Coastline 2012–2013

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COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE These guys go to work every morning to save the world

business review: close-up of the region’s export companies

baltic yachts/ guido cantani

mikko lehtimäki



coastline 2012–2013 life and business on the finnish west coast

Niklas Wägar (on the left) works as General Manager, Electrical & Automation, Power Plant Technology at Wärtsilä. Quick to ramp up, Wärtsilä’s engine-driven power plants are a perfect complement to wind and solar power. Wägar’s duties include increasing awareness for this flexible alternative to traditional power plants. Read more on page 30.


Jouni Ikäheimo (on the right) is Manager of Innovation & New Technology at ABB Motors and Generators. Among other things, he develops new, more energy-efficient electric motors. With up to a third of the world’s electricity used to power electric motors, higher efficiency plays a major role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Turn to page 10 to learn more.

These guys go to work every morning to save the world

business review: close-up of the region’s export companies

This publication is produced by Mantra Communications. Read more about us at

Want to try UpCode? Every company in Coastline has a tag similar to this on their page, directing you to their website. To use it, please download the code reader at The reader is also available on App Store, Ovi, Android Market etc.


COASTLINE is regularly published by the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. OFFICE Raastuvankatu 20, FI-65100 Vaasa, Tel. +358 6 318 6400,, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Juha Häkkinen EXECUTIVE EDITOR Anna Jeanne Söderlund EDITORIAL BOARD Juha Häkkinen, Mia Brännbacka, Anna Jeanne Söderlund, Lars Rosenblad PROJECT MANAGEMENT Mantra Communications EDITORS Lars Rosenblad, Anni Kiviniemi, Sara Jungersten ART DIRECTOR Janne Nylund LAYOUT Studio PAP/Glenn Nylund, Annika Lillkvist, Janne Nylund TRANSLATIONS Tina Seidel PRINTING UPC Print Vaasa 2012 All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Guldkusten Ab and the copyright holders, is strictly prohibited. ISSN 1235-6646.

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BEST COUNTRY OSTROBOTHNIA is one of Finland’s strongest export regions. The proportion of export businesses to the population, as well as exports per capita are among the highest in Finland. A full 70 per cent of the region’s production is exported. This shows that local companies are good at listening to their customers and reacting to their needs. Finland has often been ranked the world’s best country to live in. Regardless of the indicator, Ostrobothnia, in turn, is one of the best regions in the country. We are proud to be the best part of the best country. The confidence and trust between people and companies are exceptionally strong. Networks function well, and hundreds of subcontractors get their products onto worldwide markets through large global export companies operating in the area. The favourable microclimate for entrepreneurial activities forms the foundation for growth, while the energy technology cluster makes the region a global growth area. True bilingualism has proved to offer an excellent basis for internationalism. Ostrobothnia is today one of the most international regions in Finland, in terms of the number of nationalities working and studying here. The world economy follows cycles that are increasingly difficult to forecast. We may well see extreme ups and downs in 2012 and 2013, the years in which this edition of Coastline will be distributed. Ostrobothnia’s location north of latitude 63° N means that the locals are used to huge seasonal differences. In the summer, it is light almost day and night, but in the winter, there are only a few hours of daylight. The dark months can feel extremely tough, but we also know that every winter is literally followed by a new spring and summer. This mentality makes Ostrobothnians well equipped to run and manage companies in a changing world. Juha Häkkinen Editor-in-chief

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A. Häggblom ABB Finland Ahola Transport Alholmens Kraft Anvia


Meet two young Ministers with their roots on the Finnish west coast: Jutta Urpilainen, Minister of Finance, and Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade.


Baltic Yachts Beamex Best-Hall Boliden Kokkola


Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences Centria Citec Componenta Pistons




Ekeri ELY Centre EPV Energy Eur-Mark


10 Energy-efficient motors are crucial to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, since electric engines account for up to a third of the global electricity consumption.

Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia Finnvera Fluid-Bag


Halpa-Halli Hanken School of Economics Herrmans


Katternö Group Kewatec AluBoat KGN Tool KIP Service Kolster Kokkola Industrial Park KPO The Kvarken Council KWH Group


Leinolat Group LKI Käldman


Finland is one of the world’s best functioning societies despite the challenging climate. Read more about how things are made to work at –30 degrees Celsius.

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Mapromec Mervento Mirka Muova

68 38 86 36 80 54 62 71 91 103 102 32 49 76 66 98 34 65 104 97 63 78 107 75 37 57 50 88 93 88 77 81 58 53 70 52 40 59 99


Nautor’s Swan NCE Nordautomation Novia University of Applied Sciences


OMG Kokkola Chemicals Outokumpu (OSTP)


Petsmo Products Port of Jakobstad Port of Kaskinen Port of Kokkola Port of Vaasa


Rani Plast Rettig Värme Rolls-Royce Roschier


Scancool Snellman Solving Switch




University of Vaasa UpCode UPM

55 60 67 105 90 74

51 82 82 82 82



Marit Holmlund-Sund combines the best of two worlds: life in the middle of the Kvarken archipelago and work in an international company.

Andreas Romar has proved it is possible to become an alpine world star despite growing up in one of Europe’s flattest regions.

72 64 56 94 47 79 61 42 73 108 92 69



Ostrobothnia boasts the country’s highest export rate. This can be explained by the region’s history and strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Vaasa Adult Education Centre (VAKK) 101 Vaasa Parks 84 Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) 108 Vacon 33 Vamp 45 Vasek 85 VEO 46 Viexpo 96 VNT Management 44


Wapice Wedeco Management Westenergy West Finland European Office Wärtsilä


YA! Vocational Education and Training Österberg Group

48 95 41 100 30 106 51


Europe’s first lithium mine is to open in Central Ostrobothnia. The rising number of electric vehicles means an increased demand for lithium.

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POPULATION Inhabitants: 5.4 million Average population density: 18 per sq. km Annual growth rate: 0.5% Life expectancy: Men 76.5 and women 83.2 years Languages: 90% speak Finnish, 5,4% Swedish Religion: 87% are Lutheran, 1% Orthodox Education: 78% of the population aged 25 to 64 years have completed upper secoandary or tertiary education (highest percentage in the EU), 35% have university or other tertiary qualifications Wired: 88% of Finnish households own a computer and 78% have broadband

GEOGRAPHY Area: 390,920 sq. km of which 9% is fresh water Climate: Warm summers and cold winters Average temperature (in Vaasa): –7.8 °C in January and 15.7 °C in July GOVERNMENT Government: Sovereign parliamentary republic since 1917 Member of: The EU (since 1995), EMU, UN, OECD and the WTO ECONOMY GDP 2010: €180 billion GNP per capita: €33,600 Currency: Euro Main industries: Metal, engineering, electronics and forest

THE COASTLINE – ONE OF THE STRONGEST AREAS IN FINLAND ▪ Ostrobothnia, or the Coastline from Kristinestad in the south to Kokkola in the north, covers an area of about 10,000 sq. km. About 200,000 people live on the Coastline, of which 51% are Finnish-speakers and 48% Swedishspeakers. The area has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship and the largest number of companies per capita on the mainland of Finland. The export share of approximately 70% is exceptionally high. Another indicator of the area’s strong economy is that the unemployment rate is the lowest in the country.


has a significant concentration of inorganic chemistry business. The town provides a complete, top-class operating environment for largescale industry with excellent logistics and location. Transport connections include the first covered all-weather terminal in the Nordic countries.

also called Pietarsaari in Finnish, is a mecca of small and medium-sized export companies. The town is full of export-oriented niche businesses that thrive on the global markets. There are companies that have fewer than 50 employees yet export to more than 50 countries!


is home to probably the biggest concentration of energy technology companies in the Nordic countries. Vaasa’s export percentage in industrial production is nearly 80, which makes it the biggest exporting town in Finland.

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Jakobstad (Pietarsaari)



Cittaslow towns are characterised by the residents’ strong sense of identity and community spirit. Kristinestad was the first town in Finland to become a member of the network.

Slow living →

Kristinestad, a picturesque town characterised by its wooden houses, is Finland’s first official Cittaslow town. The Cittaslow concept, drawing inspiration from the Slow Food movement, started in Italy but has since spread all around Europe. The goal of the towns belonging to the network is to emphasise the positive aspects of small town living: quality of life, history and peacefulness. Kristinestad lies 100 kilometres south of Vaasa, on the west coast of Finland. The city centre features over 200 protected wooden houses from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Wulita Bezabeh runs a company that produces ready-made Ethiopian food. Her great challenge is to get Finns used to more spices.

Ethiopian food for beginners One of the world’s best preserved meteorite craters is located south of Vaasa. It came into being 520 million years ago.

A big bang at Söderfjärden →

520 million years ago, a large meteorite crashed into Earth. The result of the violent collision can still be seen in what is known as Söderfjärden, a plain 15 kilometres south of Vaasa. The meteorite impact created a large crater, one of the world’s best preserved of its kind. At the time of the collision, the Fennoscandian shield was located in the southern hemisphere, from where it has gradually moved to its current location. The outline of the crater is fully visible since the area is used for cultivation. Söderfjärden was drained in the 1920s, and water must still be pumped from the fields. An observatory, a visiting centre and bird-watching tower are located close by. Read more at

Just like many other working mothers, Wulita Bezabeh used to cook big batches of food on the weekend, which she would freeze for future use. This made it easy to quickly microwave meals on otherwise stressful weekdays. “The idea for my company simply emerged from my own needs,” explains Bezabeh, who established Mama Ethiopia in 2007. The company makes deep-frozen meals with Ethiopian spices. Originally from Ethiopia, Bezabeh has been living in Jakobstad, Finland, for the past ten years. Her previous work as a food inspector has made hygiene and nutrition important to her. “Plus, I naturally want to fix food that is both tasty and healthy,” she says. In Bezabeh’s opinion, the easiest part of the business is making good food – the most difficult one is marketing. “Finns aren’t used to eating spicy food. I’ve also thought about exporting my products. There are many Ethiopian restaurants around the world, but I don’t know of anyone else who would produce ready-made Ethiopian dishes.”

An energising vitamin bomb →

Few plants do well on rocky, salt-splattered shores, but the sea buckthorn isn’t just any old plant. The berry has one of the world’s highest vitamin contents – around 360 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of berries. The thorny bushes make sea buckthorn picking something of a challenge. To be edible in the first place, the sour berries call for added sugar, which is why they are usually sold as processed products, such as juice, jelly or liqueur. In the past few years, the orange berry has become a kind of unofficial symbol of the coastal region, and every self-respecting restaurant typically offers a sea buckthorn dessert.

As far as berries go, the sea buckthorn has one of the world’s highest vitamin C contents. The thorny bushes are extremely resistant to drought, salt water and floods.

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ou are Finland’s first female Minister of Finance. What does a historic appointment such as this feel like? I think it’s fantastic to hold this post and simultaneously work as a pioneer. We’ve seen positive development in the shattering of glass ceilings, but a lot remains to be done, say, in the gender structure of the boards of listed companies.” What are Finland’s trump cards on the global export market? They boil down to competence, capacity to innovate and natural resources. We possess a great deal of competence especially in the metal, technology, wood processing and forest industries. We also have many growth sectors, such as culture and environmental technology, as well as bioenergy, which is particularly relevant to Central Ostrobothnia.” The Finnish west coast enjoys one of the country’s highest levels of well-being. What do you think is the reason for this? Coastal Ostrobothnia is extremely competitive, as indicated, for example, by the low unemployment rate. Long business traditions, a thriving entrepreneurial culture, successful education, as well as good transport and traffic connections are some of the explanations for this. The Ostrobothnian culture is characterised by a tradition of both persistent and creative entrepreneurship, along with a practical, go-getting attitude.” You hail from Kokkola on the west coast. How would you characterise a typical Kokkola resident? I would list perseverance and optimism as common features. Generally speaking, Ostrobothnians are characterised by practicality, in the positive sense of the term. We prefer to get down to work rather than stand around”. People from Kokkola are said to be tradesfolk. Is this true? At least trade has long traditions in Kokkola. Kokkola was granted the right to conduct foreign trade in 1765, and the town has ever since been an integral part of international business. Trade still plays an important role for the town’s business and industry.”

JUTTA URPILAINEN Position: Minister of Finance of Finland Born: 1975 Party: The Finnish Social Democratic Party

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s the Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, what is your view on the export-oriented region of Ostrobothnia? My roots are, in fact, in Ostrobothnia. My father’s family comes from a village called Stubb outside Jakobstad. I think of Ostrobothnia as an extremely entrepreneurial region, featuring strong small companies active in various sectors. It is a highly industrialised area. Interested as I am in sports, to me Ostrobothnia also stands for a region that has produced some of the country’s best athletes, both long-distance runners and sprinters.” What is the significance of regions? Their importance continues to increase. Instead of capital cities handling all business, urban regions now conduct their own foreign trade. It is a global phenomenon. I recently visited Shanghai on a trade promotion trip with Finnish companies. The city is home to 20 million people, who definitely do not want their foreign trade to be handled by Beijing.” Finland sometimes seems fixated on finding a new Nokia. What does the Minister for Foreign Trade have to say about this? Why wait for a new Nokia phenomenon? What you need to do, instead, is identify the right sectors. Energy technology, so strong in the Vaasa region, could become a new engine of export – or it could be mines, the heavy industry or something completely different. You never know.” You were in charge of the project leading to the creation of a Finnish country brand. The core message is “Finland – It works”. Could you explain this some more? Picture the classic scene on a plane when someone falls ill and you ask: ‘Is there a doctor on board?’ We are aiming at a status that tells the world we’re good at problem-solving. Should a problem arise, the pilot asks: ‘Is there a Finn on board?’ We are pragmatic rather than ideological. What you see is what you get.”

ALEXANDER STUBB Position: Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade; former Minister for Foreign Affairs, former Member of the European Parliament. Born: 1967 Party: The National Coalition Party

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ENERGY EFFICIEN 10 coastline 2012–2013

ABB recently introduced a synchronous reluctance motor, which it hopes will become a new flagship. Since the rotor has no electric current, no losses arise, and this automatically leads to higher efficiency.


Energy efficiency as a theme has been overshadowed by renewable energies, even though it is an easier and faster way to curb the greenhouse effect.

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mikko lehtimäki


“The AC drives supplied by Vacon in 2010 helped save 35 TWh of energy, which corresponds to the production capacity of six nuclear reactors,” explains Jukka Kasi at Vacon.

Electric motors play a crucial role in restricting energy consumption, since they use as much as onethird of all the electricity generated worldwide. The most efficient way to reduce the amount of electricity consumed by a motor is to equip it with a variablespeed drive.


lectricity consumption continues to increase, even though its reduction would be preferable in view of climate change. The EU’s 20-20-20 objective aims at increasing the use of renewable energy forms, as well as improving energy efficiency by 20 per cent by 2020. Dull-

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sounding, energy efficiency has unfortunately been overshadowed by the sexier renewable energies, even though it is often an easier and faster way to curb the greenhouse effect. Energy efficiency can be improved in many ways. Consumers can help by avoiding the use of standby power or by purchasing an energy-frugal refrigerator. However, the biggest potential for savings is to be found in industry, which accounts for the bulk of global electricity consumption.

Industrial work horses As for reducing industrial electricity use, there is one approach far superior to any other: investing in energyefficient electric motors and equipping them with variable-speed drives. Electric motors are the work horses of industry. You’re bound to find one wherever there’s an industrial process. Electric motors power machines, pumps, compressors and a host of other devices. They have, in fact, become so common that they make up a whopping twothirds of the electricity used in industry. And since industry accounts for the bulk of worldwide electricity consumption, electric motors use up as much as one-third of global electricity.

Tightened regulations ABB is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of electric motors. In addition, ABB is a world leader in low voltage AC and DC drives with production facilities all over the world, including Helsinki. The company engages in both production and research of electric motors in Vaasa. “There are various efficiency categories for electric motors,” says Jouni Ikäheimo, Manager of Innovation & New Technology at ABB Motors and Generators. “EU directives are now doing away with the lowest of these. In a few years, regulations will be further tightened.” This trend is well-suited to ABB, which offers a wide range of efficient motors in all sizes. EU directives alone do not explain the increasing demand for energy-efficient motors. Customers who purchase motors have noticed that the overall cost of a slightly more expensive but more efficient motor is lower in the long run. “Customers are growing more aware of the importance of energy efficiency and have learned to calculate the price of waste energy at the investment phase. Buyers now focus on overall

mikko lehtimäki

“Customers are growing more aware of the importance of energy efficiency. They now focus on overall expenses rather than the price of the motor itself,” says Jouni Ikäheimo at ABB.

expenses rather than the price of the motor itself,” says Ikäheimo. ABB is running a development project that aims to raise the efficiency of small motors. In large motors, efficiency is already around 95 per cent, but there is still room for improvement in smaller motors with a kW rating of 5–10. “This is an important field, since small motors are more common and therefore consume the biggest share of electricity. Competition in small motors is tougher, and many manufacturers have focused on price rather than quality. This has also led to lower efficiency.”

Focus on the entire process Generally speaking, the energy efficiency of motors is already so high that the greatest savings potential is found in the process surrounding the motor rather than in the motor itself. Variablespeed drives that steplessly control motor speeds play a crucial role in this respect: they can reduce the electricity consumption of motors by as much as 40 per cent. Vaasa-based Vacon is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of AC drives. “Just a few years ago, companies invested in AC drives because they wanted to improve flexibility and increase

capacity. There’s a clear change in the air now. Customers also want to save electricity with AC drives,” says Jukka Kasi, Vice President, Corporate Development at Vacon.

Like an accelerator pedal The accelerator pedal of a car is a good analogy to drives. A motor without a drive is like a car without a pedal. It either runs at full blast or not at all, and braking is the only way to control the speed. Without a drive, the motor only has an on/off state. Reducing the speed of a motor with brakes alone is tough on the motor and squanders huge amounts of energy. “As recently as the 1980s, for example, pumps were controlled with brakes, but these days nearly all of them have an AC drive. The payback period for an AC drive used in this application can be as short as six months,” says Kasi. The energy-savings potential of AC drives varies depending on the application. In a lift, for example, an AC drive can save 80 per cent of energy, equalling a payback period around 18 months. The average savings potential in different applications is approximately 30 per cent.

“AC drives have developed enormously in recent years. When Vacon started operations in the early 1990s, all customers were basically offered the same T-Model Ford. Today, AC drives are customised to different needs, and they so to say speak the customer’s language,” Kasi explains.

Huge savings potential Of all the world’s electric motors, around 10 per cent are now equipped with a drive. A decade ago, this figure was only five per cent. Growth has been fast, but there is still room for more. “I estimate that around 35 per cent of electric motors worldwide are used for such purposes that installing an AC drive in them is economically sensible. If the utilisation ratio is low, installation does not necessarily make sense,” says Kasi. The following figures may help to understand the energy-savings potential: the AC drives supplied by Vacon in 2010 helped save 35 TWh of energy, which corresponds to the production capacity of six nuclear reactors. Vacon has a 4.5 per cent market share, which means that the energy saved by all AC drives manufactured last year corresponds to more than 130 reactors. Think about the

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The payback period for an AC drive can be as short as six months.

number of nuclear reactors that could be closed down if a third of the world’s motors were equipped with a drive instead of the current ten per cent.

Clear signs of change Why, then, aren’t drives used more frequently, if the investment pays back in a couple of years? “Conservatism and unawareness are probably at work in the background. Low energy prices have also kept development at bay,” says Jukka Kasi. Jouni Ikäheimo from ABB also believes that old habits die hard. “Customers may not always have understood the life cycle of motors. There are now clear signs of change in the air. Concerns about climate change and surging energy prices also raise the demand for energy-efficient solutions.” The use of AC drives will necessarily increase in the future, simply because electric motors are taking over from combustion engines. In addition to the increasingly popular electric cars, various work machines are also going over to electric motors. Mechanical power transmission is being replaced by electrical transmission. With the rising popularity of AC drives, ABB has been pondering whether the traditional induction motor is the best possible companion for a drive. The company recently introduced a synchronous reluctance motor (see picture on pages 10–11) developed in Vaasa, Sweden and Spain, which it hopes will become a new flagship. “This is, in fact, a really old invention, which we’ve simply updated. In a reluctance motor, a magnetic field rotates the rotor. Since the rotor has no electric current, no losses arise, and this automatically leads to higher efficiency. The rotation speed can be controlled more accurately, which is especially well suited to the process industry,” says Ikäheimo. c

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Smart grids increase energy efficiency In the future, smart electrical power networks will be crucial in the strive to reduce electricity consumption and increase energy efficiency. A new research lab in Vaasa will improve the flow of information in smart grids.



ith more and more of the future electricity supply originating from decentralised and renewable sources like solar and wind power, the electrical power networks must grow smarter to cope with fluctuations (more about smart grids on page 38). For an electrical network to be called smart, it must be highly automated. This, in turn, means that the equipment in the electrical grid must be able to communicate with the surroundings. Today, the devices of different suppliers do not always interact optimally with one another, despite the relatively new international standard defined for the field. A new education and research laboratory has therefore been set up in Vaasa to come up with ways to overcome problems and make the devices speak the same language. “It’s natural for the lab to reside in Vaasa, since the major Nordic relay manufacturers operate here,” says Anna-Kaisa Valkama, Project Manager at the Merinova Technology Centre, who coordinates the laboratory project. The new lab is jointly run by several educational institutions and companies in the region.

mikko lehtimäki


the Nordic leader in energy technology The Vaasa region is home to a considerable concentration of energy technology competence. Many of the region’s companies supply solutions that improve energy efficiency in different ways, including variable-speed drives and high-efficiency engines. The region is also a frontrunner in smart grid development. Anna-Kaisa Valkama and Robert Olander from Merinova are pleased with the new test lab in Vaasa, which aims to improve interaction between various smart grid devices.

