industry will have significant opportunities in the future. The aversion to plastic will create space for substituting products. Raw materials have been recyclable for as long as we can remember. Design and new materials offer entirely new opportunities. But the strategic choices must be made now. Crying about it afterwards will not do anyone any good.

What are the trends in the field, and what is driving change? What is slowing it down? What innovations do you find to have potential? There are two concurrent revolutions under way: the digital revolution, which has been hyped significantly more, and the material revolution, which has drawn less attention but is at least equally impactful. Only those who can leverage their skills and determination to combine the digital services and analyses with new responsibly-sourced materials will come out on top. At the moment, the market is barren. Stagnation and the hope of everything returning to the way it was are the most significant obstacles to progress. We must all accept that we are living through a disruptive time of change that will tear down traditional structures wherever we look. There are no safe havens but plenty of smart destinations.



Petri Vasara, D.Sc. (Tech.) b Vice President, AFRY Management Consulting (joint venture of Pöyry and ÅF) b Special expertise: artificial intelligence, bioproducts, packaging, responsibility b Age: young until proven otherwise

What are the most significant challenges in the field? Fatal hindrances can also be imposed by short-term cost-related challenges and needs to update equipment, for example. Since fibre is not as “hot” as wind power, biotechnology or quantum technology, it can be difficult to secure the necessary funding.

What is your view on the differences and opportunities of plastic and fibre, and what about the future? Fossil-based disposable plastics are hopefully on their way out. Yet, plastic is a fantastic material with a plethora of unique applications for which there are no viable replacements. With a sufficient amount of bioplastic and recycled plastic, however, plastic and fibre can absolutely coexist.

What is your own wild vision about where the industry will be in 20 years? The next generation of factories (for example, future iterations of 3D printing as the machinery, Japanese-style origami folding as the processing method, and production that imitates cellular arrangements as the process) is rapidly churning out demand-based, customised, complex and self-modifying products with quantum technology steering the arrangement. Or maybe not...

Which of your work tasks or ongoing projects are related to the future of the field? I would say all of my current projects pertain to future business activities in one way or another. That being said, since the future happened yesterday, we also work on things that we consider “old” but that seem futuristic despite already being commercial.

Describe what you think would be the perfect fibre product. We actually have a relevant internal project under way. We use advanced algorithms to develop modern products towards something entirely new efficiently, leveraging existing technology. So more on that later...

In your opinion, how can Chemigate impact the competitiveness and future of the field? Starch is a masterpiece of nature! It is very easy to imagine new modified products, perhaps supplemented with some additional components, as building blocks for a variety of material solutions. Some things do not need to be changed, simply developed further.




Cross-border partnership Swedish company Lantmännen Reppe is a long-term and reliable wheat starch supplier for Chemigate “A flexible, reliable and responsible partner.” This is how Chemigate’s Production Director Harri Heikkinen sums up the cooperation with the Swedish wheat starch producer Lantmännen Reppe, which has been in place for about ten years. Chemigate buys native wheat starch from Reppe in Sweden. “The cooperation with Lantmännen Reppe has been good and open. We have always been able to reach agreements flexibly, and they have been able to respond to our changed needs. If necessary, the raw material has been available quickly,” says Harri Heikkinen. According to Heikkinen, good cooperation is always the sum of many parts. “Flexibility and a good dialogue are important starting points. We are also satisfied with the quality of the starch we buy, and the logistics have also been manageable in spite of the relatively long distance. Lantmännen Reppe is also pleased with

the partnership. According to Business Area Manager Mattias Gustafsson, the cooperation is close and mutually rewarding. “Chemigate is an important partner for us. We try to help each other in difficult situations. Although we are part of the same

market, we do not see each other as competitors, but as partners that trust each other. I hope our cooperation will continue at least at this level in the future,” says Gustafsson. According to Gustafsson, the partnership with Chemigate has helped both parties enter markets that, without cooperation, might have been inaccessible. The Swedes also praise the flexibility of the cooperation. “We help one another in difficult situations and do not just leave the other party to solve the problem alone. This increases trust and, in the long term, benefits both parties,” says Gustafsson.