Better control over the network Smarter and more automated power networks also provide individual electricity consumers with realtime information about their consumption. Studies show that people are more willing to save electricity when they can follow their own use. Automation equipment can also help households reduce their electricity use when the spot price of electricity is high. Moreover, smart grids improve energy efficiency by giving electricity providers better control over the network, making it easier to detect where losses occur and faster to deal with them. A smart grid is also able to automatically and independently react to changes in supply and demand. “Smart grids are crucial for the EU to achieve its 20-20-20 target,” says Robert Olander, Merinova’s Marketing Director. “On the one hand, they enable increased use of renewable energy sources and on the other hand, they increase energy efficiency.”

Difficult to measure In public, renewables have so far received considerably more attention than energy efficiency, even though energy efficiency is often easier and faster to improve. Robert Olander believes this is because energy efficiency is harder to see and understand than large-scale wind or solar farms. “You can easily measure the energy efficiency of a single device, but figures for the entire society are much more difficult to obtain, since overall electricity consumption increases constantly. Energy efficiency is composed of so many small sources that it is difficult to get a grip of.” c

Companies: More than 120 Employees: Some 10,000 (¼ of Finland’s total energy-sector manpower) Experts in research and development: 800 Total turnover: Some €4 billion annually Export rate: Over 70%, which is 30% of Finland’s total export of energy techology Energy technology companies presented in this magazine: → ABB → Wärtsilä → Citec → Vacon → VEO → The Switch → Vamp → KWH Pipe → Wapice → Mervento → EPV Energy → Westenergy → VNT Management → Leinolat Group → Mapromec → KGN Tool → Österberg Group

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mats sandström

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Off the ground in any weather →

Even when the snow and cold force airports elsewhere in Europe to close down, planes normally take off on schedule in Finland. Difficult winter conditions are nothing of an exception or emergency: deep snow banks are perfectly normal up here. All airports offer 24/7 readiness to remove snow from the runways and maintain other vital operations. In recent years, Finland has been widely praised abroad for its well-functioning air traffic, and Finavia, which operates most of the country’s airports, has begun to provide consultation in winter maintenance.

Cold outside, warm indoors →

Thanks to well-insulated houses, it is rarely cold inside in Finland – even in the winter. The country may not be all that densely populated, but it still has one of the world’s most extensive district heating systems. District heating is used in around half of the houses, and the network continues to be expanded. A full 80 per cent of the district heat used in Finland is produced in combi power plants, which are exceedingly energy-efficient. What this means in practice is that the heat generated in electricity production is used for heating houses instead of going to waste.

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Snowploughs clear the way →

Night-time snowfall does not have to lead to chaos the following morning. Road-clearing operations keep a close eye on weather forecasts, and snowplough drivers man their vehicles in the middle of the night, if need be. This ensures that everyone gets to work in the morning, irrespective of the nightly weather.

A snowmobile for every man →

Anyone visiting the Finnish west coast in wintertime will get acquainted with the sound of snowmobiles. Most men in the region own one, and riding snowmobiles out on the ice is a common evening and Saturday pastime. It is true that snowmobiles serve as tools for reindeer farmers, but most people use them expressly for entertainment.

The sea bears →

When the sea freezes over, new roads and channels open up. In cold winters, the ice gets thick enough to carry heavy vehicles, encouraging people to open up ice roads. Most of them are ploughed by private forces, but some are marked as official roads. Suddenly, the crossover from the Finnish west coast to Sweden becomes much shorter and faster. Back in time, ice roads were of great importance to services and provisions. Of course, you always use them at your own risk!

How to stay fit at –30 °C →

After a hot sauna, a jump into a hole in the ice feels marvellous. At least according to the hundreds of thousands of Finnish ice swimming devotees. Winter swimming is done in a frozen sea or lake with a hole cut through the ice. It is considered to offer many health benefits. The ice-cold water boosts blood circulation and may relieve pain. Some passionate winter swimmers also claim it alleviates stress and sleep problems.

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katja lösönen



AT WORK. Marit Holmlund-Sund works as Senior Manager, Marketing Communications & Branding at Wärtsilä, a power solutions provider. She carries global responsibility for the company’s brand.

Marit Holmlund-Sund combines an international job with a home in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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hen Marit Holmlund-Sund, Senior Manager, Marketing Communications & Branding, enters the car in the morning, ready to drive off to work, she turns on the radio to listen to the news. She also starts planning the workday ahead of her. Forty minutes later she arrives at the Wärtsilä office in Vaasa – usually facing a hectic workday. Marit Holmlund-Sund carries global responsibility for Wärtsilä’s marketing communication and the company’s brand development. Her colleagues are located far and wide across the globe. “We have well-developed systems, including Telepresence conferences and on-line systems through the computer, which enable face-to-face meetings without our having to travel anywhere. You rack up many trips nevertheless,”

says Holmlund-Sund, listing Italy, the USA, the Netherlands, Norway and Singapore as her destinations in the coming month. “I normally don’t travel quite as often as this. Of course travel is interesting, but it also takes up a lot of energy. In the end, I’d rather return home for the night.” Home is 40 kilometres outside Vaasa, in the Björköby village on the island of Replot. Björköby lies in the middle of an area that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site based on the rapid rise of land after the last Ice Age. This post-glacial rebound continues at an average rate of one metre a century, leading to nature being in constant fluctuation.

In the middle of nature Marit Holmlund-Sund lived in Björköby throughout her childhood. She chose to move back when she started a family,

katja lösönen

AT HOME. Marit Holmlund-Sund lives in the middle of the Kvarken archipelago, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. When she returns home from work, she often heads out into nature.

which now consists of her husband and two children, aged 10 and 11. “It’s fantastic to live in the middle of nature, but still be able to work in an international company. I always knew I wanted to have an international job. What I most like about my work is that something new takes place all the time; we are not bogged down in a routine.” At home, Marit Holmlund-Sund enjoys the peace and quiet. She spent some time in Germany during her studies and noticed how badly she needed to live close to the sea. “We spend a lot of time boating out at sea and we like to fish. In the winter, I love skiing on the ice; it’s like meditation. I’m not particularly good at sitting still and would rather be active. When I get home from work, I take off into the woods with our dog or tend the greenhouse and garden. Vegetable growing is a form of therapy. Sometimes the crops

grow so big we don’t have time to eat it all. My solution is to hand out cucumbers to my friends.”

Finland’s longest bridge Still, Marit Holmlund-Sund does not think of the family living out of the way. Her drive to work is no longer than that of many colleagues in the capital, Helsinki. She usually telecommutes one day a week, and even then she can use the computer for on-line meetings with colleagues around the world. As for trips abroad, the Vaasa airport offers her several daily flights to choose from. Although the family lives on an island, traffic connections are good thanks to the archipelago being linked to the mainland by Finland’s longest bridge. “The bridge was built around the time I moved back. This lifestyle would not be possible without it, since the trip to work would be a whole lot longer.”

At the end of the workday, Marit Holmlund-Sund gets back in the car to start her 40-minute drive home. “I normally use the drive to make phone calls. Sitting in the car is also a good way to wind down.” c

MARIT HOLMLUND-SUND Position: Senior Manager, Marketing Communications & Branding at Wärtsilä. Family: Husband and two chidren, aged 10 and 11. Lives in the Björköby village in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

coastline 2012–2013 21


EXPORTIN AS A LIFES 22 coastline 2012–2013

mats sandström

The coastline region around the cities of Vaasa, Kokkola and Jakobstad has become a driving force for Finnish export. It is the most industrialised region in all of Finland, and its exports have seen the country’s fastest growth in the 21st century. The region boasts the largest number of export companies in relation to its population, in addition to which Ostrobothnians export twice as much per capita as Finns on average.


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Maritime exports have long traditions in Ostrobothnia. The port of Kokkola has Finland’s only all-weather terminal, where vessels are loaded and unloaded in a huge hall offering protection against snow and rain.


aasa airport at 6 a.m. on a normal weekday. Hundreds of passengers representing dozens of nationalities line up for check-in, security control and boarding. Employees of industrial companies in the Vaasa region head out on international flights, while business customers visiting the city fly home to different parts of the world. Four daily flights to Stockholm, twelve to Helsinki and one each to Copenhagen, Riga make the airport Finland’s liveliest outside the biggest cities and tourist destinations. Morning planes from Vaasa are popularly called engineer buses: it is the engineers on them who put a face on export. The cities of Jakobstad and Kokkola are served by an own airport (KokkolaPietarsaari airport), with daily departures to Helsinki and Stockholm.

Meanwhile in Kokkola Meanwhile, activities are getting under way in the region’s largest port, Kokkola, 130 kilometres north of Vaasa. The 121-metre container vessel, Johanna, which sails the route to Antwerp, is at berth to load and unload containers.

24 coastline 2012–2013

It isn’t just any old quay that Johanna calls at. It is Finland’s only all-weather terminal, where vessels are loaded and unloaded in a huge hall offering protection against snow and rain. The port in Kokkola, with its 13-metre fairway has grown into an important port for mines in northern and eastern Finland, as well as for Russian transit traffic. The port and fairway have been constructed and developed for industry in Kokkola, and the region has its own export industry to thank for the profitable and expanding port.

Seventy per cent exported Ostrobothnia has Finland’s largest number of export companies in relation to its population. In absolute figures, export enterprises are more numerous here than in any other Finnish region, except for the triangle formed by Helsinki, Tampere and Turku – three of Finland’s five biggest cities. The country’s export per capita totalled €9,800 in 2010, while that of Ostrobothnia was over €20,000. The region’s industry progressed in leaps and bounds between 2005 and 2010. Industrial GNP nearly doubled in

the period and its share of the region’s overall GNP is 1.5 times the figure for the rest of Finland. Approximately 70 per cent of industrial production is exported, which also shows in the national export figures (Figure 1).

Energy technology leader A considerable part of growth is generated by energy technology companies in the Vaasa region, the leading concentration of energy technology competence in the Nordic countries. Energy technology is a global growth sector, and nearly a third of Finland’s exports in the field come from Ostrobothnia. The chemical industry in Kokkola is also extremely outwardly oriented. Jakobstad is dominated by the wood processing industry, still a cornerstone of Finnish exports. Finland is a country that lives on exports – they account for 40 per cent of the GNP. A high level of education and technological competence helped Finland grow in the 20th century and become a significant export country in Europe. A clear statistical link has been detected over the years: when exports hold up, Finns do well, when they dwindle, the whole country suffers.

mats sandström

International region Emigration is another historical factor. When times were grim, Ostrobothnians emigrated in search of work, especially to the USA and Sweden. When times improved, they returned home with new skills and ideas, which they turned into business.

Read more about the region’s ports on page 82, the logistics hub in Vaasa on page 85 and the investments in flight logistics on page 84.


Growth of exports 2005 – 2011




Central Ostrobothnia


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An open attitude to the surrounding world has benefited the region in the form of numerous immigrants, who have brought with them skills and knowledge from their home countries. Today, Ostrobothnia is one of Finland’s most international regions, second only to Helsinki, in terms of the number of nationalities working and studying here. Confidence in the region is strong, and networks come into being naturally and flexibly. In an export-oriented business climate, small subcontractors become a part of the quality culture characteristic of global industry. Smaller players get a push from bigger ones out in the world. Exporting becomes a lifestyle. c

20 0

In coastal Ostrobothnia, export has been a part of life and business since time immemorial. Farmers along the coast practised international trade early on. Tar burning and exporting played a big role in the 17th century, while important merchant fleets were built up in Vaasa, Kokkola and Jakobstad in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ostrobothnia’s bilingualism is one of the factors explaining its readiness for export. Finnish- and Swedish-speakers constitute groups nearly the same size. The linguistic and cultural proximity to Sweden, Finland’s main export country, means that Ostrobothnians have been able to sell their products pretty much the same as on their home market. A successful entry into the first export country makes it easier to step further into the world.

20 05

Long traditions


Figure 1. Both the GNP and exports of the two Coastline regions, Ostrobothnia and Central Ostrobothnia, have seen Finland’s fastest growth in the 21st century. A big leap took place between 2005 and 2010, as the region was less severely hit by the recession than the rest of the country. Central Ostrobothnia has experienced larger fluctuations due to the global market price of zinc, an important industrial raw material.

coastline 2012–2013 25

Lithium will be an important element in the future world: in addition to vehicles, lithium batteries will be needed for electricity storage.

EXPLORERS OF LITHIUM 26 coastline 2012–2013

mats sandström

This jar holds a 99.94 per cent lithium carbonate concentrate. Keliber believes it can make an even purer product in the future.

mats sandström

This lithium deposit in Central Ostrobothnia is unique as there are only a few lithium mines in the world. Olle Sirén and Kaj Lyyski hope the mine can start operations in late 2013, early 2014.

Europe’s first lithium mine is about to start operations in Central Ostrobothnia. Electric vehicles and energy storage will multiply the demand for lithium batteries..


echargeable lithium batteries have been around for some twenty years. They replaced other alternatives in mobile phones and laptops in the early 2000s, and electric vehicles are now expected to multiply the demand for lithium. It has been known for decades that Central Ostrobothnia is home to a large lithium deposit, but its utilisation has not been economically viable earlier. Around ten years ago, Keliber began exploring the deposit, the goal being to launch mining activities in the region. “This is a globally unique deposit. There are only a few lithium mines in the world, and in Europe, for example, there are no other corresponding mines or deposits,” says Olle Sirén, CEO of Keliber.

Lithium with biogas Some 20 individual lithium deposits are currently known to exist in the 500-square-kilometre area located in the municipalities of Kokkola, Kaustinen and Kruunupyy. Olle Sirén believes it is highly likely that other deposits will be found in the future. “We are now carrying out an overall survey. In line with international practices, financiers require proof that the lithium reserves will suffice for at least ten years.” If everything goes as scheduled, mining activities will begin in late 2013, early 2014, and Keliber will start delivering 6,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate a year to its customers.

“Lithium carbonate is a 99.94 per cent concentrate. I hope we can produce an even purer, 99.99 per cent concentrate in the future. It will easily enable us to increase our turnover tenfold, since the high-purity substance is a lot more valuable.” Lithium enrichment is an energy-intensive process. To secure inexpensive and environmentally friendly energy, Keliber has developed a production process that utilises biogas made of waste materials.

Norwegian ownership A lithium mine suits Central Ostrobothnia extremely well, since the region already houses a great deal of chemical production. “This is a sector we absolutely want to invest in,” says Kaj Lyyski, Development Director from the Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia. “We have, for example, set up a research unit in the local university of applied sciences, which focuses on the development of lithium battery technology. Nordic Mining ASA, a Norwegian company, has a majority holding in Keliber. The Norwegians got involved in 2007, when the company’s own funding model failed. “This has been a long process. We originally planned to start mining in 2005. I can’t think of any other sector where it would be this slow to start business operations. We have needed over one hundred official permits alone,” says Olle Sirén. He and Kai Lyyski, however, are convinced that the mine has a bright future ahead despite the sluggish start. Lithium will be an important element in the future world: in addition to vehicles, lithium batteries will be needed for electricity storage. “I believe this holds the biggest potential in the future. The increased use of wind and solar power will further raise the need to store energy using different types of compensation and emergency power systems,” says Sirén. c

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Andreas Romar’s road to the world top is a perfect example of the Ostrobothnian mindset.


strobothnia is one of Europe’s flattest regions. It resembles the Netherlands, with miles of flatland stretching as far as the eye can see. Known as “Pampas” among the locals, the region is not exactly the likeliest home district for a downhill skier. Nevertheless, this is where Andreas Romar started his climb to the world top. His breakthrough came in 2009, with the downhill bronze at the Junior World Championships. Andreas is not alone, for that matter. In the 2011 season, the Vaasa ski club was Finland’s most successful alpine club in the national championships. The success achieved by Andreas Romar and the Vaasa ski club are typical examples of the Ostrobothnian approach: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You head out into the world and go

28 coastline 2012–2013

straight for the top. This is the same attitude that has made Ostrobothnian companies so successful in the global market. It is natural for them to interact with the outside world. The only “mountain” around Vaasa can be glimpsed in the background of the photograph. Naturally, it now features a 45-metre downhill slope so children can learn to ski. When the home slope becomes too small, people begin shuttling to the mountains. Parents do the driving and take care of arrangements, while children train. “Ever since I turned ten, we’d visit ski centres in central Finland every other weekend,” says Andreas Romar. “There were enough enthusiastic dads and parents who dedicated all their spare time to us,” he adds. In the late teens, it’s no longer enough to train every other week. The only option is to leave home at the age of 16. Andreas attended the Ruka Alpine High School in mountainous northern Finland. One of the driving forces in the Vaasa ski club is Tomas Brännkärr, who along with Andreas’s father, Jan-Erik Romar, bore the greatest responsibility. “There were no trained coaches in the region, so we taught ourselves from the ground up,” explains Brännkärr. That’s the way you do things in Ostrobothnia. c

mikko lehtimäki

NE STAR FACTS Keep up to date with Andreas Romar’s career at Other skiers from Vaasa representing Finland on the national team include Andreas’s sister, Tii-Maria Romar, as well as Samu Torsti and Nathalie Brännkärr.

coastline 2012–2013 29

Smart power   Wärtsilä’s fast engine-driven power plants are a perfect complement to wind and solar power.

THE EU’S TARGET is to increase the share of renewable energy by 20 per cent by 2020. This means that wind and solar power will account for nearly a third of the Union’s future electricity consumption – and even more than that in some member states. This reduces the predictability of electricity production and therefore increases the need for flexible, balancing reserve power, used to generate electricity in the absence of wind or sun. “We realised a few years ago that the Wärtsilä power plant concept would be a perfect complement to wind and solar power. Our engine-driven power plants are

30 coastline 2012–2013

The increased use of renewable energy sources puts new demands on other electricity production, as well. Wärtsilä’s power plants can produce electricity when there is no wind or sun.

very fast and flexible. It only takes them five minutes to reach full load from standstill,” says Niklas Wägar, General Manager, Electrical & Automation at Wärtsilä Power Plants. Alternative to turbines Many traditional power plants run with gas turbines and may need up to thirty minutes to start up. What is more, turbine technology is poorly suited to cyclical operations. In contrast, engine-driven plants can be ramped up and down several times a day, yet the need for maintenance does not increase.

“The future will inevitably include more peaks and troughs in electricity production. This puts whole new demands on technology,” says Wägar. He and his colleagues are currently involved in educational work and actively participate in energy discussions at the EU level. “Many people don’t even know about big gas-fuelled engines. They assume that turbine technology is the only alternative. We have seen many surprised faces when we’ve explained it only takes five minutes to start up an engine-driven power plant. Our goal is to further reduce the ramp-up time.”

generation mikko lehtimäki

“Our engine-driven power plants are very fast and flexible. They can go from standstill to full load in only five minutes,” says Niklas Wägar.

“In all, we have supplied 4,500 power plants corresponding to a total of 47 GW to 168 countries. I can ensure, without doubt, that the engine technology is thoroughly proven.” Niklas Wägar believes there should be more talk about the impact that an increasing use of renewable energy will have on electricity production. “There have been discussions about everything from energy storage to demand control, but all solutions have their own challenges. Some energy is always wasted during storage. Irrespective of other measures, there will always be a need for flexible power, and that is where our power plants come in as a strong option.” c Pioneer in gas One of the reasons for the low awareness of gas engine-driven plants is that the technology is still quite new. Large diesel and heavy fuel oil engines have been used for many decades, but gas engines are a fairly new player, with some twenty years in operation. Wärtsilä has pioneered the development of large gas engines with fast and intelligent controls ensuring rapid response. “We don’t have any real competitors in the large-gas-engine sector. On the one hand, this is an advantage, but on the other hand, we don’t get any help spreading our message.”

In Wärtsilä’s vision, traditional power plants would be used for baseload power, while engine-driven plants could balance electricity production. “We wish to show the considerable improvement that can be achieved in the overall efficiency of electricity production.” Fuel flexibility Wärtsilä’s power plants can also run on other fuels, such as biofuels. In addition, the company delivers liquid fuel power plants to regions that still have inadequate infrastructure.

One of the reasons for the low awareness of gas engine-driven plants is that the technology is still quite new.

wärtsilä Tel. +358 10 709 0000 Business sector:  Decentralised power plants, ship power systems and service, operations and maintenance Turnover (2010): €4,553 million


Employees: 17,500 (Finland 3,000) Export: 98% Major markets: Worldwide

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Citec experienced major changes in 2011 when the company got a new majority owner and began to execute its growth strategy. The picture shows one of Citec’s designs, the Ibese 105 MW GT Power Plant in Nigeria.

Embedded information Citec integrates technical information management with engineering. CITEC, A LEADING PROVIDER of multidiscipline engineering and information management services, experienced major changes in 2011. In June, Citec announced it had a new majority owner, the Finnish private equity company Sentica Partners. At the same time, Martin Strand took over as Citec’s new CEO. Citec has always followed a growth strategy, but the new owner means shifting into a higher gear. “Our goal is to double our turnover in five years. This is an interesting challenge for our personnel as our end product really is the competence of our skilful people. The headcount is estimated to rise from 1,000 to approximately 2,000. We will mainly grow organically, but also through acquisitions,” says Strand.

and maintenance of power plants or other industrial projects. Competitors may provide similar services separately, but we aim much higher in the sense that we focus on offering measurable benefits and values to our customers by efficiently creating and merging project information. We try harder in the sense that we aim to prove the savings from our solutions,” says Strand.

Comprehensive services

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Citec has its main market in northern Europe and aims to grow stronger on the French, German, Russian and Middle Eastern markets. Citec established itself in both France and Russia a few years ago, and according to Strand, activities in the countries developed very positively in 2011. Citec also entered the German market in 2011 by acquiring an engineering firm, which provides a good base for close work with German customers. “Our concept is to offer local presence with global expertise to create the best possible customer teams. More than a fourth of our experts are based in India, which gives us additional resources and competencies, in addition to making us very competitive on the global market,” says Strand. c

citec “We are quite unique in offering an overall concept that makes technical information an integral part of the engineering process of power plants and the like,” says Martin Strand.

Tel. +358 6 3240 700 Business sector: Multi-discipline engineering and information management services Estimated turnover 2011: €60 million katja lösönen

The company will primarily focus on the energy sector, already its biggest customer group. Citec commands vast expertise in many sectors, such as the process and manufacturing industry, as well as the civil, rail vehicle, ICT and healthcare sectors. “We offer increasingly comprehensive and competitive consultancy services to our customers,” explains Strand. “Citec is quite unique in offering a total concept. We make technical information an integral part of the engineering process and planning, from the design to the launch

Global resources

Employees: 1,100 Major markets: Northern Europe Certificates: ISO9001:2000


Vacon is one of the first variable-speed AC drive manufacturers to introduce solar-power applications.

Bright outlook Vacon converts solar energy into solar power.

VACON, A MANUFACTURER of variablespeed AC drives, launched a new application for solar power in 2010. Vacon’s inverters convert solar energy from direct current into alternating current used in the electrical network, while also improving the power quality of electricity. “We introduced a wind power application back in 2006, which made the solar power business a natural extension for us,” says Jukka Kasi, Vice President, Corporate Development. Inverters for renewable power sources use largely the same type of components as industrial AC drives. The main difference resides in the software used.

while utilising solar power this far north, but more than anything, this functions as a research laboratory for us. It is difficult to develop products unless you can test them in practice. We naturally use the solar energy generated by the roof top system in plant processes,” says Kasi.

“Energy efficiency and renewable power sources are two global megatrends. That is to say, we’re in the right business,” says Jukka Kasi. mikko lehtimäki

Cleantech all the way Solar power is a natural choice for Vacon, seeing as the company’s operations have always been based on cleantech. The company’s industrial AC drives save electricity in electric motors and thus help to combat climate change. While variable-speed AC drives still stand for the largest share of turnover, renewable energy accounted for as much as 18 per cent in 2010. “Energy efficiency and renewable power sources are two global megatrends. This strengthens my belief that we are on the right track,” says Kasi. c

Rapid progress Vacon was one of the first variable-speed AC drive manufacturers to introduce solar-power applications. Things took off rapidly in 2010, when Vacon acquired a small Spanish R&D company specialised in solar energy. The following year, Vacon won prestigious recognition for its work in the solar-power sector when it was presented with the Millennium award. “We offer products for a wide power range, from roof top panels to large solar farms,” says Kasi. Vacon has also built a 55-kW roof top installation on the roof of its plant in Vaasa. “Many have asked us if it’s really worth-

vacon Business sector:  Electrical components and equipment for AC drives and renewable energy production


Turnover 2010: €338 million Employees: 1,400 Major markets: EMEA, APAC, Americas

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EPV Energy has long and persistently worked to increase the share of emission-free power production. To meet its targets, the company currently runs three schemes focusing on bioenergy, wind and nuclear power.

EPV Energy replaces   The new biomass gasification plant is the first of its kind worldwide. A TYPICAL OBSTACLE to increasing emission-free energy production comes from existing plants that have been designed for use with coal. They cannot utilise biofuels due to technical reasons. EPV Energy has contributed to developing a solution to the problem. Vaskiluodon Voima, a subsidiary in which it has a 50 per cent holding, is building a biomass gasification plant in connection with its coal-fired power plant in Vaasa. The new plant will enable a considerable amount of coal to be replaced with forest residue. “The plant is the first of its kind in the world. Gasification technology, as such, is not a new idea, but it has never before been used on this scale and for this purpose,” explains Rami Vuola, CEO. The new plant is scheduled for deployment in early 2013. After that, a third of the coal will be replaced with biofuels, such as forest chips. The plant currently uses up to 600,000 tonnes of coal a year, which means the new investment will considerably reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Calculations promise an annual reduction of up to 230,000 tonnes. Domestic fuel In addition to being environmentally friendly, the gasification plant offers many other advantages as well. “We estimate that the plant, the biomass

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EPV Energy is constructing five to ten terminals around the region where the ­forest residue will be received and stored. The Vaskiluoto coal-fired power plant still has 20 years of service life ahead. In addition to electricity it generates heat, which is distributed through the district heating network to homes in the Vaasa region. Before biomass can be gasified it must first be dried. An energy-efficient solution has been devised for this challenge, as well: the waste heat from the turbine process, which today is dumped into the sea, will dry biofuel in the future. The 40-million-euro input into the gasification plant has received state investment aid. Moreover, the feed-in tariff adopted in Finland ensures the competitiveness of environmentally friendly electricity. Frontrunner

gunnar bäckman

“Gasification technology has never been used on this scale anywhere in the world,” says Rami Vuola.

production and the logistics chain around them will employ around 100 people. Our annual purchases of local fuels amount to some 15 to 20 million euros. This sum will stay in the region instead of being used for emission allowance and fossil fuel purchases from other countries,” says Vuola.

EPV Energy procures or produces around five per cent of all the electricity used in Finland. The company has long and persistently worked to increase the share of emission-free power production. The construction of the gasifier is a part of the company’s bioenergy scheme, which aims to increase the utilisation of domestic biomass from the forest and from field cultivation in the co-generation of power and heat.

EPV Energy procures or produces around five per cent of all the electricity used in Finland.

coal with biofuel

In addition to this, EPV runs a wind power scheme. In 2010, EPV’s subsidiary Rajakiiri launched the country’s most energy-efficient wind power park in Tornio, in northern Finland. “The west coast is Finland’s windiest region, and we aim to set up around ten wind power parks here,” says Vuola. EPV’s third programme for satisfying climate policy targets involves nuclear power. “Wind power and renewables won’t be

truly competitive until the following decade. We will need nuclear power until then.” EPV Energy has the option to later build another gasification plant next to the currently constructed one. Should the project go ahead, coal will become a mere auxiliary fuel. “The biggest challenge is to collect enough biofuel from the surrounding areas. A constant supply of forest residue may also be a big issue, since forest owners fell trees depending on the price of wood.” c

The gasifier built next to the Vaskiluoto power plant will extend the service life of the coal-fired plant, while also reducing CO2 emissions considerably.

epv energy ltd Tel. +358 6 337 5300 Business sector: Electricity and heat production and transmission. Electricity procurement: 4.4 TWh


Heat procurement: 1.4 TWh Electricity transmission: 6,916 GWh Turnover: €188.4 million Employees: 24

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Forest residue material is the main source for Alholmens Kraft’s biofuels.

Biofuel pioneer Alholmens Kraft points the way towards greener energy.

here and are a model for others. After all, we were the first in the world to introduce this concept.” Towards an optimum mix

mats sandström

ALHOLMENS KRAFT in Jakobstad is the world’s largest biofuel power plant. Its primary task is to supply electricity, process steam and district heat to the surrounding region. “Ten years in the business make us a real frontrunner in the field,” says Roger Holm, who recently stepped in as CEO of Alholmens Kraft. “We get many visitors

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Roger Holm is the new CEO of Alholmens Kraft. His objective is to optimise the broad fuel mix and enhance the value added for the power plant’s owners.

Alholmens Kraft aims to optimise its fuel mix to achieve the most cost-effective result possible. “We use biofuels and peat as our main sources. REF, or recovered fuel such as sorted industrial and household waste, is also included in the fuel mix. Coal serves as a supplementary and reserve fuel,” explains Holm. “Our goal, of course, is to maximise the use of biofuels. Further development of the already broad fuel portfolio is also on the power plant’s agenda.” “It means basing operations more clearly on currently relevant fuels, eliminating the most expensive fractions and focusing on those available right now.” Crucial availability Alholmens Kraft produces some of its own peat and purchases the rest from other producers. Forest residue is collected within a radius of 100-150 kilometres of the plant. Transport distances longer than this would make fuel use uneconomical. “Our capacity enables us to use biofuel

on a much larger scale than we currently do. Availability is the crucial factor,” says Holm. National action programmes aim at an increased use of biofuels as energy sources. Both the carrot and the stick are used to achieve this target. “This naturally means more competition. We have a large capacity, and so far it has taken us a long way. It remains to be seen how much biofuel can be recovered from Finnish forests,” says Roger Holm. c

oy alholmens kraft ab Business sector:  Power production based on biofuel: electricity, process steam and district heating Electricity production: 1,800 GWh Heat production: 560 GWh Turnover 2010: €80 million Employees: 42 employees + 350 subcontractors in fuel production


Tornio is home to Finland’s biggest wind farm, Rajakiiri, which is partly owned by Katternö.

For a powerful society Katternö supports local energy in a global world.

POWER COMPANIES play a crucial role in the development of society. If, like Katternö, they also have strong regional ties in terms of ownership and operations, they are in a great position to boost positive development in their region. “It’s our vision to develop local society, both as a good place to live in and as a dynamic business environment. We are responsible for producing and distributing the electricity and heat needed, effectively, reliably, in an environmentally friendly way and at a competitive price,” says Stefan Storholm, CEO. Katternö operates in an area stretching from Alavieska in the north to Vöyri in the south. The company’s own power production is a key element in Katternö’s strive to support local society through competitive electricity and heating. “We want to be in control of our own energy production and distribution – the electrical network, that is – as far as possible. It’s a matter of safety and has proved to work well. Knowing our customers and our operating region enables us to react quickly and purposefully,” says Storholm. Bio, wind and nuclear power As a power producer, Katternö operates in

During peak power needs, for example, in the cold winter months, wind power plants often stand still. This calls for alternative sources of energy. “Nuclear power is carbon dioxide-free and works in all weather. That is why we are a part owner in Fennovoima, which is building a new nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, in northern Ostrobothnia. Society needs reliable baseload power, and it is always a good idea to use a mix of fuels, especially with competition in biofuels now on the increase,” says Storholm. c mats sandström

a global environment, dictated by international and national contracts. “We want to contribute in various ways to Finland’s activities related to the Kyoto Protocol. For example, we operate Alholmens Kraft, a biofuelled power plant, and the Kanteleen Voima power plant, where the goal is to increase the use of biopower. We also offer wind power. We are part owners of Finland’s biggest wind farm, Rajakiiri, in Tornio up north, and our next wind farm in Merijärvi is under construction,” says Storholm. The gradual reduction of coal use in Finland means added pressure to secure a sufficient amount of baseload power.

“We contribute to the region’s employment as a local power producer and distributor,” says Stefan Storholm.

katternö group Tel. +358 6 781 5300 Business sector:  Production, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity


Turnover 2011: €200 million Employees: 200 Customers: 65,000 Own capacity: 285 MW Power transmission: 1.3 TWh District heating: 0.3 TWh

coastline 2012–2013 37

The traditional electrical grid can no longer deal with increasingly large and versatile loads. ABB’s competence covers the entire life cycle of smart grids from large power plants to the automation of single-family houses.

Smarter grids ABB supports renewable energy by making electrical grids more intelligent. UNTIL NOW, electricity generation has been adjusted to electricity consumption, and electrical power networks have been designed according to centralised power generation. In the future, however, renewable energy from volatile sources like solar and wind will account for a larger share, which means that consumption must increasingly adapt to production. Electricity production is also becoming increasingly decentralised. “These trends call for new balancing mechanisms in the electrical power network. The grid must, quite simply, become smarter. The future grid needs to incorporate new elements, such as electric vehicles and electricity storage,” says Dick Kronman, Business Development Manager from ABB Distribution Automation. Smart grids 1.0 ABB is a pioneer in smart grids, and much of the company’s global research and development in the field of distribution automation takes place in Vaasa. The concept of smart grids refers to electrical power networks featuring built-in intelligence. Intelligence may mean, for

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Smart electrical grids also improve energy efficiency. The better the utility’s control of the grid, the better the management of energy losses.

example, that the continuity of supply can be secured through remote access and automation in the network, even in its most distant branches, and that the network is also capable of feeding electricity in the opposite direction. “We already have what you could call smart grids 1.0 in Finland, since we’ve long invested in automation. The majority of buildings and facilities are equipped with smart electricity meters, which provide real-time information about consumption,” says Kronman. Increased energy efficiency Smart electricity meters have numerous functions. Firstly, access to real-time information makes consumers better aware of their own consumption, and experience shows that this also leads to reduced electricity use. Secondly, electricity meters can provide valuable information about problems in the low-voltage network, which means that interruptions can be dealt with faster. Today, dozens of kilometres may separate the last supervised station from the end-customer, and the electric utility has no way of monitoring the status along

The roof of ABB’s frequency converter factory is home to the largest Nordic solar power plant linked to a national grid.

gunnar bäckman

that stretch. The better the utility’s control of the grid, the better the management of energy losses. In other words, smart electrical grids also improve energy efficiency. “The extent of smart grid construction differs depending on the country, and countries have also taken different approaches depending on the political decisions made. German residential customers, for example, have long been able to feed their surplus production from rooftop solar cells into the network, while this is not yet feasible in Finland.” Pilot project underway In order for the complete power system to become more energy efficient, buildings also need to be smarter in the future. Various automation options in buildings can be linked to the smart grid. “It’s unrealistic to expect people to run around turning off lamps when they notice a peak in the spot market price for electricity. Instead, we need automated regulation to manage demand response. For example, electric heat accumulation and electric vehicle charging can be automatically performed at times when

“When the share of renewable energy increases, the electrical grid must also grow more intelligent. We need balancing mechanisms that can meet the challenges posed by decentralised power production,” says Dick Kronman.

electricity is available at a lower cost. We know that price fluctuations will increase as a consequence of volatile generation,” says Dick Kronman. The challenge that electric utilities now face is finding sensible ways to package this type of demand response into commercial services. ABB is currently carrying out various pilot projects with different electric utilities. They involve trials of what could be called the first step towards smart grids 2.0. For example, new residential areas where houses are equipped with roof solar panels and every imaginable apparatus to boost energy efficiency are under construction in southern Finland. c

abb finland Tel. +358 10 2211 Business sector:  Power and automation technology Turnover: €2.2 billion


Employees: 7,000 Export: 80% Major markets: Worldwide

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The prototype of Mervento’s wind power plant 3.6–118 was erected in February 2012 in Vaasa.

Ready for the next step Mervento’s prototype is ready after three years of product development. Mervento was Finland’s biggest start-up with a share capital of almost 20 million euros. Including other funding, the total investment was close to 30 million euros. Mervento’s business idea is to develop next-generation wind turbine solutions for nearshore (class II) and offshore (class I) use. Low cost of energy

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MERVENTO CELEBRATED a momentous day on 9 February 2012, as the prototype of its 3.6-118 turbine was erected outside Vaasa. It was the culmination of three years of intensive product development. The turbine will now be tested in harsh conditions on the Finnish west coast, where temperatures drop to some –30° Celsius in the winter. The next phase is small-scale production, the goal being to gradually increase production to 30 wind turbines in 2014. At the time of its establishment in late 2008

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“Mervento’s turbine pays back more quickly,” says CEO Patrik Holm.

Mervento’s products offer many benefits compared to existing wind turbines. Low operation and maintenance costs, long lifetime and high energy production make Mervento’s power plants more advantageous to customers than traditional, less expensive turbines. Moreover, investment costs must be examined in relation to the revenues originating from the amount of electricity the plant produces. “Our turbine pays back more quickly,” says Patrik Holm, Mervento’s CEO. Direct drive The main competitive advantage comes from the direct drive design. The turbine does not have a gearbox, which means fewer moving parts, less wear and tear, diminished need for lubrication, reduced

maintenance headaches and absolutely no need for costly gearbox exchanges. Mervento’s engineers have developed a tower that can be supplied with a hub height of 125 metres. This means higher average wind speeds and higher income over the turbine’s lifetime. Since the tower is made of steel, it is fully recyclable at the end of the turbine’s life. Concrete towers, instead, end up as landfill. The fundamental technology, including a large number of new innovations, has now been developed and the pilot turbine erected. Mervento is currently testing its business model and service concept, as well as verifying the turbine technology. The prototype is run by Mervento’s subsidiary, Wasa Wind. “Our subsidiary enables us to evaluate our performance from the customer’s viewpoint,” says CEO Patrik Holm. c

mervento oy Tel. +358 40 833 1091 Business sector: Wind power Major markets: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain


Many local power companies, such as ABB, Vacon, Citec and VEO as well as Lemminkäinen and Wasacon, have been involved in the construction of Westenergy. The power plant will burn household waste from 400,000 people.

Waste power

Westenergy will considerably reduce the region’s carbon dioxide emissions.

WHEN THE WESTENERGY Waste to Energy plant comes online in early 2013, carbon dioxide emissions in the Vaasa region will drop notably. The power plant will satisfy a third of the region’s district heating needs, in addition to producing electricity corresponding to the demand of 7,000 apartments. In the absence of Westenergy, this amount of energy would be produced using coal and oil. “Emissions will decrease by 100,000 to 200,000 carbon dioxide equivalents annually,” says Jan Teir, Managing Director. “This corresponds to the annual emissions from 30,000 to 60,000 passenger cars or nearly half a per cent of the CO2 emissions of all of Finland. In other words, we’re talking about a considerable reduction.” Publicly owned Owned by five municipal waste management companies, Westenergy handles household waste produced by 400,000 people. Finland has been slow off the starting blocks in waste combustion, which is why the new plant is among the first of its kind in the country. “What most clearly sets Westenergy apart from other similar planned plants is that we are not owned by power compa-

“Westenergy is a notable environmental achievement, since the power plant will considerably reduce the region’s carbon dioxide emissions,” says Jan Teir.

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nies but by municipal waste management businesses. It means we don’t have a profit requirement, which leads to lower waste expenses for consumers,” Teir points out. The sale and distribution of district heat and electricity will be handled by Vaasan Sähkö. Local suppliers The area in which Westenergy is being built is also home to the biggest cluster of

energy companies in the Nordic countries. Many of the companies are participating in the construction project. All of the electrical motors are supplied by ABB, the AC drives by Vacon and the transformer station by VEO, while Citec is in charge of civil engineering and some of the project supervision. The civil works have been carried out by Lemminkäinen and Wasacon. “I’d like to underline that the companies were not chosen because they are local but because they submitted the best offers. Most of them weren’t even chosen by us but by our main suppliers and our main consultant Ramboll,” says Teir. All in all, over 30 companies have been involved in the construction work, which will cost around 135 million euros. c

westenergy Tel. +358 10 229 1030 Business sector:  Power production from separated combustible waste


Electricity production: 75 GWh Heat production: 250 GWh Employees: 25

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Frontrunners in   The Switch wind turbine solutions are vying to become preferred technology.

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THE GLOBAL MARKET for wind power, but especially China, is shifting its focus from quantity to quality. This is good news for The Switch, which develops cutting-edge technology for the wind power sector. The Switch manufactures generators and converters used in wind turbines. The generator transforms mechanical energy into electricity, which the converter then adapts to and optimises for the network. PMG and FPC The Switch has always focused on permanent magnet generators (PMG) and full-power converters (FPC), as well as on combining them into a drive train package for wind turbines. The Switch has challenged the industry,

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“The Switch has both the ability and the credibility to act as a supplier of future wind power technology,” says CFO, Executive Vice President, Dag Sandås.

new energy The Switch develops drive train packages, which enable the customer to obtain more energy from wind power. The Switch Drive is the soul of every reliable turbine.

up or down and continuously adapt to demand,” says Dag Sandås. “The first five factors prove our ability, but the sixth factor is high credibility awarded to us by numerous references.” Model factory The company’s production scheme, one of the success factors, is based on the model factory concept. The Switch does not have its own continuously running production. Instead, the production lines, methods and processes are developed at the model factory in Vaasa and Lappeenranta. The factory concept can be quickly replicated close to every customer. This can be carried out in cooperation with the customer or with a local partner. The Sun Switch The Switch has a big product portfolio, which enables the company to utilise its technology in new environments. Solar power is one example of this. The company has applied its proven technology for large-scale wind power generation to its inverter solutions for the solar industry. Similar to wind power, solar power is ­going through a strong growth phase. The wind power market

first by gaining preferred-choice status for its PMG and FPC technology and then by making the technology commercially available. PMG’s big advantage is the high efficiency achieved even when winds are weak and turbines rotate more slowly. The Switch offers the widest range of standard and tailored generator and converter packages. Ability and credibility Dag Sandås, CFO, Executive Vice President, lists six strategic factors explaining why The Switch has grown so fast and continues to do so. These have been the guiding principles for The Switch from the very start of the company. “One, we believe our technology featur-

ing PMG and FPC will emerge as the winner to become preferred technology.” “Two, the turbine market is moving towards larger entities and multimegawatt turbines, especially in the offshore business. Our technology is well suited to that.” “Three, the wind power industry is going over to a modern business model, involving partnership. The big conglomerates do not make everything on their own, but opt for procurement. This is a welcome trend for independent players, such as The Switch.” “Four, we can offer a wide and large product portfolio thanks to our expertise in both generators and converters.” “Five, our flexible production scheme means we can quickly ramp production

“The markets are growing in India, Korea and Taiwan. South America is turning into a new wind power market and China will make a comeback,” says Dag Sandås. Competition is growing more and more global. Chinese companies are breaking through in the US, and international companies are competing in China. In this race, it is quality that will win over quantity.” “China pulled the handbrake in wind power construction to scrutinise quality. They now have new laws and regulations in place. The Switch products were the first to pass the new Chinese quality tests,” says Dag Sandås. c

the switch Tel. +358 20 783 8200 Business sector:  Innovative power electronics and drive trains for distributed power generation systems.