What is the future of paper use? Digitalisation has led to many paper-based things becoming electronic, which has expedited the discovery of new applications for wood fibre. We challenged Chemigate employees to consider the future of paper and paperboard in their own use and from a broader perspective.

Print newspapers and magazines are gradually becoming obsolete, but paper could be used as a replacement for plastic in food packaging, for example. Plastic bags could be replaced with biodegradable paper bags with similar properties with regard to flexibility. Fibre-based products could be used in the textile, fuel and medical industries, for example.


I will most likely keep using paper for purchase invoices at work but switch to electronic options for my personal invoices and work-related shipping documents. I will also continue to use paperboard in the form of packaging materials and disposable tableware. Paperboard could be used to develop replacements for a variety of plastic tableware and packaging.


I will keep using paper for writing and packaging, and tissue paper will also continue to be useful. All types of documentation are likely to become increasingly electronic. Wood fibre is already being used to make textile products, which I think is a really good thing. Fibres could be used to develop light materials for building and furniture, for example.




I will be using paper in the form of newspapers and magazines as well as tissue products. Sometimes it feels that paper is the most practical of the current material options, so I would imagine its use is unlikely to decrease. I think that fibres will continue to be used in the coming years, at least in the current products.


I will continue to use paper for letters, newspapers and magazines, archiving and packages, but with invoices and books I will switch to an electronic format. In the future, fibre-based products could be used in containers, bottles, clothing and car interior materials.


I think the use of paper and paperboard will remain largely as it is, especially in households. In terms of packaging supplies, these materials could be used as a replacement for plastic. This would be a good idea, particularly with regard to packages that now consist of multiple layers of plastic.







Cyber risks must be taken seriously Preparedness, risk identification and keeping up to date are the best weapons against cyber attacks. Society has become increasingly digital, and SMEs also need to respond to these developments through a variety of protection measures. Cyber risks are real and can even cripple the entire business of a company in the worst-case scenario. Chief Financial Officer Mika Vuokila says that cyber security is given a lot of attention at Chemigate. “Since last year, we have been working hard to improve data and cyber security. In our view, the most significant threats relate to personal risks, mainly personal workstations and the instructions given about them. Among other things, we have introduced two-step authentication. If a user logs in from their home computer to the Office 365 environment, their mobile phone will receive a confirmation message to ensure that the person is the real account holder,” says Vuokila.

Scoring based on probability and consequences According to Vuokila, IT risks are one part of Chemigate’s risk management documentation, which is at a good level.



“We have identified and scored the risks based on their probability and severity. In other words, an assessment has also been made of the economic consequences, for example, of the realisation of a particular threat. However, the key factor is prevention and the greatest possible preparedness. Chemigate has been using Opsec, a data security service provider, for two years now. The cooperation includes Petri Perämäki, Chief Information Officer at Opsec, serving as an outsourced IT manager at Chemigate. “My role is to be an expert who actively follows the development of the industry and strives to put solutions that make sense for the company into practice. We are jointly carrying out development projects, but my task is also to train and educate against potential risks,” describes Perämäki. According to the expert, companies have mixed attitudes to cyber risks.

Cyber risk insurance already on the market “Some companies have prepared very carefully, but there are still many that will

only react when it is too late. They offhandedly think that nobody is interested in their data. There are, however, examples of customised attacks on very small businesses. Cyber risks have also forced insurance companies to reform their operations and provide insurance related to the phenomenon. According to Niko Vornanen, Cyber Insurance Specialist at insurance broker Howden, the key is to identify risks. “What happens if the company is paralysed as a result of an attack? This is also the key issue from the insurance perspective. What happens if the systems are blocked, what will be the costs and who will be liable? Cyber insurance is an unusual product on the market in terms of its operating model. The insurance not only pays compensation in return for premiums, but also ensures that the organisation does not become paralysed when cyber damage is detected, and helps restore the company to an operational state as quickly as possible,” Vornanen explains. According to Vuokila, Chemigate does not yet have cyber insurance, but the possibility is being investigated.