Turnover 2010: €134.6 million Employees 2010: 270 Main markets: China, Europe, USA

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Three of the companies that VNT Management funds have invested in are There Corporation (, Wello ( and Gasek (

With humble courage VNT Management’s third fund closes, first fund ready for exit. VNT MANAGEMENT, a venture capital company, is an important background player in the Vaasa region energy cluster. The company’s funds have turned numerous innovative business ideas into reality. VNT Management’s first two funds – Power Fund I and II – invested in companies such as The Switch, Mervento, eGen and There Corporation. The company has also launched a third fund, Power Fund III, which will be closed in the end of 2012 for investors. The funds have clear niches they invest in: renewable energy, cleantech and electrical systems. Power Fund I from 2003 raised 17 million euros and is now in the exit phase. This means that VNT will divest its holdings, typically to international industrial companies or capital investors. Power Fund II from 2007 raised 63 million euros, while fund number three aims at a sum closer to 100 million euros. Headquartered in Vaasa, VNT Management has six partners, posted in different cities in Finland and Germany. The company mainly operates in the Nordic countries and Central Europe. In search of a good team “We are looking for companies with a good business idea, a good team and good technology, as well as a ready prototype,” says Jarmo Saaranen, Chairman of the Board of VNT Management.

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Global frontrunner

VNT Management has six partners with different fields of specialisation. Chairman Jarmo Saaranen is the company’s wind power expert.

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“We always sit on the companies’ board, contributing with our networks and our business management approach. We can, however, be even more active and work in specific task forces to develop the business together with company management.” VNT Management receives around 200 business plans a year from companies seeking funding. In addition, the six partners are actively on the lookout for interesting investments. “Setting up a company is another option,” says Saaranen, naming the successful The Switch as an example.

“Veijo Karppinen, the founder of VNT Management, was a pioneer. When he set up Power Fund I in 2003, only five funds worldwide invested in renewable energy and cleantech. Such funds now number around 1,500,” says Saaranen. While working on Power Funds I, II and III, the six partners make sure they also look ahead to analyse the sector’s future. “Wind power is becoming a mature industry but it will advance to a new phase if kite windmills, based on a kite moving up and down in the air stream, become reality. We believe that wave power, starting soon as a business, will follow the same growth curve as wind did during its late 1990s boom. Biomass will become another big trend in power generation,” says Saaranen. c

vnt management oy Tel. +358 40 837 1559 Jarmo Saaranen Tel. +358 40 837 1560 Jussi Palmroth


Business sector: Venture capital in renewable energy and cleantech Capital under management: €120 million Employees: 6 partners Major markets:  Finland, Northern and Central Europe

Arc flash protection world leader Vamp expands its sales network and develops new products.

AN ARC FLASH can cause huge losses and damage, such as ruined equipment, stalled production, fires, blackouts and – in the worst case – bodily injuries or even death. This is where Vamp steps in with its arc flash protection units and protection relays with integrated arc flash detection. Arc flash protection units are installed in switchgears, which run the risk of arc flashes caused by loose joints, animals or human error. An arc flash is a powerful electrical discharge through the air, which results in the air being ionised so it conducts electricity. The current heats the air up to thousands of degrees Celsius, there is a bright flash and a sharp bang. Lightning is an example of this perfectly natural phenomenon.

Vamp keeps electricity running.

New products “We are a small company that offers short throughput times and can quickly produce new products,” explains Kullberg. gunnar bäckman

Two-thirds of Vamp’s turnover comes from protection relays and a third from arc flash protection systems. However, it is the integration of the two that is Vamp’s strength. “We’re the only protection relay supplier that offers full integration of arc flash protection of all relay products,” says Kullberg. Today, Vamp is fully owned by Schneider Electric from France. “While we maintain and develop our old sales network, we also have access to Schneider’s global sales organisation, comprising 1,000 sales representatives in the Chinese market alone.” c

vamp ltd

Growing market Until recently, many countries had not adopted arc flash protection, but it is quickly becoming a standard option as demands grow stiffer. Finland has been a pioneer in this field, which partly explains Vamp’s leading position worldwide. “The global market is growing at high two-figure growth rates yearly,” says Jerker Kullberg, Managing Director of Vamp.

This is good news for Vamp, which annually introduces new products meeting all the international demands. Vamp’s end customers include both industrial companies and power distribution companies.

Tel. +358 20 753 3200

“Vamp allocates 15 per cent of its turnover to R&D,” says Managing Director Jerker Kullberg.

Business sector:  Medium-voltage protection relays and arc flash protection.


Turnover 2011: €16 million Employees 2011: 40 Major markets: Worldwide Export: 90%, of which 80% direct

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mikko lehtimäki

VEO’s excitation experts have excited nearly 190 synchronous machines over the years. Pictured here is Tampella’s power plant in Tampere, Finland.

Excitation expert VEO upgraded its excitation competence to top level. “Our main advantages in excitation are short deliveries and a user-friendly, open system,” explains Hannu Erkkilä.

“Synchronous generators and motors must be re-excited two to three times over their lifetime. Future prospects look bright, seeing as there are around one thousand synchronous motors in Finland alone,” says Hannu Erkkilä, Sales Manager. Fastest in the market

mikko lehtimäki

VEO’S CORE COMPETENCE consists of electrification and automation solutions for the power generation sector, as well as solutions for power distribution and use. In 2010, the company upgraded its excitation competence to an all new level and instantly saw good results: VEO now commands 50 per cent of the re-excitation market in Finland. It will next go for growth especially in the Swedish and Russian markets.

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Erkkilä is one of the experienced excitation engineers, who joined VEO in 2010. In all, the team of engineers has excited nearly 190 synchronous machines. “Belonging to a large company offers stability and security,” says Erkkilä, explaining the team’s decision to move to VEO. Jointly with Voith-Siemens, VEO’s excitation group has developed its own excitation technology, which is tailored to customer needs and enables the company to achieve the fastest delivery times in the market. “Our technology is open and user-­ friendly, meaning that customers can easily service the device. This is a clear competitive advantage, since competitors’ devices are protected.” Excitation is typically performed for industrial purposes, but a brand new field of use is now emerging. Generators and VEO’s excitation devices can be used to replace expensive permanent magnets in wind power plants.

Organic growth In addition to excitation, VEO’s offering includes a long list of various solutions related to electricity use, electrification and power plants. The company also focuses on the manufacture and maintenance of customised switchgear products, mainly for customers in the energy and process industry. VEO is increasingly focusing on exports. Norway has traditionally been important to the company. Since 2008, VEO has had an office in Sweden and since 2009 in Russia. In addition, a large share of VEO’s products and projects find their way around the world through its cooperation partners. c

veo Tel. +358 207 1901 Business sector: Automation and electrification systems Turnover 2010: €70 million Employees: 410 Export: 75% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates:  ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004


Scancool wants to help prevent the world’s icebergs from melting. It supplies cool and heat solutions that reduce companies’ carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 80 per cent annually.

Hot and cold

Scancool solutions save the environment and expenses. SCANCOOL HAS ALWAYS been known as a cold pro, providing refrigeration solutions to the food and process sectors. These days it also supplies industrial heat pumps, and the company’s production line will begin to generate even more heat in the future, now that Scancool is a subsidiary of Oilon, manufacturer of burners and heat pumps. “Both cold and hot are now available under the same roof. We offer a joint field of competence and concept that no one else in the world can offer,” says Jonny Asplund, Managing Director of Scancool.

cooling products on a large scale – and increasingly for the international market. “We had a burning need for one another’s competence, and now both of us benefit from new, interesting contact interfaces. Alongside Oilon, Scancool will also gain stronger entry into the Chinese and Russian markets,” says Asplund. c

oy scancool ab Tel. +358 207 281 868

Eco-friendly cool and heat Finland’s leading supplier of industrial refrigeration facilities, Scancool divides its operations into cool and heat solutions. The company offers turnkey services in both fields, ranging from design and production to installation and maintenance. “Our customer groups include the food industry, process industry and energy producers,” says Asplund. The company has developed its own industrial heat pump to serve the steeply growing market. Combining hot and cold generates considerable savings in expenses and is good for the environment. “Our refrigeration facilities also provide heat. The industrial heat pump enables the best possible utilisation of condens-

mats sandström

ing heat. This helps companies reduce their energy expenses and carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 80 per cent,” says Asplund. Win-win acquisition Oilon’s acquisition of Scancool ingeniously complements the product portfolio. In the future, industrial refrigeration operations will also be boosted in fields other than the traditional food industry. Power companies have been interested in combining burner and heat pump technologies, and now a well-functioning solution is available for this, too. Through their joint business, Scancool and Oilon can offer heating and

“We are delivering this 0.5 MW industrial heat pump to Vaasan Vesi. The heat generated from waste water cooling is used for process and space heating at the waste water treatment plant,” explains Jonny Asplund.

Business sector:  Industrial refrigeration, industrial heat pumps


Turnover 2011: €14 million Employees: 65 Export: 15% Major markets: Europe

oilon oy Business sector:  Domestic heating, industrial refrigeration, heat pumps and burners for liquid and gaseous fuels, power plant and process burners Turnover 2011: €70 million Employees: 350 Export: 60% Major markets: EMEA (Europe, MiddeEast, Asia), Marine, South America

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Wapice provides the customer with a wide range of one-stop services. The services are divided into three areas: embedded systems, industrial systems and business solutions.

Reliable software partner Wapice solves the software issues of industry. WAPICE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST industrially focused software companies in Finland. It develops systems and software for industrial companies looking to automate the entire process from the sale of complex products to their final delivery. Headquartered in Vaasa, Wapice has expanded rapidly thanks to the region’s energy cluster. Its customers are primarily found in the energy and engineering sectors.

“Programming is a central part of product development in the industry. A coder supports ten other employees,” says Pasi Tuominen, Wapice’s Managing Director.

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“A typical customer exports over 90 per cent of its production,” says Pasi Tuominen, Managing Director. Growing fast Wapice has grown at an annual rate of 30 per cent and has added around 40 people to its payroll annually over the past few years. Most of the new employees have a background in engineering and an average age of 31.5 years. “We have started on a smaller scale and later been given more and more responsibility by customers. It’s been one of our success factors,” says Tuominen. He believes in Wapice’s continuing potential for strong growth. Software solutions and integrated information systems are core elements in modern industrial production. Large industrial companies used to have their own software units. These days, they are looking for partners. Pasi Tuominen draws an analogy with the development seen in the automobile industry: “People are familiar with BMW and Audi, but few know that Bosch, a subcontractor, is one of the biggest companies in the field.” Summium and WRM Wapice is a full-service company in the software industry. While many of its

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products are tailored to customers, the company also develops its own products with individual brand names. The most important of these is Summium, a sales configurator, which is designed to support the sales processes of mass-customising companies. Summium compiles the price, commercial and technical documentation for the configured product in real time, as well as the product structure required in production. Wapice Remote Management (WRM) is a complete remote control and management system. WRM integrates the customer’s machines and devices with the information systems. c

wapice ltd Tel. +358 6 319 4000 Business sector:  Embedded systems, industrial systems, business solutions Turnover 2010: €10 million Employees 2011: 180 Major markets: Domestic


stx europe

Componenta Pistons is one of Europe’s three large piston manufacturers. Its products are used in rough conditions like offshore vessels.

Technological boost for engines Componenta Pistons’ goal is to be cost-effective and innovative. THE PISTON is a strategic part of an engine. It must withstand high temperatures and continuous mechanical loads. The service interval must also be as long as possible. Componenta Pistons’ products face tough requirements, but the company is convinced it can meet these challenges. “Our pistons offer high quality and costeffectiveness. Our innovativeness helps our customers enhance the technological benefits of engines,” explains Sakari Pisilä, business unit director at Components Pistons.

Componenta Pistons annually manufactures some 7,000 pistons, one-third of which go directly to export. As Johansson explains, the company emphasises research in its product development. “We were involved in the construction of a test engine platform in the Hercules project run by Wärtsilä and MAN D ­ iesel. Our piston was used in a part of the Extreme Value Engine, which set a world record combustion pressure of 300 bar, at the Aalto University,” says Johansson, with an air of pride. c

Tailored to customer requirements Componenta Pistons provides piston solutions to manufacturers of medium-speed diesel engines. Large-bore pistons come in four bore sizes, measuring 200 to 340 mm in diameter. The range also includes different versions of the bore sizes. “We always communicate closely with the customer’s product development, which enables us to design the pistons to meet the exact requirements,” says Pisilä. The endurance and long life of pistons are of crucial importance. Componenta Pistons uses composite piston design with nodular cast-iron skirts and special nitriding steel crowns. Its pistons are assembled in both ship and power plant engines.

componenta finland ltd pistons mats sandström

Contributing to a world record Componenta Pistons has improved its production processes according to Lean principles and increased its own product development resources in recent years. As a result, customers get pistons that are of higher quality and more cost-effective than ever before. “We streamlined the production process and internal logistics in order to reduce lead time and increase productivity and quality,” explains Michael Johansson, Production Manager.

“Our competitive advantages include high product quality, reliable deliveries, innovation and flexible production. One of our strengths is that our own Group supplies the raw materials for our products,” say Sakari Pisilä, Tommy Rönnskog and Michael Johansson.

Tel. +358 10 403 00 Business sector:  Development and manufacture of large-bore pistons for diesel engine manufacturers


Turnover 2011: €6.7 million Employees: 35 Major markets: Worldwide Export: 33% Quality assurance systems: ISO 9001:2008 Parent Company: Componenta Corporation Turnover 2010: €451.6 million Employees 2010: 4,414

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BOLTMANN is KGN Tools’ first own brand. The company also manufactures tailored tools for individual customers.

Maintaining the future KGN focuses on BOLTMANN, its first own product family. “Our high-quality Okuma machine park, skilled and loyal staff, as well as reliable deliveries give KGN a competitive advantage,” says CEO Katariina Pukkila-Palmunen.

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KGN TOOL IN KAITSOR, outside Vaasa, manufactures various high-quality service and maintenance tools, toolsets, special machined components and spare parts. It also carries out part assemblies for several industrial purposes. KGN’s main business areas are big diesel engines, wind turbines, the power industry and special industry. KGN has traditionally tailored its products for each customer, but is now focusing more and more on BOLTMANN, its first own, recently developed product family. Launched in 2011, BOLTMANN comprises

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hydraulic tightening tools in different sizes, as well as test benches. “We are making big inputs into internationalisation and are active abroad,” says CEO Katariina Pukkila-Palmunen. Accurate deliveries BOLTMANN tools are an important part of KGN’s internationalisation strategy. The company’s vision is to be one of the three leading manufacturers of maintenance tools worldwide. KGN is already one of the few companies in the world with the technological capacity and competence to offer a full range of maintenance tools, thanks to its 40-year history in their manufacture and development. “We are known for our high quality, accurate deliveries and exceptional Okuma machine park. In 2010 our delivery accuracy was as high as 99.8 per cent for all customers,” says Pukkila-Palmunen. Prompt performance When talking about vessel engines, power plants, wind turbines and offshore solutions, rapid deliveries are a crucial way to save money for customers. “If it costs 40,000 dollars a day to keep a vessel waiting in port, it really makes no difference if your maintenance tool is 1,000

euros more expensive than another one,” says Pukkila-Palmunen. “What counts is your reliability and delivery accuracy, as well as the high quality of delivered tools, components and spare parts – the customer cannot afford anything less.” “We have an outstanding Japanese machine park. We only use the world’s best CNC machines – those of Okuma – which ensure the most accurate performance. ” “Many of our employees live close to the plant and have worked here long. Our employee turnover is low, the staff is well acquainted with the machines and our flexibility ensures fast deliveries.” KGN is a 40-year-old company, which expanded its ownership base in 2009. The company is now part of the Österberg Group. c

kgn tool oy ab Tel. +358 6 383 5680 Business sector:  Maintenance-tool and special component production Turnover 2010: €6 million Employees 2010: 25 Major markets: Domestic, Europe


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The Österberg Group has broad competence in the plastic and metal industries.

Two strong legs

Österberg Group grows as a subcontractor and is a world leader in its own niche. Based in Vaasa, Österberg Group has achieved robust growth through acquisitions in the 21st century. The 60-year-old family business is an important subcontractor for global industrial companies. Acquisitions have enabled the Group to manufacture larger systems and entities. Österberg consists of four fully owned subsidiaries in Finland and two in Estonia. It is also a joint owner of KGN Tools, introduced on the previous page. Vaasa is home to Wel-Mach, a versatile industrial subcontractor involved in machining, welding and assembly. Its operations are supplemented by Manor in Kuortane, including Manor´s auxiliary trademark Beam Net in Kurikka. Manor ­offers welding and surface treatment, while Beam Net specialises in steel construction for industry. The Group also includes Hepmet in Estonia. System manufacturer “Our strength comes from a wide product range and our ability to assume responsibility for bigger and bigger entities,” says Jens Österberg, Managing Director of Well-Mach and Petsmo Products. Large global companies want their subcontractors to provide complete entities and work as system suppliers rather than manufacturers of single components.

“We can assume responsibility for increasingly large entities as an industrial subcontractor,” explains Jens Österberg.

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“The ultimate goal of our acquisitions is to satisfy these requirements,” explains Jens Österberg. Long a reliable subcontractor of major companies in the Vaasa region’s energy cluster, the Österberg Group is now ready to serve new customers among global, large-scale companies. The group of companies also includes Österberg Plast, a manufacturer of injection-moulded plastic components for industry. World leader Petsmo Products is different from the Group’s other companies. It develops

and manufactures products for the fur and slaughterhouse industries, as well as for agriculture. The company also offers advanced after-sales services. “We are, in fact, world leaders in the fur sector,” says Jens Österberg. The Group is a fully-fledged family business. Founded by Knut Österberg in 1948, it is now owned by his three children, all of whom work in the company. c

österberg group Tel. +358 20 790 8600 > Group of companies Turnover 2010: €30 million Employees 2010: 174


Business sector:  Metal industry, plastic industry Major markets:  Domestic, Europe, North America Österberg Plast Wel-Mach Manor Petsmo Products

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Complete customer focus Mapromec cooperates increasingly with customers.

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MAPROMEC WORKS in such close cooperation with its customers that they almost seem to form a unit of their own in the company. This is Mapromec’s strength and has also brought in more work, even at a time when massive challenges face all of the industry’s subcontractors. “We must meet customer demands and satisfy them 100 per cent,” says Caj-Erik Karp, owner and Managing Director of Mapromec. “Increasing demands mean increasing cooperation. We engage in both product development and forecasting with our customers,” explains Karp. Leading in piston pins Mapromec is best known as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of piston pins for diesel engines. Mapromec accounts for over half of the global production of large piston pins, weighing 10 kilograms and up. The company also makes other components, mainly shafts, for diesel engines, as well as for electrical motors. The common denominator of Mapromec’s products is that they are difficult to manufacture. They must be heat-treated and sanded and their tolerance is very low. Investments in robots Caj-Erik Karp has long been a strong proponent of robots, in which Mapromec has made big investments. “They ensure higher quality, improve our competitiveness and alleviate workforce shortage,” he says. The robot investments, among other things, boost Mapromec’s confidence in the future. “Large industrial enterprises continue to reduce their own manufacture. They are increasingly turning to outsourcing, which brings in more work for subcontractors,” says Karp. “This also means it is no longer enough to just supply a part. We must be able to assemble whole entities.” Reliable deliveries and quality are something that customers appreciate. “Medium-sized subcontractors offer better service than bigger ones, since we truly consider customers to be our cooperation partners,” explains Caj-Erik Karp. c

mapromec Tel. +358 10 229 0150 Business sector:  Metal industry; parts for diesel engines and electrical motors.


Turnover 2010: €22 million Employees 2010: 76 Major markets: Europe

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“Customers are cooperation partners to us. We almost think of them as one of Mapromec’s units,” says Managing Director Caj-Erik Karp.

Leinolat has solid knowledge of metal products, metal services and ventilation solutions.

Highest level of quality The 50-year-old Leinolat Group is a family enterprise with traditions. THREE OF the Leinolat Group companies were recently approved as nuclear power plant suppliers. To achieve this, they went through an iron-hard quality control process, which only the best stand a chance to pass. This shows the level of quality the Vaasa-based family company offers. Leinolat Group comprises six companies, all of which operate in the metal sector. Jointly, they offer wide-ranging competence. Extensive knowledge of metals The Group’s parent company, Leinolat, is a family enterprise founded in 1962. Leimec specialises in sheet metal production and air-conditioning know-how, while Adiabatix offers industrial insulating solutions for demanding environments, such as ship engines, nuclear power plants and oil rigs. Uwira’s range includes welded products, pressure vessels and prefabricated piping for companies in the energy and shipbuilding industries. LVI-Leinolat develops HVAC ventilation and air-conditioning solutions for residences and industry. Kilkanen, in turn, supplies demanding and versatile CNC-controlled machining to the medium-heavy industry.

Although the companies work as independent units, they engage in a great deal of cooperation, which ensures that Leinolat Group can optimise its resources from product development to finished products. The company group also delivers large tailored systems and entities, which are seeing increasing demand among customers. Leinolat Group is an integral part of the Vaasa region energy cluster, but it also serves customers around the world.

“Leinolat has made big inputs into raising productivity. We have invested in control systems and quality assurance,” says Managing Director Raimo Leinola.

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Bound by traditions Leinolat Group remains true to its family company values even though it has experienced steep growth in the 21st century. “The original entrepreneurs of the companies we’ve acquired have stayed on as managers,” says Raimo Leinola, Managing Director. “We take responsibility for our products and guarantee that they continue to function after the warranty period.” c

leinolat group Tel. +358 10 289 6800 Business sector:  Pressure vessels, prefabricated 020593 and bended pipes, advanced insulation solutions, high-quality sheet metal products and mechanics, ventilation & air conditioning solutions and CNC-controlled machining. Turnover 2010: €20 million Employees 2010: 170 Export: 60% Major markets: Europe, USA Certificates:  ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004, EN ISO 3834-2:2005, OHSAS 18001

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Launched in 2011, Hetairos combines a classic silhouette with top-of-the-line performance in its impressive 66 metres.

World-leading lightweighters Baltic Yachts represents solid Ostrobothnian craftsmanship. BALTIC YACHTS combines the foremost qualities of sailboats with aesthetics and comfort. This results in the world’s leading racing yachts, offering the best possible performance along with luxurious interiors. “We can collect the world’s top experts under one roof,” says Kenneth Nyfelt, Marketing Director of Baltic Yachts in Jakobstad. “We customise every order. Our customers have exclusive and selective tastes, which means we cooperate with leading designers worldwide to accommodate their wishes. We can build anything from a pure racer to a high-performance, fully furnished cruiser, and everything in between.” Moving, enhancing or outsourcing production are not on the company’s agenda. “For us, craftsmanship is the alpha and omega. Every detail is made by hand, with the utmost accuracy. Boatbuilding is an age-old tradition in this region. We combine tradition with cutting-edge competence and technology,” says Elisabet Holm, Marketing and PR Coordinator. Lifelong service contracts The luxury yachts setting sail from the port in Jakobstad are lightweighters of a unique kind.

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“We are equally comfortable with both ways of working. We construct jointly with, not for, the customer,” says Nyfelt. Wind in their sails

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“For us, craftsman­ ship is the alpha and omega. Every detail is the work of a human hand,” say Kenneth Nyfelt and Elisabet Holm from Baltic Yachts in Jakobstad.

“Our latest flagship, Hetairos, features materials used in space shuttles,” explains Nyfelt. Yacht building is a long process. At Baltic Yachts it takes place in close cooperation with the customer. “It is important for us to build close relationships with customers. We accompany them all the way, from the first design stages to lifelong service contracts.” Customers have widely varying expectations. Sometimes boatbuilding is a joint project, with the company and customer bouncing ideas off one another. Other customers know exactly what they want and wish to be involved in every minute technical detail.

Customer relationships do not end with the launch. “Both the yachts and customers are always welcome back. The ideal option is to have the same team that built the boat also service it. At a time when many others are looking for more breadth and efficiency in their production, we are going for further specialisation and an increasing focus on craftsmanship. We represent razor-sharp competence in our own niche,” Holm and Nyfelt point out. c

baltic yachts Tel. +358 6 781 9200 Business sector:  Custom-made superyachts Turnover: €38 million Employees: 155 Export: 100% Major markets: Europe


A Swan combines performance and comfort with maritime safety. That secures the company a good reputation worldwide.

Modern classics

Nautor’s Swan builds sailing yachts ranging from 42 to 130 feet. FOR NEARLY HALF a century, Nautor has supplied seas around the world with beautiful sailing yachts, sporting the characteristic logo and a good reputation. We’re naturally talking about Swan yachts. “We’ve got three lodestars in our sky,” says Ulf Finnäs, technical director at Nautor’s Swan. “They represent Performance, Style and Comfort.” Swan boats are known for their good and reliable properties in terms of racing, but the yachts are also used equally for cruising. “People want to enjoy time out at sea. Many combine regattas with more tranquil sailing,” Finnäs explains.

According to Ulf Finnäs, the boatbuilding traditions dating back hundreds of years in the Jakobstad region help the company build world-class yachts.

Altered market It has never been easy to sell luxury items, and the latest recession did not make it any easier. “Although the situation in the sector has stabilised, there’s still caution in the air. I’m not sure I dare hope we’ll someday return to where we were. What we must do instead is find new strategies for surviving in an altered market,” says Finnäs. “Boatbuilding’s in our genes. A centuriesold tradition of handicraft and know-how will weather storms, both at sea and on land.” c

Sailing with the comfort of a luxury hotel Nautor has customers all around the world, but a shift from the US to the European ­markets has taken place in recent years. “The average age of our customers has been quite high, but we recently introduced a smaller model that attracts a younger target group in particular. It could be called a sport yacht, since it represents cuttingedge technology and design.” As for comfort, a great deal of development has taken place in the past twenty years.

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“Sailing yachts used to be surrounded by something of a camping atmosphere, and it wasn’t always easy to get wives on board,” says Finnäs, chuckling. “Today, many yachts offer the comfort of small luxury hotels. They provide everything you need – and a bit more – plus the finishing of the details leaves hardly anything to be desired.”

nautor’s swan Business sector:  Semi-custom yachts Turnover: €35 million Employees: 280


Major markets: Europe, USA

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Rolls-Royce Kokkola boasts the highest pump technology competence in the field, truly knowing how to maximise the horsepower available. The company’s mission is to produce the best waterjets in the market.

Delivering excellence Rolls-Royce waterjets are light in weight but heavy in capacity. ROLLS-ROYCE KOKKOLA’S MISSION is to create safe, reliable and efficient propulsion systems for high-speed vessels. Tomas Renlund, Vice President of Rolls-Royce Kokkola, is well aware of the customers’ great expectations, as the company is trusted to deliver excellence. The Rolls-Royce Kokkola plant makes waterjet propulsors for markets all over the world. The company has a great and committed team ensuring that customer expectations are met. “Our waterjets are among the lightest in the market, have superior efficiency and feature an ingenious control system,” says Renlund. Pure Rolls-Royce, that is. Waterjet efficiency and easy-to-use control system Waterjets are especially well suited to high-speed vessels and according to Renlund, waterjets offer several benefits. “Their manoeuvrability is in a class of its own, since the waterjet can steer the vessel in any direction, even sideways. Waterjets ensure safe manoeuvring even in shallow waters.” The new Rolls-Royce control system is pioneering. Instead of a steering wheel it features a joystick system used to control the vessel. The new compact system offers

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“The new joystick control system gives manoeuvrability brand new dimensions. Control units can easily be linked to the operator’s chair and bridge console,” says Thomas Renlund.

many functions and also accommodates various applications. “A compact canbus-based control system features a stay-on-spot function, and can be used to carry out maintenance planning and data logging,” explains Renlund. Efficiency gives competitive advantage Good manoeuvrability and high efficiency have made Rolls-Royce waterjets popular among the authorities and commercial operators worldwide. Waterjets are also

frequently installed in passenger ships, patrol boats, naval vessels, workboats and luxury yachts. “Good efficiency and a superb control system are appreciated in special vessels used for servicing and maintaining wind farms. The vessels must remain totally stationary next to the power plant, and our products are ideal for that,” says Renlund. Environmental friendliness is an important element in design. The A-series waterjets, for example, offer lower fuel consumption through higher efficiency. Renlund uses the concept “positive design spiral” to characterise product development: persistent work has increased the top speeds of waterjets by a few knots and made it possible to select a smaller sized jet. That, in turn, means further weight reduction and lower fuel consumption. c

rolls-royce oy ab, kokkola unit Tel. +358 6 832 4500 Business sector: Waterjets Overall turnover 2010:  €573 million Employees: 75 Major markets: Global


Kewatec AluBoat’s exports increase by a few per cent a year. Safe pilot boats have been designed to cope with poor weather conditions and strong winds.

Aluminium rocks on waves Kewatec AluBoat serves authorities in demanding tasks.

ONE OF THE LEADING Nordic aluminium boat manufacturers is located in Kokkola. Kewatec AluBoat makes boats from seven to twenty-four metres in length, which are primarily designed for professional use. P ­ ilot boats, oil-spill response vessels, working boats and taxi boats must satisfy tough demands. According to Karl-Erik Wargh, Kewatec AluBoat’s Managing Director, one solution to the challenges presented is aluminium, the best possible material for boat construction. “Aluminium is a light and durable metal. It is maintenance-free and, if correctly installed and handled, corrosion-resistant. The reputation of aluminium improves year after year,” he says. Safety and oil-spill response Kewatec AluBoat has developed oil-spill response features for its fairway maintenance vessels. When ice-strengthened, the new, improved and updated fleet can be used in channels with up to 10 cm of ice. “The oil-spill response features are built into the vessel. First the oil is collected and bagged, and once the water and oil have been separated, the bags are picked up into another boat,” says Wargh, introducing the handy and quick oil-spill recovery process. Kewatec AluBoat has made big inputs

into the safety of its own boats. A great deal of attention has been given to SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations: in addition to updating the oil-spill response equipment, damage stability and fire safety have been improved. Cost-effective boat Wargh says a general trend at the moment is to invest in the life-cycle expenses of boats. Energy-efficiency is in heavy demand. “We focus more and more on the initial concept to be able to supply customers with vessels ideally suited to their intended use. It calls for expertise to specify the right solutions ensuring a lighter, yet efficient boat. The purchase decision is influenced by the overall expenses for the next 15 years,” says Wargh. In addition to public-sector products, the company builds the Easy line for the private sector. The line’s boats feature a patented, opening bow door, which facilitates landing and loading. “However, our future inputs will focus increasingly on oil-spill response, pilot and taxi boats. We will satisfy customer needs especially in the public sector. The goal of our boats is to generate income to customers.” c

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“Ice-strengthened vessels have thicker plates and their buttresses are more densely spaced,” explains Karl-Erik Wargh, Managing Director of Kewatec AluBoat.

kewatec aluboat oy ab Business sector: Custom-built aluminium vessels 7–24 metres Turnover 2011: €5.6 million Employees: 31+10


Export: 40% Major markets: Finland, Scandinavia

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One of KWH’s main brands is Weholite, a high-quality structured-wall pipe. The Weholite pipe is manufactured by spiral welding PE- or PP-profiles.

The knowledge company Development-oriented KWH Group is a market leader in many niches. “We want to spearhead technological development,” says Peter Höglund, President of KWH Group, one of Finland’s biggest family-owned corporations. gunnar bäckman

IT IS ALL ABOUT SPEARHEADING technological development, and that is something you achieve only by making big inputs into product development. This is one way to summarise the strategy of KWH Group, which boasts top-notch competence and a globally strong market position in several niches. “We develop new technology, and can do so thanks to the networks we’ve built to provide us with specialists in all areas,” explains Peter Höglund, Group President. KWH Mirka, presented on the following page, is the most development-intensive part of the company. Functional pipes The largest business group in terms of turnover is KWH Pipe, a manufacturer of plastic pipe systems. “We focus on niche markets for functional piping solutions (FPS),” says Höglund.

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The mining industry is a typical  customer. KWH’s plastic pipes are more durable than steel pipes and save customers money. Their costs are minimal compared to the losses incurred from production standstill during pipe replacements. KWH Group is also involved in the plastics industry through two other companies. KWH Plast creates special packaging for the food industry, while Prevex makes products for the plumbing sector. KWH Plast is primarily a development company, but it also works for other manufacturers. Its goal is to replace energyintensive materials, such as glass and cans, with plastics that require less energy. Prevex is a typical example of KWH’s niche philosophy. The company is a European market leader in traps for sinks. KWH Logistics, in turn, operates in ten ports on the Finnish west coast through the Backman-Trummer Group. Even the logistics sector has room for a strong, narrow niche. KWH Freeze is Finland’s dominant cold storage provider, with around half of all frozen foods in Finland passing through its facilities. Long-term perspective The KWH Group is one of Finland’s biggest family-owned corporations. The company has been involved in many industrial sec-

tors and has always succeeded in adapting to the demands of the times. A conversation with Peter Höglund is about change, renewal and rapid development, but also about endurance and the family company’s long-term perspective. “Whenever you set up something new, you wait 20 to 25 years before it earns you income. It’s our long-term perspective that enables us to develop new things.” c

kwh group ltd Tel. +358 20 778 7111 Turnover 2010 (Group):  €484.5 million Employees 2010 (Group): 2,627 KWH Pipe Ltd Backman-Trummer KWH Freeze Ltd KWH Plast Ltd Oy Prevex Ab


Mirka’s sanding systems are world leaders in dust-free sanding. Mirka® DEROS is a next-generation sanding tool.

A perfect finish

Mirka makes a major investment in training. MIRKA, THE WORLD LEADER in innovative dust-free sanding and abrasive technology, is a key player in the KWH Group. (See the previous page.) Mirka develops abrasive systems for the automotive refinish, vehicle manufacturing, wood processing and marine industries, among others. It offers complete sanding systems, consisting of abrasives, polishing compounds and tools, backed by a team of customer support specialists. Mirka is now making big inputs into increasingly better customer training. The fundamental principle is: ‘train the trainers’. The new training centre in Jeppo makes it possible for even more end-users to be schooled in the same place where product development and manufacture take place. “Mirka was the world’s first company to introduce dust-free sanding. Now everyone is talking about it,” says CEO Ralf Karlström. Mirka has managed to maintain its technological lead thanks to Abranet®, the revolutionary net to which the abrasive material is fixed. “No one else has a net like this,” says Karlström. Mirka also produces electric sanding appliances. “There aren’t many European companies

“We are building a new training centre on our factory premises so we can provide customers with even better training,” says Ralf Karlström.

a 240 V current, which does away with the need for a transformer. Investment in the environment Aiming at green operations, the company will make a 10-million-euro investment to reduce its carbon footprint in cooperation with Ekokem Oy Ab. The company will build a power plant and replace the oil boiler with a boiler that primarily runs on bio chips and waste, but can also burn paper waste from the company’s own production. Despite a global focus, Mirka is strongly anchored to its home district through the family-owned KWH Group, as well as its employees and suppliers. “We try to get as much as possible of our raw material and subcontracting along the Kokkola–Vaasa axis on the west coast,” says Ralf Karlström. c

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that export electric tools to China,” says Karlström, chuckling. DEROS after CEROS The real success is called Mirka® CEROS, a tool that weighs less than one kilogram and can be used with one hand. Next to be launched is Mirka® DEROS, a new-generation sanding tool running on

kwh mirka ltd Tel. +358 20 760 2111 Business sector: Sanding systems, coated abrasives Turnover 2010: €145 million


Employees 2010: 796 Major markets: USA, Europe, Far East

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NCE, a pipe manufacturer from Jakobstad, delivered a large metallurgical project to the Dominican Republic in 2011 and 2012.

Composite expert NCE delivers more appropriate and durable composite solutions. NCE SPECIALISES IN COMPOSITES and strives to satisfy the needs of the metallurgical and recycling industries in the Nordic countries and Europe. Other target groups include the chemical, paper and mining industries. In practice, the company makes chimneys, tanks, scrubbers and pipes, all of which are constructed to cope with great challenges in terms of corrosion and high pressure, while also taking environmental issues into consideration. “What we live off is developing and optimising solutions to better match our customers’ objectives. To put it simply, we know composites in and out, are good at strength analyses and can thereby offer more appropriate solutions to our customers,” says Dan Björkskog, the company’s CEO. “While we aren’t the cheapest option, we can guarantee superior quality and durable products.” On the threshold of an exciting spin-off The company is about to launch a brand new type of solution. In line with its emphasis on industrial sustainability and environmental preservation, NCE is now expanding to the development and manufacturing of rotor blades for wind power plants. “We are currently developing prototypes and will get going with serial produc-

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“We are a safe player to turn to,” says Dan Björkskog, CEO of NCE. “We handle the construction of reactors, so customers can concentrate on their own business.”

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tion in 2013. The rotor blade business will be run by a spin-off company in the future,” says Björkskog. Today, all production takes place at the facilities located way out in the port of Jakobstad. “We are superbly located in view of transportation and volumes,” explains Björkskog. “We have a wide reach. In addition to Finland, we also deliver products to Zambia, the Dominican Republic and the rest of Scandinavia. Initiator of new education Although the region boasts high competence in composite materials, there is

always room for improvement. NCE therefore took the initiative to offer a new kind of customised education in cooperation with Optima, a local vocational institute. The education is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2012. “We are, of course, looking after our own interests and hope to find new and competent people, but the education will naturally serve many other industries in the region as well,” says Björkskog. Dan Björkskog does not worry about an unstable global economy. “I feel confident. The future demand in our core customer segments will not decrease, quite the opposite, in fact. We look ahead with an optimistic five-year plan that has stable growth as its theme.” c

nce oy Tel. +358 6 781 8200 Business sector:  Composite solutions Turnover: €8 million Employees: 60 Export: 70% Major markets:  The Nordic countries and Europe


The automated vehicle for rock drill steel handling exemplifies Solving’s approach. The vehicle is fully automated and tailored to its purpose of use.

Creating movement Solving moves heavy loads on both air bearings and wheels. Tailors are what Peter Björk, Solving’s CEO, likes to call his staff. “Customer needs are the focus of operations: our whole concept is based on satisfying our customers’ requirements in the best possible way. This is why we offer tailored solutions, developed in close cooperation with the customer.” Solving is one of the few players in the world working with indoor heavy load handling, the word “heavy” referring to weights from ten to hundreds of tonnes. The unit in Jakobstad manufactures high-tech products. “We’re talking about entities in which both software and hardware are equally important. This means our employees must possess the highest possible level of competence.” Production currently focuses to a large extent on fully automated vehicles that navigate on their own, using, for example, laser, wire or tape guidance. From air to wheels Solving’s equipment for heavy load handling has traditionally been based on air film technology. Today, more and more of its products move on wheels. “Development is continuous: new structures and, more importantly, new materials enable increasingly heavy loads to be

Solving’s CEO, Peter Björk, compares the task of supplying transport equipment for heavy load handling with the work of a tailor: “You must come up with the ultimately perfect fit.”

Björk. “The manufacture of the Airbus A 350 takes up much of our time at the moment, but the Chinese rail industry is also important.” Comprehensive service Services have become an important part of Solving’s operations over the years. “The services we offer are wide in scope. They can involve anything from training the customer’s staff to performing on-site installations and remote diagnostics, which means we can access the customer’s machines from our production plant in Jakobstad,” explains Björk. “We strive to be a lifelong partner.” c

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transported on wheels as well,” says Björk. “A combination of air bearings and wheels is also a viable alternative for some types of transport.” Solving has a wide customer base, with the motor, heavy workshop, heavy electric, steel and paper industries playing an important role. “We are now working increasingly with the rail and airline sectors,” says Peter

Tel. +358 6 781 7500 Business sector: Systems for heavy load handling Turnover 2011: €12 million


Employees: 50 Export: 80% Major markets: Worldwide Solving Group Turnover: €22 million Employees: 140

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Beamex offers accessories supporting calibration products, systems and software. Recalibration and service, user training, spare parts, software maintenance and information system integration are also available from the company.

Beamex expands

New markets, new customers, new products and increased personnel.

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TO ENSURE HIGH QUALITY and optimised production, companies need to calibrate the measurement instruments used in their production processes. Even the best instruments age and wear in use, which leads to drifts in their accuracy. Jakobstadbased Beamex has developed a calibration system that ensures consistent instrument accuracy according to the customers’ requirements. 60 countries Beamex has continued to grow and progress throughout its lifetime. According to Raimo Ahola, CEO, the company has become one of the world’s leading calibration solution providers. New branch offices

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“We have launched calibration services for a new variable: temperature. Furthermore, the new temperature block product range was launched in 2011,” say CEO Raimo Ahola and Vice President JanHenrik Svensson.

and distributors have enabled the company to expand to an impressive 60 countries. “We have recently established affiliates in India, China and Saudi Arabia and during the last two years we have signed contracts with new distributors in Brazil, Denmark and Switzerland,” Ahola continues. “This rapid expansion has continuously required new recruitments, and in 2011 we acquired 14 new employees,” he adds. In addition to global expansion, a new territorial conquest is now underway: Beamex has begun offering temperaturerelated calibration products and services in addition to those measuring pressure, electronic signals, current, length and mass. “Temperature is a highly synergic new variable, since it allows us to serve existing customer groups more comprehensively than ever before,” says a satisfied Ahola. Complete focus on calibration Beamex’s automated and integrated calibration system consists of calibrators, workstations, software and services. The company is one of a kind in offering such a package. “Since this is the focus of our whole business, we can take the role of a total supplier to fully satisfy customer needs,” explains Jan-Henrik Svensson, VP, Sales and Marketing at Beamex.

This has resulted in new global key accounts and frame agreements with some of the largest actors on the market. Beamex’s customers include world-leading companies in industries such as oil and gas, food and beverage, power and energy and pharmaceuticals. The integrated and automated system enables the company’s calibration products to interact electronically with factory systems. “Large industrial companies expect efficiency from their calibration systems, which is why they favour Beamex,” Svens­ son says. c

beamex Tel. +358 10 550 5000 Business sector: Development 020602 and manufacturing of high-quality calibration equipment, software, systems and services for the calibration and maintenance of process instruments. Turnover (2011): €19 million Employees: 120 Export: 95% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2008, ISO 17025, ATEX/IECEx Approval Parent company: Sarlin Group Oy Ab

One major advantage of the Fluid-Bag container is the ease and efficiency of discharge.