Moving towards science-based, climate friendly technology The new dry modification process has significantly reduced the climate impact of starch products. The carbon footprint of Finnish starch varies from 500 grams to 1,500 grams per kilogram of product, which is a typical level for plant-based bio-products and low compared to many reference products. The figures are from a study done by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), which covered the entire life cycle of products, from raw material cultivation to finished products. The aim was to measure how far the sector has progressed in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, and what next steps it should take. The study was coordinated by the Tärkkelysteollisuusyhdistys starch industry association, which is part of the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation (ETL), and the study included barley starch from Altia and potato starch from Finnamyl and Evijärven Peruna. In addition to these so-called ‘native’ starches, the carbon footprint of dry and wet modified starches from Chemigate was examined. “The climate impact of starch-based binders investigated is significantly lower than the impact of the most common synthetic polymers used in paper production,” says Aki Laine, Chief Technology Officer of Chemigate.

Climate impact of cultivation has decreased significantly In addition to being a food ingredient, starch is an important raw material for the paper and packaging industry, where it can also replace fossil raw materials. The majority, or about half of the environmental burden of starch products, is produced by the cultivation of barley and potatoes. However, emissions from cultivation have decreased substantially, especially through advances in fertiliser production. The climate impact is the lowest in potato cultivation because of the high starch yield and because potato does not need as much liming as other plants.

According to Laine, the post-cultivation environmental burden is influenced by the degree of starch processing, the energy sources and chemicals used in processing, and transportation. “The new dry modification process has enabled us to significantly reduce the climate impact of new starch products. The carbon footprint of the manufacture of Chemigate’s dry modified products is smaller than that of wet modified products, but wet modified products are still needed for specific applications. The carbon footprint of the most common synthetic polymers used in paper and board production is several times higher than the carbon footprint of modified starches,” Laine emphasises.

A decrease of one third in the carbon footprint of cationic reagent The carbon footprint of starch can be further reduced by improving crop yields, developing industrial processes further and utilising new energy solutions. Finland’s starch industry has already committed to these measures. “The climate impact of the chemicals used in starch modification is more significant than the direct climate impact of Chemigate’s wet and dry modification processes. The climate impact of the cationic reagent produced at the Chemigate plant in Mietoinen will be reduced by investments to be made during 2020. This project with LeaseGreen aims to reduce manufacturing CO2 emissions by one third,” Laine explains future plans.






Saving energy and nature Chemigate, together with LeaseGreen, is carrying out a major energy efficiency project at the Mietoinen plant, with significant effects on the carbon footprint.

Chemigate’s Mietoinen plant specialises in the production of cationic reagents. The reagents, with the product names Raisacat 151 and Raisacat 188, are used for the cationisation of starch and other polysaccharides, the purpose of which is to improve the adhesion of polymers to negatively charged (anionic) material, such as fibres. In 2019, Chemigate launched an energy efficiency project, which will result in the completion of a process heat recovery system using heat pump technology at the Mietoinen plant later this year. According to Toni Koski, Operations Manager of the Mietoinen plant, the project is important both in terms of energy efficiency and carbon footprint., The project is very much in line with Chemigate’s values which include responsibility. “The new system allows us to use the reaction heat instead of blowing it from the condenser out into thin air. Thanks to heat pump technology, we can produce hot water, which we can use with a distiller both in the production process and to heat buildings.”

2,400 fewer return flights The energy and carbon footprint savings of the project are large. Heat savings, or decreases in oil consumption, are estimated to be close to 60%, and CO2 emissions to be reduced by around 35%. This means that the carbon footprint will decrease by about 300 tonnes of CO2 per year. A cut of this magnitude corresponds to the production of more than 1,200 solar panels or about 2,400 back and forth fligths between Helsinki and Stockholm. “It is therefore a genuinely effective measure, from the point of view of both energy efficiency and greener thinking,” Koski emphasises. The partner in the Mietoinen project and the supplier of the technology is LeaseGreen, a cleantech service company specialising in the energy efficiency of large buildings. Thomas Luther, CEO of LeaseGreen, welcomes Chemigate’s decision, which both helps nature and serves the energy economy. “We are very happy to participate in this project, which creates a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions corresponding to the annual carbon footprint of about 30 Finns,” Luther praises.