To the very last drop

Fluid-Bag’s containers increase efficiency. DURABLE CONTAINERS that guard against particle contamination and carry up to 1,000 litres, yet require only a minimum of storage space. This is what Fluid-Bag supplies to large industries around the world. “We specialise in closed packaging systems that minimise the risk of contamination,” explains Jan Backman, Managing Director. A traditional bulk container must be cleaned and disinfected. Besides, a stainless-steel container is just as bulky whether empty or full.

discharge. It is very little, seeing as the figure of many competitors is around seven per cent. “Our product is effective in many ways: there is practically no residue, the containers need a minimum amount of space, and the pallets can be reused. It is important for us to combine an ecological approach

Fluid-Bag’s flexible containers carry up to 1,000 litres, but take up hardly any transportation space when empty. The transportation boxes behind CEO Jan Backman hold 20 containers. mats sandström

with economically smart solutions,” explains Jan Backman. Introducing new thinking Fluid-Bag, based in Jakobstad, continues to develop its products and their areas of use. “We produce containers suitable for our customers’ products and test new types of plastic and foil,” says Backman. “Our challenge is to convince customers that it is safe to store incredibly expensive products in a flexible container made of plastic.” c

From mining to pharmaceuticals The company makes plastic transportation and storage containers at its unit in Jakobstad under meticulously supervised conditions. Ninety-six per cent of the production is exported, mainly to the EU and other Nordic countries, but the African, Australian and Indonesian mining industries also constitute an important market. “Our product also satisfies the pharmaceutical industry’s strict requirements for hygienic packaging. Our containers ensure a minimum of waste material, which is important from both an environmental and an economic perspective.” Generally speaking, the plastic container can be emptied to the very last drop. FluidBag assures a residue of 0.5 per cent after

fluid-bag ltd Tel. +358 20 779 0444 Business sector:  Container system for handling liquids in industrial quantities


Turnover 2010: €9.5 million Employees 2010:  49 in Finland and 23 in Thailand Export: 96% Major markets:  Europe and South-East Asia

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Design and performance prove that today’s radiators are well suited to meet new demands on form and function.

20% smarter

Rettig Värme believes in a radiator renaissance. EU’S CLIMATE GOAL calls for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. At that time, renewables must account for at least 20 per cent of the power used and energy efficiency must have improved by 20 per cent. “This is a target that applies to all of Europe,” says Mia Högkvist, Marketing Manager at Rettig Värme in Jakobstad. “Finland is already well positioned in the field of renewables. What we aim at is to convince professionals about the fact that radiators are the best solution for low temperature heating systems. It is a proradiator programme that does not exclude underfloor heating systems, which also are part of our product portfolio.” The human body generates watts. A computer that is turned on functions as a heat source, as do the rays of sun shining through the blinds. “Our modern radiators react to temperature changes instantly, which is a must for smart energy use. For many years, underfloor heating has been marketed as the energy-efficient alternative. While it has its role to play, underfloor heating is not capable of adapting to indoor temperature changes in the same effective way,” explains Högkvist.

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Embracing the future with design radiators

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Rettig Värme is Scandinavia’s biggest radiator supplier. Carl-Anders Nygård and Mia Högkvist believe that water-based radiators with a modern design are the best way to satisfy future heating needs.

To make an old invention trendy and appealing, Rettig Värme focuses on minimalist and thin panels. “You’ve got to think innovatively. Vertical radiators represent a new design and look, and water-based radiators provide the best solution to future energy demands. Radiators are anything but outdated; quite the contrary, they are on the threshold of a renaissance,” says Nygård. c

Big savings from proper renovation “Making a thorough energy plan for the home can help to reduce indoor temperatures considerably. Insulation and windows make a big difference. In a properly renovated house, it is possible to make remarkable savings in heating costs,” says Carl-Anders Nygård, the company’s Managing Director. However, radiators also play a crucial role. Many people renew their energy source, but carry on with the same radiators that may have been in use for decades. “It has absolutely nothing to do with optimal heating,” says Nygård.

oy rettig värme ab Tel. +358 6 786 9111 Business sector: Water-based and electrical heating solutions Turnover 2010: €45 million Employees: 160 Export: 80% Major markets: Europe Parent company: Rettig ICC Turnover: €550 million Employees: 3,000


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It’s not until sewer networks fail to work as they should that people pay attention to their existence. Eur-Mark manufactures vehicles used to wash sewers, cleanse industrial facilities and maintain sewer networks.

The professional solution

Eur-Mark meets fundamental needs with high technology. Eur-Mark, a manufacturer of individually designed environmental vehicles for suction and high-pressure washing, is going through a long-term investment phase. The facility in Nykarleby is being expanded, and in June 2011 the company got a new owner when its long-time cooperation partner, Kaiser Ag from Liechtenstein, stepped in at the helm. “We aren’t an investment company out to make quick money. We strive to be the best in our field and work as a responsible player in the region,” say Kurt Vienonen and Patrik Spåra. With its family company background, continuity and a people-oriented approach are fundamental to Eur-Mark. “Kaiser shares our values, being a familyrun business with long traditions.” Working to satisfy a constant need “A company is equal to the people working there. Without the right staff, you’re nothing more than the walls and roof surrounding you. We rightly boast an incredibly competent personnel and are always on the lookout for suitable employees,” explains Vienonen. Eur-Mark is the uncontested number

one in the sector, when talking about the Scandinavian and Baltic markets. “The change in ownership also gives us access to the European market. Our products are in constant demand. As long as there are people around, there will be gullies that need to be cleaned and wells that need to be emptied.” Communication is everything With Sweden being the largest market, Kurt Vienonen, Patrik Spåra and Magnus Karhunmaa believe the company’s geographic location offers many advantages. “We operate in the world’s best place! Communication is crucial to all business, and we’re at the centre of everything here. We’ve got Swedish as our mother tongue, as well as strong and fluent skills in Finnish. Add to that the other Nordic languages that come ‘for free’, plus Estonian, which is like a second cousin to Finnish,” explains Vienonen. Although Eur-Mark is not set on becoming the biggest player, it will not compromise on being the best. “The number one is the last one forced to step down. It’s that simple,” says Patrik Spåra. c

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“We aim to work as a responsible player in the region. This sector has a bright future ahead of it,” say Kurt Vienonen, Patrik Spåra and Magnus Karhunmaa.

oy eur-mark ab Tel. +358 6 781 3400 Business sector:  Sanitation aggregates Turnover: €12 million


Employees: 54 Export: 70% Major markets:  Finland, Scandinavia, the Baltic States

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Ekeri supplies special trailers with side-opening doors to make loading as easy as possible. Every trailer is tailored to the customer’s needs.

Easy loading

Ekeri offers customised solutions for demanding transportation needs. EKERI, A TRAILER MANUFACTURER, has made the ‘easy loading’ concept its lodestar. The goods must be easy to load and fasten, in addition to which the company wants to maintain smooth contacts with its customers and satisfy their special wishes. “Our niche is the manufacture of trailers with side-opening doors. They are a direct answer to the special demands set by Scandinavian logistics. It’s all about long transport routes and a great variation in goods. The trailer space must adapt to the freighting of refrigerated food in one direction and of wood on the way back,” explains Mikael Eklund, Managing Director. “For the customer, a special trailer is an investment that pays back.” From small-scale carpentry to big exports Mikael Eklund’s grandfather founded the company in 1945. Today the family looks back on a history leading from small-scale carpentry work to a position as the leading Nordic specialist in logistics and transportation technology. “Family companies are a natural phenomenon in Ostrobothnia. We are used to getting along on our own and are born into an entrepreneurial environment that is

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Mikael Eklund is the third-generation Managing Director of the leading Nordic specialist in transportation technology. He believes the family will carry on its entrepreneurial traditions long into the future.

both visionary and realistic. What is more, the region’s entrepreneurial spirit means there are always plenty of subcontractors around,” says Eklund. After the steep plunge experienced during the last recession, the company’s performance has now rebounded to previous levels. “Our plant in Kållby delivers twelve trailers every week. This also shows on the road, especially in Scandinavia.” Right distribution channels at the root of all Ekeri continuously works on expanding its service offering. Different types of leases

and service agreements are a part of the supplementary services the company offers its customers. “The goal is to serve customers over a period much longer than just the manufacture of a specially ordered trailer.” Eklund emphasises that it is crucial for companies to find the right marketing and distribution channels. “What’s there to gain if you have a superb product that no one knows of? We’ve got the right channels to reach customers, but there are still many ways we can contribute to the market. We’ve got nearly 70 years of entrepreneurship under our belt. I believe we will remain a family business long into the future.” c

ab ekeri oy Tel. +358 6 788 7400 Business sector: Trailers, semitrailers and truck bodies Turnover 2010: €33 million Employees: 155 Export: 75% Major markets: The Nordic countries, Holland, the UK and Germany


Nordautomation offers comprehensive service. It tailors its overall solutions to customer needs and teaches the staff how to use the facilities.

Wood runs around the globe Nordautomation is very particular about quality and delivery schedules. NORDAUTOMATION SUPPLIES log handling equipment to sawmills around the world. Its customers include large forest groups and individual sawmills that are looking for high-quality and reliable wood-handling equipment. According to Pauli Ojala, Managing Director, Nordautomation’s own mechanical workshop, along with its design, electrification and automation units give the company a great competitive edge. “We can ensure high-quality products and a fast and reliable delivery schedule, thanks to design and production taking place under our own roof,” he says. Eyes set on Australia Nordautomation’s sites in Kristiinankaupunki and Alajärvi are hard at work thanks to a new territorial conquest. The company has signed a major export deal in Australia, which involves a log-handling line for a new sawmill. Ojala knows that once you get your foot in the door, future sales in the new country will be a great deal easier. “Australia has huge forest resources, but no equipment industry in this field. Strategically speaking, this is an incredibly important move for us,” he says. More and more forest companies opt for

Nordautomation, thanks to its excellent references and satisfied customers. The company has become the leading Nordic supplier of log-handling equipment for sawmills. Export to Sweden and Norway is well-established, and the company has also made inroads into Russia in the wake of large forest company customers. “We’ve also got references in France and Eastern Europe. To give an example, we built Latvia’s largest sawmill,” says Ojala. Well-scheduled projects and satisfied customers

“The work of Nordautomation’s project managers is demanding. There’s no room for compromise in quality and schedules. Our customers are exceedingly satisfied with our skilled and committed personnel,” says Pauli Ojala.

The company’s product is a demanding and thorough project, in which many details aune varonen

must be integrated in a given time frame. In a new country, work always involves product adjustments based on the wood species and the purpose of use. “Nordautomation always offers comprehensive service. We design and deliver the facility, train the staff and handle postmonitoring. Much of the post-monitoring can also be done online,” Ojala explains. Solid expertise in project work promises success also in the future. The forest industry is a cyclical business, but Nord­ automation enjoys a stable position. “We want to be number one in loghandling; it’s our special field of competence.” c

nordautomation oy Tel. +358 20 761 6200 Business sector:  Mechanical forest industry


Turnover 2011: €10 million Employees: 80 Export: 50% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2000

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A. Häggblom supplies buckets to the Talvivaara mine. A sturdy structure, efficient protection and Esco’s replacement wear parts considerably lengthen the service life of the valuable buckets.

Heavyweight champion A. Häggblom’s spare part sales reliably cater to customer needs. A. HÄGGBLOM is Finland’s leading manu­ facturer of undercarriages for earthmoving machinery, as well as a spare part supplier. The company has achieved its prestigious status thanks to over 50 years of experience, a thorough understanding of the field and a comprehensive service chain. A. Häggblom designs, manufactures, services and supplies spare parts for earth-moving machines, ensuring the earth moves both today and tomorrow. Spare parts for rough use Earth-moving is tough on the machinery and machine components. The demanding conditions in mines put a continuous strain on excavator buckets, teeth and tracks. A. Häggblom’s spare part sales aim to keep construction sites running effortlessly. “We have Finland’s biggest range in stock. It contains almost 7,000 items, including wear parts for earth-moving machines, repair sets and components for CAT engines. We want to offer as many parts as possible in the field,” says John Hagnäs, Managing Director of A. Häggblom. A. Häggblom offers spare parts to both quality- and price-conscious customers. Its main and supplementary representations encompass 30 different brands.

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“In addition to our manufacturing competence in the field of earthmoving machines, we also offer service, maintenance and spare part services,” says John Hagnäs.

“We practically offer components for all excavator brands and models in the market. Our spare parts mainly come from northern Italy, where the big suppliers operate,” Hagnäs explains.

Even the teeth of large buckets may weigh 70 kg each. “Buckets are high-tech products that must withstand extremely high forces. They are made of wear-resistant steel, since they must endure a great deal yet be as light as possible,” Hagnäs explains. Each large bucket is tailored to the customer’s machine and purpose of use. Buckets used in tough mining work need to be serviced every three months. Characteristic of A. Häggblom’s good customer service is that the buckets serviced by it are as good as new. The company always carries a wide range of other wear parts, as well. c

ab a. häggblom oy

Manufacturer of large buckets

Tel. +358 207 658 200

The current mining boom in Finland ensures good demand for A. Häggblom’s products. The country’s only manufacturer of the largest and most demanding buckets, A. Häggblom makes buckets that carry five to twenty cubic metres, weigh over 20 tonnes and bring added efficiency to mines.

Business sector: Metal products for earth-moving machines Turnover 2011: €22 million Export: Indirectly appr. 90% Major markets:  Finland and Northern Europe


UPM Pietarsaari is a large industry that aims to make as small an environmental impact as possible on its surroundings.

Safety first UPM substitutes fossil fuels with biofore. UPM Pietarsaari boasts long traditions in pulp and paper production. A history going back over a hundred years has made the company one of the region’s main employers. The pulp and paper manufacturer is now preparing for major challenges brought about by changing markets and a shifting world order. “We are looking at a whole new competitive environment,” says Kenneth Winberg, General Manager of the UPM Pietarsaari mill. “Large, new units on the other side of the globe will prove to be tough contenders, especially in pulp production. We are now bracing ourselves for five difficult years. The only alternative is to improve our efficiency, in terms of both production and costs.” Fully independent of fossil fuels What the unit in Jakobstad is really good at is conserving energy. “We are extremely energy-efficient,” explains Winberg. “We sell a great deal of electricity to the Finnish grid, and all of our production is located under one roof. We at UPM also innovated the biofore concept. It means we are fully independent of fossil fuels: our production is bio-based through and through.”

The product itself circulates in recycling devices several times before it is treated as waste. “Paper is, after all, a material that is reused countless times before it disappears,” Winberg points out. “The paper we make here ends up as different types of packaging papers.” Industrial safety prioritised In addition to using an environmentally friendly manufacturing process, UPM Pietarsaari strives to cause the smallest possible environmental impact on its surroundings. “We are a large industry, but we do not want the local population to negatively experience our presence. It’s all about taking environmental aspects into consideration and minimising emissions.” Industrial safety and the staff’s wellbeing are high on the mill’s agenda right now. “This involves everything from handling top-level management in the best possible way to ensuring that people have sufficient education and training for their duties. Ultimately, of course, our main concern is to avoid accidents at work. It’s not just about business: Safety first!” c

mats sandström

Kenneth Winberg, General Manager of the UPM Pietarsaari mill, expects small and medium-sized paper industry units to face tough challenges in the future.

upm, pietarsaari Tel. +358 20 416 113 Products: Bleached soft and hardwood pulp, packaging papers


Production capacity: Pulp mill 800,000 t/a and paper mill 195,000 t/a Employees: Approximately 450 Major markets: Europe Certificates:  Quality: ISO 9001 Environment: ISO 14001 and EMAS

Chain of custody: The right to use the PEFC and FSC logos Working conditions: OHSAS 18001

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mats sandström

LKI develops and manufactures equipment for the sheet metal industry, such as automation solutions for laser cutting machines and punch presses. The company engages in successful cooperation with Amada from Japan.

Comprehensive solutions LKI Käldman focuses on comprehensive solutions for the sheet metal industry. TOM NORDSTRÖM, the new Managing Director of LKI Käldman Ltd. (LKI), steadyhandedly steers the large exporter of automation solutions for sheet metal handling. “Our customers generally work as subcontractors. This usually involves processing thin sheets for computers, office and kitchen furnishings, as well as the whole telecom industry,” Nordström explains.

According to Managing Director Tom Nordström, the company is focusing on comprehensive solutions, the future emphasis lying on intelligent control and maintenance of production processes.

Service contracts on the rise “We’re currently expanding our industrial package by developing and adding complete automation solutions to it,” says Nordström. “When you buy a mobile phone, for example, it’s really the software you’re after, which actually gives you the user experience. The same principle applies in our sector. It’s the software that customers interact with, which is why we’re making big efforts to develop it in a more userfriendly direction, enabling the customers to increase their competitive edge.” The company is also expanding its service operations by offering new service concepts and at the same time supporting solution sales. “We’re taking the whole system of annual contracts a step further. This means that customers can simply operate the systems, while we take charge of all installation and service work. Turnkey solutions are the name of the game.”

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Exploiting new markets The recession a few years back dealt a big blow to the sheet metal industry, but 2011 brought a comeback for LKI. Thanks to its close cooperation with the Japanese company Amada Co., Ltd., LKI now also exports its products to North America. “Amada makes machines for steel processing, while we provide an automation solution to enable a full, competitive package. We’re talking about more than 15 years of solid cooperation,” says Nordström. After a few cautious years, the market is flourishing again. “We’ve practically rebounded to preslump levels and have also succeeded in

making a breakthrough in North America,” says Nordström. c

lki käldman ltd Tel. +358 20 7009 000 Business sector:  Development and production of solutions for the automation of sheet metal handling for punch presses and laser cutting machines.


Turnover 2011: €17 million Employees: 110 Export: 95% Major markets: Europe and North America

mats sandström

“Thanks to our design skills, halls can be fully tailored to customer needs and wishes,” say Antti Karjalainen, senior designer, and Leif Fagernäs, Managing Director.

Best-Hall – true to its name Tailored halls meet the highest criteria. AIMING TO OFFER products that live up to their name, Best-Hall has grown into a leading supplier of fabric-cladded hall solutions in the Nordic countries. Best-Hall buildings are constructed, among other things, as storage facilities, sports halls and airport hangars, as well as for protection in ports. They can be used for nearly any purpose, thanks to the advanced technology and accessories. “We design, manufacture, equip and install our halls totally according to customer needs. Our halls are supplied based on the turnkey principle,” explains Leif Fagernäs, Managing Director. Tailored halls Best-Hall designs and manufactures halls ranging from hundreds to thousands of square metres. In addition to PVC fabrics, the company also uses fixed structures such as metal sheet, wood and semi-­finished components. The frames are always made of first-class steel that endures extremely demanding weather conditions. The building is erected on an asphalt foundation using a steel pile bolting method developed by Best-Hall or on a concrete foundation. Fagernäs believes that one of the company’s main competitive advantages comes from the halls being fully customisable. “We supply the halls with automation,

ventilation, air drying and lighting individually designed for each case. In addition, the halls are always customised to accommodate local snow and wind conditions,” he explains. The fabric of Best-Hall’s maintenancefree fabric halls has a life cycle of 25 to 30 years. The life cycle of the steel frame, in turn, is 50 years or more. Growing market Best-Hall satisfies the increasingly tight official requirements. It also develops its operations according to customer wishes. The bearing structures carry several

Best-Hall constructed a unique exhibition hall for BBC’s hit series, Doctor Who, in Great Britain.

quality labels, indicating the company is an approved and high-quality hall supplier. In addition to safety, the appearance of halls is coming under increasingly tough criteria. “During the design phase, we do a lot of consulting with architects, who know how to adapt the properties of fabrics,” says Fagernäs. Best-Hall is the Finnish market leader in fabric halls. The introduction of metalcladded halls boosted the company’s domestic operations, which now account for 60 per cent of its overall operations. Its main export countries are Austria, Norway, the UK, France and Estonia. “We annually deliver some 200 halls. In the future, we will continue to increase investments in our plant and put more and more emphasis on the look of our halls.” c

best-hall oy Tel. +358 6 832 5000 Business sector:  Sales, planning, manufacture and installation of halls with steel frame.


Turnover 2011: €27 million Employees: 120 Export: 40% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2000

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Rani Plast’s new plant in Russia will eventually account for a fifth of the Group’s overall production.

Films for Russia

Rani Plast’s new plant in Russia is the company’s biggest ever investment. Enormous potential

karolina isaksson

PACKAGING SOLUTIONS PROVIDER Rani Plast has exported plastic products to Russia since 1963. With customs and exports growing more challenging over the years, the company has long studied the option to build its own plant on the other side of the border. Things finally started rolling in late 2011, when the company launched the construction of a new plant in Kaluga, a city 200 kilometres south of Moscow. “This is our biggest ever investment,” says Mikael Ahlbäck, Managing Director, “but also something we’ve dreamt of for many years.”

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“The demand for high-quality packaging films continues to increase in the Russian market,” says Mikael Ahlbäck.

The new plant will come online at the beginning of 2012. It will produce the same kinds of plastic films, using the same type of machines, as those at Rani Plast’s primary plant in Teerijärvi, Finland. In the first phase, the new plant will have 30 employees, most of whom will have attended training in Teerijärvi. Both the headcount and production will double in a few years’ time, and the Russian plant will account for some 20 per cent of Rani Plast’s overall production. “The Russian market holds enormous potential and the demand for packaging films continuous to increase. In fact, it didn’t even drop during the latest recession,” Ahlbäck points out. Strong family company Rani Plast is a family company with strong traditions in both growth and long-lasting customer contacts. The company was founded by Mikael Ahlbäck’s father, who was unable to find other work in his home town, Teerijärvi. Today, Rani Plast is by far the biggest producer of plastic films in Finland and has grown into an international corporation operating in several countries. The company is the world’s biggest

supplier of dielectric films and the third biggest supplier of stretch films for agriculture. Most of the production still takes place in Teerijärvi. “We are solidly anchored to our home town, but it does not prevent us from going out into the world. In addition to our own plant in Russia, we also have joint venture plants in Sweden, Slovakia and Ukraine,” says Ahlbäck. c

rani plast Tel. +358 20 768 0111 Fax +358 20 768 0200 Business sector: Polyethylene and polypropylene films for packaging, industry and agriculture


Turnover: 170 Employees: 350 Export: 50% Major markets: Europe Certificates: ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001

Virtuoso in tube solutions T-Drill is a versatile supplier in a narrow niche. T-DRILL IS ONE of the world’s most versatile and successful suppliers in the tube and pipe fabrication niche. The company offers solutions for challenging tasks, including collaring, cutting, flanging and end-forming, carried out in various sectors. T-Drill’s products cater to a versatile market, and the company now exports to more than 50 countries. “Our applications are used in the HVAC, shipbuilding and equipment manufacturing sectors, as well as in the automobile and food industries. Since we supply fabrication machines to both industry and plumbers, our products range from handtools to equipment the size of a detached house,” explains Anne Hanka, General Manager of the company. Competitive advantage from efficient pipes and tubes The high quality and efficiency of pipes formed with T-DRILL machines are the company’s signature. Their flow property is excellent, since the number of joints accumulating dirt has been minimised. Moreover, our fabrication machines have been designed to keep material use to a minimum,” Hanka adds. Although T-Drill’s machines can last dozens of years, times and trends change in the pipe business, as well. New needs and demands boost the demand for new types of pipes. T-Drill is eager to take up new challenges. “New pipe and tube materials, for example, present us with new opportunities. The demand for machines for thick-walled pipes is on the increase, as pipes are ex-

pected to show higher corrosion and pressure resistance. Thick walls and special materials are a must, for example, when making drinking water out of sea water.” Product development and customer service T-Drill emphasises good customer service and aims to create long-term and reliable gunnar bäckman

T-Drill’s collaring method is globally unique. The company also offers solutions for flanging, cutting and endforming. T-Drill’s headquarters are located in Laihia and its component manufacturing in Isokyrö. T-Drill also has a subsidiary in the USA.

customer relationships. It has built up an extensive customer-oriented service chain for its products. “After product commissioning, we offer user training for the staff. In addition, we sell spare parts and offer maintenance and service,” says Hanka. T-Drill also makes considerable inputs into product development. It allocates ten per cent of its turnover to development to ensure that the machines meet customer needs better, more efficiently and more durably than ever. c

t-drill “T-Drill is a 40-yearold company, with a staff possessing enormous expertise in the field. The employees are also highly committed: 40 per cent have worked at T-Drill for more than 20 years,” says a pleased Anne Hanka.

Tel. +358 6 475 3333 Component manufacturing in Isokyrö:  Tel. +358 6 471 5500


Business sector:  Tube and pipe processing technologies Turnover 2011: €12 million Employees: 90 Export: 90% Main markets: Worldwide

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mats sandström

OSTP’s reorganisation resulted in pipe production being concentrated in the Jakobstad unit.

How to create a work culture OSTP emphasises involvement to increase safety and improve quality. occurrence, and although it took time to change course, we have now maintained a zero accident rate for nearly two years,” says Thomas Pettersson, General Manager. Individual responsibility

mats sandström

OUTOKUMPU’S UNIT in Jakobstad focuses entirely on the production of pipes and butt welded fittings these days. As competition and supply increase, what helps companies stand out are its individual employees. OSTP Jakobstad has found that attitudes can be changed with a goal-oriented approach. “Occupational accidents were earlier considered an inevitable part of work. Nevertheless, we decided to reduce their

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“We aim at improved quality based on security thinking,” explains Thomas Pettersson, General Manager at Outokumpu Jakobstad.

Encouraged by the good results from its safety campaign, the company now aims to improve quality based on the same approach. “It means involving each individual employee in the process. It means being attentive and not shrinking from responsibility. All employees are equally important in this respect: supervisors, cleaners, sales representatives, installers and so on.” The staff is divided into sixteen groups. They hold weekly meetings to exchange ideas and opinions, discuss potentially risky situations and talk about measures that can further improve quality. “We do not want management to impose a set of directives from above, but instead aim to offer every individual their own responsibilities,” explains Pettersson. “We strive to make use of all staff resources, including both manual skills and mental capacity.” Continuous development To date, OSTP’s fruitful efforts have resulted in the highest score in occupational safety among all of Finland’s metal

processing companies, as well as in fewer complaints. “This is a long-term project. The goal is not to reach specific scores, but rather to achieve a change in the work culture, and that is a never-ending process. We believe these activities will benefit everyone: they give our employees a sense of security at work and make them feel important and involved experts.” So far, everything indicates that better products and a good market reputation also follow in the wake. c

outokumpu stainless tubular products oy ab Tel. +358 6 786 5111 Business sector:  Longitudinally welded stainless steel pipes, tubes and fittings Turnover 2010: €72 million Employees: 190 Export: 88% Major markets:  Worldwide, major markets in Europe Certificates:  ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001


Herrmans’ work lights and bicycle components are delivered worldwide. The company cooperates with some of the major brands and companies in both fields.

LED turns night into day

Herrmans invests in the product development of work lights and bicycle components. HEAVY-DUTY MOBILE MACHINERY used in demanding conditions calls for durable and efficient lights. Herrmans’ answer to the hard vibrations and shocks, humidity, extreme darkness and soil dust that such machinery must deal with is called the Nordic Lights. They turn night into day in mines, on construction sites, in forest management and agriculture – all around the world. Developing light Herrmans designs and manufactures LED, HID and Halogen work lights, as well as Xenon driving lights. According to Reijo Tiuraniemi, Managing Director, LED technology is at the forefront of the lighting industry. “LED lights have become increasingly efficient in recent years. We, too, have focused on developing new technology for work lights,” he says. Product development is extremely important to Herrmans: up to 10 per cent of its employees work on development daily. Nordic Lights has a modern light laboratory, where lights are subjected to environmental condition testing, including salt mist, temperature cycling and water immersion tests. “Having our own light laboratory speeds up the product development process and enables us to offer the latest technology to

the world’s largest work-machinery manufacturers, such as Caterpillar, Komatsu and Hitachi,” says Tiuraniemi. In his view, Herrmans’ main competitive advantages come from keeping up with development in the field, as well as having modern products, sales representatives in Germany and a subsidiary in the USA. Production volumes are also growing. “In addition to the plant in Jakobstad, we are now setting up one in China.” Matching bicycle components In addition to work lights, Herrmans is also known for its bicycle components. The company supplies rimtapes, reflectors, grips, chainguards and lights. The newest product is a grip consisting of three materials, something no one else in Europe makes. The three components enable the grip to be adjusted to one’s liking in the handlebar. The grip features two different soft materials to increase riding comfort. For Herrmans, comfort, safety and design form the foundation for its products. “Colours and design are important in this field. Thanks to our flexible production, we can match the colours of components with the colours of bicycle frames. Few component manufacturers measure up to us in terms of resources,” Tiuraniemi points out. c

mats sandström

“We have focused on our own testing equipment in the ultramodern light laboratory. The goniometer measures the amount of light and draws isolux curves,” explains Reijo Tiuraniemi, Managing Director of Herrmans.

herrmans oy ab Tel. +358 6 781 5100 Fax +358 6 723 3110 020615 Business sector: Work lights for heavy duty machinery, bicycle components

Turnover 2011: €39 million Employees: 164 Major markets: Worldwide Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001

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Heading east

Dermoshop establishes itself on the Russian market with a new make-up line. dermoshop

A pioneer in Finnish online sales, Dermo­ shop has sold Dermosil-branded skincare products on the web since 1996. In addition to the home market, the company’s products are sold in Sweden and Estonia. Dermoshop has now taken a big leap by establishing itself on the Russian market. “We have had our eyes set on the east for years, but until now, the move has been postponed due to so few Russians having Internet access. With the number of users now growing steeply, we judged the time to be right,” says Henry Backlund, CEO.

In autumn 2010, Dermoshop made its biggest ever product launch, rolling out a brand new line of make-up products. The company has previously sold mainly skincare items.

Big challenges Dermoshop launched its Russian web store at the beginning of 2010. The company has also built its own office and storage facilities in St Petersburg. The goal is to reach a turnover of 10 million euros from Russia within five years. The Russian market offers big opportunities, as well as great challenges. “It’s far from easy to carve yourself a niche in Russia. The red tape is endless, and customers are not used to buying products online. We see ourselves as missionaries of a kind. Our goal is to be one of the leading e-commerce businesses in Russia four years from now,” explains Project Manager Rasmus Backlund, in charge of the project. New make-up line With its Russian market entry progressing at full speed, Dermoshop is also taking a big step on another front. In autumn 2010, the company made its biggest ever product launch, rolling out a brand new line of make-up products. In the past, Dermoshop has mainly supplied skincare items. dermoshop

“We have been in the starting blocks, ready to set up shop in Russia for years. The time is ripe now, with the number of Russian Internet users rising steeply,” says Henry Backlund.

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“The launch is partly linked to our entry into Russia, since we know that Russian women use more make-up than their ­Scandinavian counterparts,” explains Henry Backlund. He admits to being slightly nervous, since few companies have ventured to sell make-up online. Dermoshop has worked hard to correctly reproduce the colour of products on its website and in customer magazines. “We believe the trust we’ve built with our customers over the years will convince them to also buy make-up from us. In fact, many customers have expressly asked us to start selling make-up,” says Backlund.

The Dermoshop Group also comprises three subsidiaries: Guest Comfort, ZAO Peter Pak and Vivisanté Finland. c

dermoshop oy Tel. +358 20 746 6400 Business sector: Webshop for skincare and cosmetics products Turnover 2010: €20 million Employees: 51 Major markets:  Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Russia


Regional co-op

KPO flourishes thanks to its store and product diversity.

Taking the form of the green S bonus card, KPO follows along in each co-op member’s pocket. The card offers purchase rewards and service benefits to members. The S bonus system is also used to collect information for providing increasingly better service to co-op members.

One could easily live a good everyday life with KPO co-op’s provisions alone. Butter for your bread from groceries, fuel for your tank from service stations and perfume to dab behind your ears from cosmetics shops. The co-op also encompasses hotels and restaurants, and even car dealerships in the economic regions around Ylivieska, Kokkola, Jakobstad and Vaasa. And, of course, there’s the S Group’s joint S-Bank. “Regional, versatile and successful – that aptly describes the operations of KPO, a co-op with over 100 years under its belt,” says Arttu Laine, Managing Director. Range influenced by customers and local companies As Laine explains, KPO’s operations are based on the needs of customer owners – co-op members, that is. The strategy has been successful: a 45 per cent market share makes KPO the market leader in grocery goods sales in coastal Ostrobothnia. Two-thirds of the region’s households are KPO members. “We listen to the customer. Groceries are the foundation of our operations, but people increasingly ask for speciality goods as well. We have consequently diversified

our offer to also encompass DIY services,” says Laine. KPO influences well-being in its surroundings by offering employment and versatile products. Although a big player, KPO also supports small enterprises and primary producers in the region. “KPO’s activities are regionally important, since much of what we earn we invest in the area. We cooperate with 1,500 entrepreneurs and use over 50 local goods suppliers. KPO’s range includes many local food items. The safety and origin of food are important issues to us.”

Green card

“We are closely linked to businesses in the region. In addition to goods suppliers, we cooperate with construction firms, architectural agencies and flower sellers, among others,” says Arttu Laine. mats sandström

KPO’s members are also members of the nationwide S Group. The green membership card is a part of the cooperative’s bonus system that offers both purchase rewards and product and service benefits. “A broad product range and inexpensive shopping are the green card’s advantages,” Laine summarises. According to him, the S bonus system is pioneering – even from an international perspective. “It represents world-class competence in co-op activities. The bonus system gives us valuable information about the items that customers want. This helps us enhance our market insight in different sectors and offer increasingly better service to our co-op members.” c

kpo cooperative Tel. +358 20 780 7000 Business sector: Retail business Sales 2011: €700 million Employees: 1,700


Major markets: Ostrobothnia

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Halpa-Halli won the national entrepreneurial award in 2011. The company’s founder, Esko Ylinen, is grateful and proud to accept the award, which honours persistent and successful entrepreneurial activities that have offered ample employment around Finland.

Good quality at bargain prices Halpa-Halli – a retail chain store with high principles.

“I  WISH THERE WAS a store where a small sum would get you loads of goods,” Esko Ylinen mused as a child. In 1969, he founded Kokkolan Halpa-Halli Oy, which has since expanded into a chain of 37 stores and spread to 36 towns around Finland. The company is today led by Esko’s son, Janne Ylinen. The current Managing Director is proud of his father’s heritage, a successful family business that stands out from other retail store chains by its centrally managed chain concept and solid principles. Halpa-Halli’s stores are full-service department stores with a range of more than 60,000 products. The stores sell nearly everything from household goods and clothes for the whole family to electronics and food items. Internal specialised outlets are one of the stores’ unique features. “We’ve developed our own shop-in-shop concept, which offers added value to customers in a number of stores. HH Cafe serves food and baked goods, HH Sport specialises in leisure time, hunting and fishing, while HH Kangas sells textiles,” Ylinen explains. Own imports straight to the home port Halpa-Halli’s headquarters in Kokkola handle the company’s marketing and ad-

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Business guided by values and principles

mats sandström

“We aim at being a clearly unique store chain that stands out from the rest and always offers first-rate customer service,” says Janne Ylinen, Halpa-Halli’s Managing Director.

ministration. Kokkola is also home to a big central warehouse, which all the products, except for food items, pass through. The company itself imports much of its goods via the Antwerpen-Kokkola sea route. Nearly 2,000 tonnes of Halpa-Halli’s goods are annually transported in sea containers to Kokkola. “Direct container traffic to Kokkola saves both expenses and the environment. What’s more, the containers can be easily and flexibly unloaded directly into our Kokkola central warehouse, located by the port,” says Ylinen.

Halpa-Halli’s commerce is based on solid principles, which differ from those of its competitors. All of the products are sold below their suggested retail price, cheaper than elsewhere. Ylinen emphasises that quality can be achieved at a low cost if ­savings are obtained in other areas. “We have an agile and quick family organisation that works clearly and efficiently. It saves costs,” he says. Halpa-Halli’s founder, Esko Ylinen, had strong Christian values, which still form the foundation for the family company: the stores stay closed on Sundays and do not sell any tobacco or alcohol products. “Principles have a cost, but they also give you a great deal and are valued. We are a store chain that lives by its values,” Ylinen sums up. c

kokkolan halpa-halli oy Tel. +358 20 718 2000 Fax +358 20 718 2100 Business sector: Retail business Turnover 2010: €260 million Employees: 1,400


Snellman’s raw materials are clean and of a high quality. The pork and beef it uses are of Finnish origin and ethically produced. The delicious flavour of the meat products comes from real meat, which has not been enhanced with sodium glutamate.

Hunger drives business Snellman serves more meat, less food additives.

Snellman serves solutions that satisfy hungry consumers. It bedecks tables with meat products, locally produced convenience food and fast food. Business is growing and the market area continues to expand, because Snellman listens to what its customers want to eat. “We aim to provide clean, healthy and locally made food. It is what hungry people want these days,” says Martti Vähäkangas, CEO of Snellman. Food trends guide production Snellman’s product development anticipates future food trends. Among other things, the company began eliminating additives early on. When the trend for authentic, clean food began to emerge, Snellman was already prominently promoting its meat products free of sodium glutamate. “Our products only contain clean and pure substances,” says Vähäkangas. Shop shelves are now being taken over by low-carb foods, and Snellman is once again among the first to offer products that satisfy the new food trend. A transforming platter Snellman offers a versatile food platter. The Group is divided into different sectors, all with their own food brands. Herra Snell-

man provides processed meat products made at the plant in Jakobstad. Kokkikartano produces convenience foods, while Mr. Panini serves a fast-food concept. Its finger on the pulse, Snellman launches new products or expands its market area at regular intervals. “We recently got involved in Trading, which means supplying cooked meat, fish, vegetables, berries and baked products to the hotel, restaurant and catering industries,” explains Vähäkangas. Snellman has also expanded into ­Sweden, where it produces convenience food under the Carolines kök brand near Stockholm. Mr. Panini, in turn, has established itself in both Finland and Sweden, as well as in Russia. The demand for Snellman’s food is great, and especially meat processing has seen significant growth. “The production volume of products made in Jakobstad totals nearly 30 million kilograms a year,” says Vähäkangas. Large production volumes are important, as Snellman’s future plans include expanding to other Scandinavian countries in the next few years. c

mats sandström

“Snellman’s greatest competitive advantages include clean and locally produced food. We have our own Finnish raw material chain, starting with a breed of swine we have developed for Finnish farms,” says Martti Vähäkangas.

snellman oy Tel. +358 6 786 6111 Business sector: Meat and processed meat, food products Overall turnover 2011:  €232 million


Employees: 920 Major markets: Finland, Sweden, Russia Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001

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Infrastructure supplier Anvia’s fibre broadband connects Ostrobothnian companies with the world.

eetu sillanpää

Anvia looks back on 130 years as a telephone operator. The company has gradually expanded into a nationwide company with extensive competence in communications and information technology. Anvia stands on four pillars. It is a local network operator in the Vaasa, Kokkola and Seinäjoki regions, a national provider of IT and TV solutions in the business-tobusiness market, as well as a supplier of security technology. “We expect to see growth in all of our business sectors,” says Matti Makkonen, Managing Director. Investments in fibre Matti Makkonen believes the fixed network will continue to play an important role in the modern telecom infrastructure. The mobile network cannot satisfy all the needs of customers, since both consumers and business customers need increasingly fast network connections. TV programmes, for example, are often watched over broadband, and many television manufacturers now support this by equipping their sets with applications needed for online TV viewing. Cloud services, which the business world has rapidly adopted in recent years, also set tough demands on functioning connections. The online use of business critical software and databases offers companies savings in IT investments, but also requires more of the speed and quality of connections. Because of this, Anvia is investing big to expand its fibre network. The goal is to replace current copper cables with optical fibre. “Providing high-quality network connections in Ostrobothnia is one of the cornerstones of our strategy,” says Makkonen. “Anvia is an important infrastructure constructor in this region, and we believe it is important to ensure that business and industry also have good operating conditions outside big cities.” Cooperation with customers It is important for the company that the network is accessible and that it is used. Anvia actively cooperates with customers to come up with new uses. “The network of tomorrow can do much more than today. This will lead to greater needs for online transactions. People can, for example, interact with healthcare services via a network-enabled TV,” explains Makkonen. c

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gunnar bäckman

Anvia supplies important communication infrastructure for companies along the Ostrobothnian coastline.

anvia plc Tel. +358 6 411 4111 Business sector:  ICT, TV and security

“Anvia believes in the future of fixed networks,” says Matti Makkonen.

Turnover 2010: €108 million Employees 2010: 696 Major markets: Domestic


Kvarken shortcut

NLC Corridor transport vision becomes reality after persistent work. A narrow strait and frontier separate the two sister regions on both sides of the Kvarken. Ostrobothnia in Finland and Västerbotten in Sweden are closely related both culturally and historically. The Kvarken Council’s main task is to operate as a cross-border cooperation forum aiming to secure and advance interchange between the regions. “There’s great potential in our region,” says Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council. “Umeå on the Swedish side is the country’s most rapidly growing city, and we on the Finnish side boast a tradition of knowledge and competence. It’s all about taking full advantage of synergies. As a cross-border region, we can greatly contribute to both national and international activities.” Corridor from the Atlantic to St Petersburg The abolishment of tax-free sales in the Kvarken Strait led to a redrawing of the map. In a decade, the number of passengers travelling over the strait plunged from an annual one million or so to 60,000. “Logistics and infrastructure are the main pillars. There’s no hope for cooperation without well-functioning connections,” Lindström explains. “That’s why we’ve opted for a major investment, which also involves Norway as a cooperation partner. The goal is to strengthen the thoroughfare running from Norway’s westernmost ports to the great hubs in Russia.” This has put the Kvarken Council in charge of big investments in expanding port capacity and marketing the “NLC Corridor concept” to a wide, international target group. “Increasing goods traffic across the Kvarken Strait will improve the business conditions for industry and boost passenger traffic in the process,” says Lindström.

The Kvarken Shortcut System project and the NLC Corridor concept are highly relevant projects aiming to boost goods traffic across the strait. gunnar bäckman EUROPEISKA UNIONEN Europeiska regionala utvecklingsfonden

Redrawing the map Umeå is closer to St Petersburg than Gothenburg. That is, if one goes across the Kvarken shortcut. “Today, transports in the west-to-east direction proceed in a lengthy and roundabout manner. Opening a route and working hard to create robust and well-functioning traffic between Vaasa and Umeå, as well as linking the inputs into logistics made in both Finland and Sweden will provide a natural passageway between the east and west,” says Lindström. c

“It is absurd that a natural passageway between two countries, between the east and west for that matter, would be the responsibility of a single business,” says Mathias Lindström. “It is time to secure and develop traffic across the Kvarken Strait.”

the kvarken council Tel. +358 6 319 5500 Business sector:  Cross-border cooperation forum for the Kvarken region. Operates as a registered association and is one of the official cross-border bodies of the Nordic Council of Ministers.