Completing the project with a success guarantee Climate change has been on the wall for a long time, but Luther says that for industry, the real awakening towards more responsible action has only taken place in the last year. “Chemigate is a great example of leadership in responsible and ecological thinking. The Mietoinen proj-



ect is excellent proof of this,” Luther says. According to Luther, LeaseGreen’s commitment and faith in the Mietoinen energy efficiency project is reflected in its success guarantee. In addition, digitalisation can be used to verify the results achieved on a factual basis. “In our view, it is important for projects of this kind not only to promise, but also to assume responsibility for the project reaching its target. We can verify the results remotely using digital modelling to ensure, together with the people at Chemigate, that the figures are as desired.”

Mietoinen energy efficiency project 2020 
 b Energy produced by a heat pump replaces light fuel oil used in steam production (process and building heating) b Total cost investment: approximately €500,000 b Estimated reduction in oil consumption: about 60% (about 1,400 MWh) b Estimated savings: about €90,000 per year b Carbon dioxide reduction: about 300 tCO2/year b Carried out by LeaseGreen in cooperation with Chemigate




Great team spirit brought a polymer chemist to Chemigate Lauri Mäkinen, M.Sc., was recently hired as an operating engineer at Chemigate’s plant in Kaipiainen, Kouvola. Lauri’s journey to the company started quite a few years ago. The initiative came from a fellow student, whom Jari Immonen, Operations Manager of the Kaipiainen unit, had asked if he knew anyone who would be interested in a summer job substituting for work management in Kaipiainen. Lauri was immediately interested: “I thought that the management summer job Jari offered sounded very interesting, and the job description seemed like a nice challenge.” Lauri enjoyed it, and after that summer he worked in Kaipiainen for several summers. His future employer also took note of the competent young man. In September 2019, Lauri’s summer jobs changed to full-time when he started as a permanent operating engineer. His current job description consists of tasks related to the operation and maintenance of the plant, such as steering test run activities, developing and monitoring production processes, and cooperating with external research and analysis service providers. In addition, Lauri is also involved in the maintenance of the quality system guidelines and the development of production reporting systems, and also fills in for work management where necessary, in which case his tasks are more focused on production planning and implementation.

about his current job is the opportunity to take advantage of his expertise in polymer chemistry, particularly in production tasks related to the chemical industry. Chemigate’s starch-based polymer products are used for paper and board production and water purification, for example. When you ask Lauri what the best thing about Chemigate is, the answer comes quickly: “The close-knit working community with great team spirit.” According to Lauri, team spirit is a prerequisite for successful work. In Kaipiainen, this is reflected in the “get the job done attitude”, in other words, active, interactive and smooth progress.

Wood and metal works for specific needs Lauri’s typical working day is a mixture of collaboration and independent work. Most days are spent in meetings or in various development tasks and projects. The lunch break is comfortably spent in the common room of the Kaipiainen office, catching up with colleagues about non-work matters. In the afternoon, Lauri is often present for the shift change, providing additional instructions for production or quality control. If Lauri’s day involves substituting for work management, the tasks also include production planning and the preparation of the run programme. Lauri comes from Vammala, which is nowadays part of Sastamala in the Tampere Region. His spare time is spent working with wood and metal, in the gym, fishing or repairing bicycles. In wood and metal work, it is important for Lauri that there is a clear need or application for the finished item. His latest creation is a large wooden end-grain cutting board, and next he is planning to make a key rack. This summer, Lauri definitely wants to spend more time on his bicycles. However, he says preparations must start early in the spring to complete the ongoing projects before the cycling season. Knowing Lauri, he will get every bike rolling as planned and on time.

Research assistant before Chemigate Lauri studied polymer chemistry at the University of Helsinki – its Department of Chemistry is the leading centre for chemistry teaching and research in Finland. He also worked there as a research assistant before joining Chemigate. Lauri also had time to acquire work experience in various other chemical industry jobs during his studies. In fact, one of the things Lauri especially likes




Propellerheads – heads in the sky, boots on the ground Chemigate’s product development team brings to mind the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen. Not that the members demonstrate particularly poor personal hygiene or even match the headcount, but in the sense that they form a motley crew faced with a seemingly insurmountable task. Major Reisman (a.k.a. Aki Laine), Jussi Syrjä ja Tarmo Korpela do their best to develop new biobased products in a world ruled by global giants who favour oil-based chemistry. The team led by Aki is supplemented by Raija Savolainen, who primarily handles matters related to product safety and registrations. Her efforts are much needed, since the team works in a region with the strictest regulation in the chemical industry. As in the film, the team manages to turn the colourful backgrounds and unconventional methods of its members into strengths to get the job done. In fact, this “dozen” has been working on a new generation of coating starches for some time, making some significant strides. The conversation around microplastics has encouraged customers to look for a new coating concept that would eliminate the need to discuss the harmfulness of certain products altogether. The most promising development versions will be tested on a pilot scale by the end of the year.



The focus is on starch-based binders “Our previous goal in this area was to develop dry-modified coating starches. With the introduction of the Tarantula product family, the focus has shifted to starch-based binders that can fully replace latexes,” says Aki. Flexibility, mentioned in the company’s strategy, has also spurred the team on to look for new raw materials unfamiliar to traditional starch modification processes. Tarmo and Aki are engaged in these efforts with a number of multinational companies, but the work is pres- ently top-secret enough to prevent the partners’ names from being revealed. “All biobased fractions are potential raw material sources in the current circular econo-

my,” says Tarmo, summarising the situation from behind a desk stacked with all manner of jars and containers. In contrast, Jussi’s workstation features nothing even remotely resembling a desk. He can mostly be found in the laboratory testing starch-based polymers. Jussi specialises in water treatment. Chemigate is handling this business by modern means through networking, which has led to a clear uptick in the field. Distributors are reporting an increasing interest throughout Europe, as a result of environmental awareness and legislative changes. “Customer interest in starch-based water treatment products has increased exponentially during the past three years,” says Jussi, lifting his safety goggles onto his forehead. Despite being sometimes referred to as “propellerheads”, the team members work is quite varied. In addition to development work, the team provides technical support to sales, especially with regard to cationic and amphoteric strength polymers. The team is also responsible for pushing products through piloting to production and ensuring that the documentation is brought in line with the customers’ demands, with help from Raija. You can read more about her work in the article “Continuous quality”, in the Petit Fours section of the newsletter.


Pictured from the left are Design Manager Kyösti Meriläinen, Managing Director Vesa Ranta and Project Manager Arto Haapanen.

Focusplan has been providing industrial services for more than three decades. – Now the company has expanded its range of services with a virtual space. “Why don’t you put on these 3D glasses,” says Focusplan Oy’s Managing Director Vesa Ranta, advising Project Manager Arto Haapanen. The glasses transform the virtual space into a three-dimensional one that can be navigated, making it easy to perceive and comment on, even for those with no grasp of design or engineering. A life-sized virtual model of what will be is always an impressive experience. Focusplan, a Turku-based engineering office established in 1988, has been working in various fields of industry for more than 30 years. It has customers in the medical, foodstuff, chemicals, metal, forest and power plant industries. Currently, the company is using virtual reality to visualise 3D models. This technology, which is just now breaking through into the mainstream, has already been used in designing the operating premises for the Orion pharmaceutical company, for example. In Focusplan’s virtual room, which has been dubbed ‘Cave’, the computer model of the design can be presented and viewed in a high-resolution virtual reality environment. The image is streamed onto the walls

and floors of the room, “The 3D visualisation method can be used for any structures and their environments, such as bridges, schools, hospitals, technical equipment or an entire factory. The advantage of this technology is that all participants can see each other in the virtual space and communicate amongst themselves,” explains Kyösti Meriläinen. “The virtual environment presents the artificial reality to the viewers in actual size. They can freely move within the structure and examine it from a variety of angles. This makes it easier to grasp the dimensions, which provides improved opportunities to consider the functionality and safety of the demo in the design phase. The arrangement also makes it easier to agree on things and make decisions. In fact, it can lead to

new ideas as to how any shortcomings in the design could be improved,” Meriläinen says. The end users of the structure being designed can also use the virtual realm to familiarise themselves with it. This ensures smoother execution and more cost-efficient solutions in the design process. Similarly, all changes and various options can be saved in the system and compared in real time. In the virtual space, the laser-scanned point clouds are shown clearly alongside actual 3D objects. Customers’ existing objects are often presented as a hybrid model consisting of both. “We can offer the virtual space service to city and state departments, our partners and companies in the fields of architectural design, engineering and construction,” says Ranta.




CASE PrimeBOND – strength for board with low quality fiber Packaging grade paper producers are constantly looking for new ways of increase strength. Especially burst and tensile strength are always on the agenda. The difficulty in obtaining strength is further hindered by the usage of low-quality recycled fiber, like old corrugated cardboard also known as OCC. Experience has shown that OCC fibers are very inert to cation-

ic strength agents, like polyacrylamide. Many producers overdose these synthetic strength agents to achieve even a slight increase in strength. The overdosing of cationic polymers is often leading to formation deterioration which again leads to worse strength. To break this vicious cycle, Chemigate has introduced a family of amphoteric bio-based polymers called PrimeBOND.

The benefits of the amphoteric PrimeBOND include b Good affinity to recycled (OCC) fibers b Improvement of strength without decrease in dewatering or formation deterioration b The possibility to reduce cationic strength agents. Up to 50% has been recorded

Case 1 Grade:

3-layer OCC

Basis weight:

120-140 g/m2



Chemical system: Dry strength agent, rentention aid, surface sizing starch


Results: b Significant improvement in drainage b Significant reduction of white-water solids


To reduce dry strength costs, while maintaining burst strength

b Reduction of dry strength agent with 16-18 kg/ton


PrimeBOND A1505 dosed 2 kg/ton (as is) to inlet of middle/bottom fan pump

b Improved folding resistance


While the overall quality of the OCC fibers is certainly not improving, in certain parts of Asia there is an inherent shortage of imported, higher quality, OCC fibers as well. This highlights the need to introduce new concepts for increased strength.

Case 2 Grade:

Board machine with multiple cylinder headbox

Basis weight:

220 g/m2


Local and imported OCC

Chemical system: Dry strength agent (PVAm and PAM), PAC, alum, retention aid Target:

To reduce overall costs while maintaining burst strength


PrimeBOND A1505 dosed 1,5 kg/ ton (as is) to machine chest

Results: b 14% reduction in imported OCC while maintaining burst b 5 kg/ton decrease in dry strength agent b Improved ring crush and internal bonding b Decreased steam consumption





PrimePHASE – Your Natural Solution for Water Treatment The new liquid PrimePHASE products are strach based natural polymers, used in the separation of water from solids. Due to their renewable raw material base, all PrimePHASE products provide an extremely low carbon footprint. As a SVHC free PrimePHASE is also an ecological and safe choice, containing no acrylamide. Our PrimePHASE products provides you an excellent alternative in cases where e.g. bio based alternative is preddered, turbidity, reduction is an issue or powder form flocculants are not an option.

To find out more, visit us as at chemigate.fi


Good job, us! Life is quite the blend of ups and downs. It tends to be the case that not everything goes to plan, but thankfully successes do happen every now and again. And as great as direct feedback is, it is not a good idea to build your self-esteem on that alone. Even more so since the majority of good feedback never finds its way to the right people and the signs of success have to be found between the lines. In the corporate world, these signs include the continuity and profitability of the business operations in the long run. That is to say that the phrase “no news is good news” applies in this case, too.

As such, we can simply consider this matter addressed and let our 10-year journey speak for itself. It being our anniversary year, however, we are well within our rights to give ourselves a pat on the back, which is why we will now proceed to focus exclusively on positive feedback. Even self-aggrandisement has its place sometimes. Below you will find comments from our customers on Chemigate’s successes and strengths. Perhaps you can even find your own comment among them. If not, we are always happy to receive feedback at marketing@chemigate.fi.

Expertise and cooperation. Many thanks for your quick and appropriate response, which kept our production going without interruption!

Pretty much everything is outstanding, especially the quick response and good availability.

The operations have been excellent overall. High-quality products, reliable deliveries. Customer service, smooth deliveries, technical support. A high-quality Finnish product and service, reliable deliveries Flexible test run arrangements and first-rate deliveries. Unparalleled starch-related expertise. Reporting and communications related to test runs.

A good and reliable supplier that provides an opportunity for deepening the collaboration even further.

The discharge went fine and the transporter had an excellent performance in safety aspects. Many thanks, once more!


A deep understanding of the customer’s business both in terms of technology and business.

Customer service accurate deliveri



e, ies.

Your starch products are excellent!

Flexible and willing to find the right options for customers.

Both departments have always provided amazing service whenever I have needed it (delivery and technical support).

Your strengths include technical expertise and deliveries.

High-quality Finnish raw materials and production. The location in the same region is an environmental factor, and the reliability of the deliveries is excellent. New efficient production line.

The quality, competence and logistical arrangements have always been impeccable.

Consistent quality.

I have nothing bad to say about the logistics. Great product at a good price.

Your company has obtained a score higher than 46/100, and for this reason has been awarded a silver recognition level. This good result places your company among the top 30% performers evaluated by EcoVadis. Congratulations!

You have a great overall package.

Excellent level of expertise.

Chemigate is a premium supplier!

Flexibility, quality and fast response times. Your customer service is very good.

Everything has worked flawlessly with regard to all the products we use.

Chemigate’s communications are open and clear.

Good impression on the Audit at Chemigate Oy, Lapua. The supplier showed a high level of safety culture in the company: constantly works to improve and control the basic safety requirements, conducts safety audits and 5S, monitors the quality of raw materials and finished products.

We are very satisfied by the quality of the new blended product.

Flexibility with products and operations.

Fast response to any issues.

Quick response times and good availability.




Petit Fours Diverse student collaboration


During the past year, Chemigate has had the pleasure of hosting or sponsoring several student events in the field. Here are some highlights:


Visit to Lapua by the Aalto University Chemistry Guild on 26 September 2019

Visit to Mietoinen by the Aalto University Association of Process Engineering Students on 10 March 2020


Thank you for the customer audits

Even though long customer relationships are often a good indication of operational quality, it is important to keep moving forward. Change is a continuous process, and we need to keep up and preferably anticipate what is to come. Since in practice we are here for our customers, their opinions matter a great deal. Any feedback received is a message: “We care about you and want to continue to work with you.” Feedback is particularly valuable when it is specific and delivered directly to us. Thank you for your visit, time and feedback, IP Svetogorsk (pictured) and Billerud.




The annual celebration Lämmönsiirto VII of the Association of Process Engineering Students on 20 September 2019

The culmination of the Petolahti School’s Apollo project in the form of a study trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida. 32


All kinds of personal chemistry

In the series available on our website, we have already met Harri, Jari and Toni. The travelling journalist has been treated with good food and music but also tortured with a morning gym workout. So some things have been written with a full belly and others with a sore behind. Unfortunately, the series has so far consisted of an “all-white male panel”, but this is about to change, since in the upcoming stories we will get to learn about crafts with Tarja and pick mushrooms in the woods with Maisa. Read more at chemigate.fi/en/category/personal_chemistry/


Exercise is always the answer

Exercise is now more important than ever. In fact, the image of a great white shark that will die if it stops moving comes to mind. As we limit social interaction and find the walls closing in on us, a short jog or good workout on the bedroom floor can be a lifesaver. Over the years, the rules of the sports campaign, which has been organised for well over a decade, have seen only minor adjustments. The same 30 minutes that was enough at the beginning of the 2000s remains totally unaffected by inflation and as such sufficient for one day of exercise. The portal has been slightly improved from last year, but the biggest changes in this playful competition is that, due to the circumstances, participants can now keep going until the end of May. If you did not have the time to get involved this year, you can visit our website and join the excitement of seeing which of the almost 20 teams will win. It is a great alternative to the sparse sports broadcasts currently on television. And since the world will not be ending this May either, you will have another chance to take part next year. chemigate.fi/en/annual-sports-campaign-2020/


Faster and smoother operations

If you have seen a board filled with crypticpost-it notes in the office of Jaana or Mika during the past year, you may have suspected them for early onset Alzheimers, but they are actually working on a project called Sujuva (Fluent). This project uses the principles of lean management to clarify and streamline the operating models for many of Chemigate’s functions. The streamlining begins by assessing the current situation. Yes, that is exactly right. Everything that happens upon the arrival of a customer order, for example, is written on post-it notes. Then the streamlining process can be continued by combining the notes or questioning their relevance. In addition to the ordering service, Chemigate has worked on streamlining quality management and inventory performance. So far, the company has successfully reallocated one personyear to more useful and meaningful tasks. For a company with slightly more than 60 employees, that is a respectable number. If this got you interested, contact Zujuva Management at zujuva.com.

Congratulations During Chemigate’s anniversary year, some of our staff will also be celebrating decades of service. It will soon be four decades since Maarit Kylänpää of Mietoinen and Jari Immonen of Kaipiainen stepped into their workplace for the first time. These kinds of numbers can only be achieved by top professionals. Congratulations: Jari Immonen, 40 years, 9 April 2020 Maarit Kylänpää, 40 years, 9 June 2020 Chemigate would also like to congratulate Solveig Fredriksson whose loyal travelling companion, a 2004 Volkswagen Passat Variant 1.9 TDI, reached a respectable age of 16 years and more than 500,000 km in distance travelled.





Another audit complete. Even though many of us may take the certificate on the wall for granted at this point, it takes a great deal of work. Good job, Raija! Good job, us!

And the silver medal goes to…

Chemigate Oy, has been awarded a Silver medal as a recognition of their EcoVadis CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) rating in July 2019. This raises us among the top 23% companies assessed by EcoVadis in the Manufacture of other chemical products n.e.c. industry. C Labor & Human Rights: is in the top 26% of companies C Sustainable Procurement: in the top 24% of companies C Ethics: in the top 18% of companies Our average score: 55 /100 The EcoVadis methodology is based on international sustainability standards (Global Reporting Initiative, United Nations Global Compact, ISO 26000), and supervised by a scientific committee of CSR and supply chain experts, to ensure reliable third-party CSR assessments.



Quality takes continuous effort

Chemigate Oy’s quality system is based on the ISO 9001 quality management standard and the ISO 9001:2015 certification. Maintaining the certificate takes continuous effort but helps us ensure and develop the quality of our products and activities. By providing instructions, harmonising our operating methods and creating the framework for continuous development, we aim to maintain our competitiveness and, most importantly, fulfil our customers’ quality requirements. Although Safety and Quality Manager Raija Savolainen is ultimately in charge of quality-related matters at Chemigate, in practice all employees are responsible for maintaining and developing the standard. As such, we want to encourage every staff member to bring up development ideas, discrepancies and other matters that significantly impact our operations. Each year, the annual Kiwa audits related to the ISO 9001 management standard emphasise different areas of our operations in Lapua, Kaipiainen or Mietoinen. In addition to the official audits, we conduct customer audits and internal development reviews in accordance with our development assessment plan.

Finding a few big-bags should be a piece of cake, right? Aki is at a loss. Three big-bags of starch have gone missing from the warehouse overnight. Has some overenthusiastic employee been clearing out the space again, or what exactly is going on? Unfortunately, the starch was part of a special pilot batch prepared for a customer trial. And to make matters worse, Chemigate has always been proud of its excellent supply security. To prevent the agreed test run date from being postponed, please help Aki track down the errant bags. As a hint, it may be helpful to read the magazine with a keen eye.

Win a gift card

To celebrate Chemigate’s ten-year anniversary, we will be awarding all those who locate the starch bags with coffee and cake. All those who send the right answer to marketing@chemigate.fi by 30 June will receive a gift card to Fazer cafÊs. Please include your contact information in your response to make sure you receive your prize.



Chemigate’s values



• Appreciation

• Listening to the customer

• Cooperation • Shared goals • Sharing the work load • Openness


• Proactiveness and anticipation • Professionalism • New processes and products • Continuous improvement SHARING AND APPRECIATING EXPERTISE AND HAVING THE COURAGE TO EXPERIMENT.



• Ecology

• Ability to adapt to customer needs

• Safety

• Fast response to changes

• Keeping one’s promises

• Diverse competence

• Adhering to laws and guidelines

• Flexible working hours

• Quality and delivery reliability RESPONSIBLE AND PRE-EMPTIVE DECISIONS.


Profile for Chemigate Oy

Chemigate, the Bridge 1 / 2020 EN  


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