Employees: 2 full-time and 4 part-time

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Ports for regional

“We have the port at our back and our faces turned toward companies.” THE PORTS of Kokkola, Jakobstad, Vaasa and Kaskinen work daily to support the region’s success. They are vital links between companies and the outside world. Each port is genuinely interested in developing its operations and serving business and industry increasingly efficiently. “We listen closely to what customers expect of ports and how we can contribute to the region’s success,” the port directors say in unison.

ing of the port,” explains Torbjörn Witting, Director of the Port of Kokkola. He emphasises the need to look both near and far. “We are halfway along our development path. The other deep-water harbour, the Silverstone port area, is in its first development phase and is sited next to the existing one to take advantage of the 13-meter-deep fairway. It will multiply our capacity and attract more major customers,” says Witting.

Port of Kokkola breaks records

Channel dredging generates growth in Jakobstad

Kokkola, the northernmost port, is known especially for its handling of dry bulk materials. Goods traffic volumes increased over 24% in 2011, setting a new record of almost 8 million tonnes of annual cargo throughput. Growth is also expected in the future. “Our success stems from three dedicated port areas, wise investments, such as the construction and development of the deep port, as well as successful market-

The Port of Jakobstad caters especially to the forest industry and power production. It is now in the midst of an important dredging project, which will increase the depth of the channel and turnaround basin to 11 metres. Work will be concluded in 2013. “The dredged material will be used to construct eight hectares of new yard facilities. Raw material handling calls for space,”

explains Kristian Hällis, Director of the Port of Jakobstad. The deeper channel is expected to offer further growth opportunities. “It will bring us new traffic, since transport concepts always build on the channel. We’ll be seeking new opportunities jointly with the port operator and also aim to build broader concepts for new customers.” Vaasa goes for liner shipping The Port of Vaasa is a significant import harbour. In the future, it will increasingly focus on serving the region’s energy cluster, where exports account for as much as 70 per cent of turnover. Business and industry as a whole are looking for growth in maritime exports. Major investments are being made for this purpose. “We will increase our hoisting efficiency to 200 tonnes. A 20-metre-wide ramp for heavy loads has also been constructed in the port. In addition, the city is rebuild-

port of kokkola Port Authority:  Satamakatu 53 FI-67900 Kokkola, Finland


Port director: Torbjörn Witting Tel. +358 6 824 2400 Main areas:  Deep port:  Dry bulk (dark), liquid bulk General port: All-weather terminal, general cargo, containers Silverstone port:  Dry bulk (light), liquid bulk Channel depths: 13 m safety water Total quay length: 2,334 m Volume 2011: 7.2 million tonnes Open: Throughout the year

port of jakobstad Port Authority:  Laukkovägen 1 FI-68600 Pietarsaari, Finland Port director: Kristian Hällis Tel. +358 44 356 5689


Main areas: Specialised in handling pulp, sawn timber, chips, paper and mixed goods Channel depth: 9 m Total quay length: 1,250 m Volume 2011: 1.75 million tonnes Open: Throughout the year

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well-being “Cooperation between port operators is extremely important. As long as a port looks after its own infra­structure, other service providers also notice the opportunities on offer. We will continue to push ahead at full speed in the coming years,” say port directors Teijo Seppelin, Kristian Hällis, Torbjörn Witting and Timo Onnela. mats sandström

ing the Vaskiluoto bridge so the road to the port can cope with heavy loads in the future,” explains Teijo Seppelin, Director of the Port of Vaasa. The port’s vision is to become an ef-

ficient and modern port, whose services target especially the heavy and project industries. “We plan to create tailored and flexible solutions for the energy cluster.”

Kaskinen focuses on versatility The Port of Kaskinen is strong in handling forest industry products, but it also has a great deal of capacity for other traffic. “We are logistically well located. Our 9-metre-deep channel is short, so piloting fees are low. Winter conditions are also good, since we only have ice for two months or so,” says Timo Onnela, Port Captain. The port will now focus on increasing its volume. The one-kilometre quay and the 53,800-square-metre warehouses for general cargo, 53,500 cubic metres of silo storage for dry bulk and 31,300 cubic metres of tank capacity offer a host of opportunities. “We’ve got the resources needed to provide versatile service. This is why we’re also involved in North-East Cargolink, an EU project developing a transport channel between Norway, Sweden, Kaskinen and Russia.” c

jaakko j. salo

port of vaasa Port Authority:  Laivanvarustajankatu 3 FI-65170 Vaasa, Finland


Port director:  Teijo Seppelin Tel. +358 6 325 4500 +358 40 559 9652 Main areas: Passenger, oil, bulk Channel depth: 9 m Total quay length: 1,615 m Volume 2011: 1.61 million tonnes Open: Throughout the year

port of kaskinen Port Authority:  Kalasatamantie 30 FI- 64260 Kaskinen > Port of Kaskinen Port director:  Timo Onnela Tel. +358 40 726 5740


Main areas:  Specialised in handling pulp, sawn timber, chips, dry bulk, liquid bulk and mixed goods Channel depth: 9 m Total quay length: 1,100 m Volume 2011: 1.1 million tonnes Open: Throughout the year

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The new flight logistics centre will be located halfway between the airport and the Vaasa Airport Park.

Top modern flight logistics

Vaasa Parks links the business park and airport with a new flight logistics centre. together with the city of Vaasa, links them with a new flight logistics centre. The centre’s terminals will be constructed behind the plants in the Vaasa Airport Park, giving airplanes direct access to the runway. Fast service

gunnar bäckman

VAASA AIRPORT PARK has been Finland’s fastest growing business park in the 21st century. Its office and plant facilities are used by some 3,500 people, most of whom work directly or indirectly with energy technology. Passenger volumes at the airport in Vaasa have grown steeply in recent years, and the airport is now the sixth biggest in Finland. Both the airport and the Vaasa Airport Park will soon be even more attractive, when the park’s developer Vaasa Parks

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“Many companies want to establish themselves in Vaasa Airport Park to gain easy access to the top-notch technological competence of companies in the area,” explains Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma, CEO of Vaasa Parks.

“Logistics is a key competitive factor. It’s about both speed and expenses,” explains Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma, CEO of Vaasa Parks. “The products manufactured in the Vaasa region have a high price per kilogram and many of them are well suited to air freight transports. When companies service their own products, the ability to quickly ship spare parts or replacement products is crucial,” says Mäki-Lohiluoma.

Vaasa, the Merinova Technology Centre, and Wedeco, a venture capital investor. Its mission is to improve the operating conditions of companies in the region. Vaasa Parks provides business premises as well as services, such as reception, restaurants and conference rooms. “Our customers can focus on their core operations. We want it to be easy to operate and come into the Futura I-IV technology houses and other premises,” says Mäki-Lohiluoma. c

Not only Vaasa The purpose of the new flight logistics centre is to serve industry in the Vaasa region and make the region increasingly interesting to companies. However, its ­geographical location also serves companies from other regions. “All of central and northern Finland benefit from it. Flight logistics are currently concentrated in the south of the country,” says Mäki-Lohiluoma. Vaasa Parks is owned by the city of

vaasa parks oy ab Tel. +358 6 282 8228 Business sector: Development of business parks, property and facility management, marketing and rental of business premises. Turnover: €4 million Employees: 5


The logistics node

The Vaasa region’s developing logistics park connects all four modes of transport. gunnar bäckman

Everything close by Vaasa’s strength lies in its port and airfield being separated by no more than ten kilometres. The motorway and electrified railroad are also close by. “This is almost unique in Finland,” says Tuominen. The crux of it all will be the new logistics park, the Freight Village, which is slated for construction next to the airport. It will include freight terminals, as well as a railroad connection. In the long term, the area will become the centre of the region’s logistics entity and the node combining different transportation modes. Nordic Logistic Corridor

THE ENERGY CLUSTER in and around Vaasa comprises successful companies, which need good transport connections to be globally competitive. This has given rise to intensive development work, the goal being to create an entity that improves price competitiveness, quality and environmental aspects of companies’ logistics. Multimodality and intermodality are important concepts for Tommi Tuominen, Logistics Expert at the Vaasa Region Development Company, Vasek. The company is in charge of coordinating logistics development.

Both concepts involve combining and linking four modes of transport: sea, air, rail and road. “Large companies, such as Wärtsilä, need all four modes,” explains Tuominen. Today, 95 per cent of the goods exported from the Vaasa region leave the town on wheels. The future goal is to transfer more and more of the goods directly to vessels, planes and trains in Vaasa. Air logistics will be further improved through a new airport logistics centre presented on the following page.

Tommi Tuominen works as Logistics Expert at Vasek, the Vaasa Region Development Company, which coordinates the region’s logistics projects.

The port in Vaasa is another important area of development. It has traditionally been an important thoroughfare for passengers and imported fuel. It will now be adapted to the export needs of energy technology companies, among other things, by equipping it with a new and bigger crane. The Vaasa region mainly exports large general cargo, such as diesel engines and transformers. “We want to arrange regular traffic to a major European port,” says Tuominen. The route across the Kvarken Strait to Umeå in Sweden is another crucial sea connection from Vaasa. It plays a key role in linking central Sweden, central Finland, Norway and Russia – a concept known as the Nordic Logistic Corridor. c

vasek, vaasa region development company Vaasa region’s developing logistics entity enables new solutions that improve both competitiveness and environmental friendliness.

Tel. +358 6 317 7600 Business sector:  Promoting regional business, helping SMEs to grow, marketing the region, developing logistics.


Employees: 17

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Value management   Ahola Transport focuses on the whole value chain.

TODAY, THE TRANSPORT and logistics sector involves more than just moving goods from A to B. Ahola Transport wants to be at the forefront of development in the field. The prevailing trend is to deal with entire value chains. “We offer comprehensive service, including transport and logistics from the warehouse of our own customer to that of the customer’s customer. A flexible and transparent process benefits all parties,” explains CEO Hans Ahola. Ahola Transport is a family company, where the third generation of the Aholas is now at the helm. The plan is to remain a family enterprise in the foreseeable future. “We believe there is room for our kind of a company, which lives by its values – general liability, transparency and respect for the individual – also in practice.

Ahola Transport, a family company, works with direct transports and comprehensive solutions for customers’ value chains.

Attracs steers goods flows Ahola Transport’s operations are based on direct transports, involving transport hubs for optimised loading, as well as transport planners who handle each transport from beginning to end. Ahola is a strong player

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AT Special Transport handles demanding special transports based on detailed route arrangements.

in the Nordic, Baltic and East European markets. It also offers services in western and southern Europe through its cooperation partners. “We will further strengthen our position by focusing on the value chain as a whole and by introducing our customers to Attracs, a new tool for steering goods flows,” says Hans Ahola. Attracs is a customised logistics system that is based on the user’s own business

logic and links production and logistics. “Instead of using many motley systems, Attracs offers a single transparent system with dynamic routing, that is, with routes that can be adapted to changing situations, as well as real-time profitability calculation,” says Peter Grankulla, Managing Director of Attracs. Originally developed for the transport sector, the system works equally well for the logistics control of large companies,

on wheels tiina ahola

as well as for logistics planning involving three to four parties. Reliability comes first The Ahola Group stands on many legs. True to its name, AT Special Transport is an expert in particularly demanding transports in terms of size, weight and route arrangements. “Among other things, we transport bulk cargo and one-off components for industry tiina ahola

– often very valuable items. This makes complete reliability and detailed routing and scheduling a must,” says Jonas Ahola, Managing Director. Reliability, the difficult skill of fulfilling one’s promises, works well at Ahola Transport. Hans Ahola believes this is based on the Ostrobothnian culture, which values loyalty and involvement. “We follow the principle of continuous improvement, with 100 per cent of our

tiina ahola

“Our competitive advantage comes from our always aiming to keep our customer promise, and usually succeeding in it,” says Hans Ahola.

mats sandström

staff involved in strategy work. Everyone takes responsibility for developing and implementing their part of our strategy. This ensures good results in the form of dedicated employees who see the big picture,” says Hans Ahola. c

oy ahola transport ab Tel. +358 20 747 5111 Business sector:  Transport services


Turnover 2010: €87 million Employees: 190 Export: 95% Major markets: The Nordic and Baltic countries, Central and Eastern Europe Quality assurance systems:  ISO 9001, ISO 14001 Health & safety management system: OHSAS 18001

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At the park’s   KIP Service keeps the Kokkola Industrial Park rolling.

NEARLY 20 HEAVY-INDUSTRY companies toil away at the Kokkola Industrial Park. The 300-hectare area by the sea is like a world of its own, with individual services and infrastructure specially developed to meet its needs. To ensure smooth daily routines in a workplace of 2,000 people, the area’s infrastructure, security and support services are handled by a single company: KIP Service Oy. At times, the needs of heavy industry are so vast they can only be satisfied with special solutions. KIP Service’s main task is to deliver huge volumes of water to the area via tunnels running under the bay. A water supply as massive as this could not

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Port Tower serves as an impressive meeting place for the Kokkola Industrial Park and KIP Service’s numerous services. The façade of the skyscraper-like building is pure zinc.

be handled by the municipal network. “Different types of water are needed in different parts of the area. We offer surface and sea water for the cooling of industrial facilities, domestic water for everyday use and demineralized water for boilers and some production stages. Our own network also provides customer companies with district heat, steam and a ready sewage system,” explains Olli-Matti Airiola, Managing Director of KIP Service. Safe workday! The new, imposing Port Tower stands majestically at the entrance to the Kokkola Industrial Park. It is home to many of the

area’s companies. KIP Service manages the building’s security facilities, the restaurant and the eighth floor, where it leases space for the park’s companies. The Tower also has modern and inviting meeting and entertainment facilities. “Hosts can ensure the safety of visits by welcoming their guests in Port Tower. An industrial area always has factory requirements that call for special arrangements,” Olli-Matti Airiola points out. Security and surveillance are crucial in a large industrial area. KIP Service has its own firefighting equipment for fire and rescue operations, and it is in charge of the fire service, civil protection and fac-

service kokkola industrial park air liquide finland boliden kokkola cabb chemicals kemira j kokkola kip infra kip service kokkola power maintpartner neste oil nordkalk omg kokkola chemicals port of kokkola tetra chemical europe woikoski yara suomi Nearly 20 heavy-industry companies toil away at the Kokkola Industrial Park. The 300-hectare area by the sea is like a world of its own.

kip service oy Tel. +358 40 522 1979 Business sector:  Sewage, infrastructure


Turnover 2010: €8.2 million Employees: 4 mats sandström

tory fire brigade operations of KIP North. The area’s access control and security services are centrally located in Port Tower. The comprehensive maintenance services offered by KIP Service also add to the safety of workdays in the industrial park. The companies’ own insight into security, in turn, is enhanced with various regularly arranged occupational safety courses. Services for business needs KIP Service continues to develop its services to facilitate the everyday routines of customers in the Kokkola Industrial Park. The area’s own postal operations serve

as a good example of customer-oriented service development. KIP Service takes care of mail handling, sorting, distribution and collection. “Our own postal operations are more affordable to companies and offer a more user-friendly delivery timetable and faster deliveries. We deliver the mail stamped to the postal centre the very same evening,” says Airiola. The company’s own transportation ­service makes sure that people and goods are in the right place at the right time; it also accompanies visitors from the gate to the host company.

“We develop KIP Service’s offering based on the needs of companies in the industrial park. The area’s own postal service is one example of this,” explains Olli-Matti Airiola, Managing Director.

One-stop principle The Kokkola Industrial Park is an easy place to roll out industrial activities and service production. A company looking to set up shop in the area can conduct negotiations based on the one-stop principle with KIP Service, the town of Kokkola or KOSEK. Even though KIP Service has a small staff and is still a young company, its operations are based on solid insight into and decades of experience in industrial park operations. “We also have a strong cooperation network consisting of absolute top-notch players in their fields.” c

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Under the cobalt blue moon OMG Kokkola Chemicals is the biggest cobalt producer in the world. MOST PEOPLE ASSOCIATE cobalt with the colour blue. In reality, it is a metal with many unique properties. Cobalt is used to make colour pigment, as well as chemical compounds for lithium batteries, hard metals and various catalysts, among other things. The production of cobalt compounds calls for vast special skills in the chemical industry. OMG Kokkola Chemicals possesses top-notch competence in chemistry, which has made it the world’s leading cobalt producer.

OMG Kokkola Chemicals has operated for more than 40 years. It has developed its own continuous production technology, which is fully automated.

Growing production Cobalt is an element that can be used for numerous purposes. Cell-phone batteries, hard-metal tools, animal feed, blue ceramic coating, and vitamin B12, for example, all contain cobalt. Cobalt raw material is obtained as a by-product from nickel and copper production. Refining begins with a complex purification operation. “After purification, cobalt goes through a massive refining process resulting in various cobalt chemicals and powders,” explains Jöran Sopo, CEO of the company. OMG Kokkola Chemicals produces 10,000 tonnes of cobalt materials a year, with overall global consumption amounting to some 60,000 tonnes. Sopo predicts that consumption will continue to increase in the future, as the demand for batteries and hard metals grows. Quality competence opens new doors CEO Jöran Sopo has his eyes set on the future, as concerns the operations of OMG Kokkola Chemicals. In his view, quality competence is the main theme today. The company’s advanced expertise shows in the demanding production of cobalt products. “Our production technology is fully automated. Therein lies our competitive

“We have become the world’s leading cobalt producer thanks to efficient operations and the skills of our people. Our location near the port enables our operations in Kokkola,” says Jöran Sopo, CEO. mats sandström

advantage: we produce high quality efficiently,” he emphasises. In the future, OMG Kokkola Chemicals wants to invest in its own research and development organisation, which works on new products and seeks increasingly functional chemicals. “The needs and criteria of future customers will be increasingly demanding, and we want to be involved in challenging product categories. Among other things, we’re looking to enter the electric and hybrid vehicle industry where we can develop new products and produce reliable battery materials,” Sopo reveals. c

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omg kokkola chemicals oy Tel. +358 6 828 0111 Business sector: Metal-based speciality chemicals and powders Turnover 2010: €461 million Employees: 380 Export: 99% Major markets: Worldwide Management systems: Quality: ISO 9001 Environmental: ISO 14001 Health and safety: OHSAS 18001 Parent Company: OM Group Inc.


On top of the zinc world Boliden Kokkola refines a metal vital to both steel and humans.

esa melametsä

ZINC IS A NATURAL METAL, which Boliden Kokkola obtains as a concentrate from mines around the world. To refine concentrates into high-quality zinc you need vast expertise, long experience and advanced production technology. Boliden Kokkola, one of the world’s largest zinc plants, has all these. A large share of the concentrates used at the Kokkola zinc plant originates from the Boliden Group’s own mines in Sweden and Ireland. In addition to Kokkola, Boliden has a zinc plant in Odda, in Norway. “Our plant refines concentrates into pure or alloyed zinc. Our annual production capacity in Kokkola is slightly over 300,000 tonnes of zinc,” says Jarmo Herronen, General Manager. Zinc extends lives The biggest customer group of Boliden Kokkola consists of steel plants that make products such as plates for vehicle superstructures. The company’s customers also include hot-dip galvanisers that use zinc to coat lighting poles, fences, trailers and highway railings. “Zinc is a vital corrosion protection for steel. Steel as such withstands corrosion only a few years, but if galvanised, it resists rust anywhere from 50 to 100 years,” says Herronen.

He knows that zinc is also essential to all living organisms. This is why Boliden supports Zinc Saves Kids, an initiative of the International Zinc Association (IZA), in support of UNICEF’s zinc supplementation programmes for children in developing countries who suffer from malnutrition and diarrhoea.

Process Operator Mikko Koivisto, Production Manager Jens Nyberg and Foundry Manager Manu Myllymäki all contribute to ensuring the quality of operations meets customer.

Modern production Boliden Kokkola has invested in advanced and environmentally efficient production. mats sandström

“Zinc is an important nutrient for our health. Its deficiency affects small children in particular. In this respect, Boliden Kokkola is a natural assistant, which is why we are strongly committed to UNICEF’s Zinc Saves Kids campaign,” explains Jarmo Herronen.

The heat generated in production processes is utilised in other production facilities and in urban district heating networks. The sulphuric acid generated as a byproduct of zinc production is also put to good use. “We have owned a sulphuric acid plant since 2010, and can provide the raw material for it on our own,” explains Herronen. The plant has been developed goal-­orientedly for decades, and the direct leaching method used for zinc concentrate, for example, was developed in Kokkola. “Thanks to our highly skilled personnel we will be able to further develop production into a more modern and energy-­ efficient direction,” says Herronen with pride in his voice. c

boliden kokkola oy Tel. +358 6 828 6111 Business sector: Zinc production Turnover 2010: €211 million Employees: 520


Export: 85% Major markets: EU

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The intelligent code

UpCode integrates information and saves customers money.

Fewer systems “A company may have 20, 30, even 40 systems – a hospital as many as 120 systems – that don’t interact with each other,” says Sture Udd. “UpCode can replace many of them. The goal, of course, should be a single system, but that is not always possible for one or another reason.” UpCode began by simply offering scanning of 2D or QR codes with mobile phones. This takes the user to a website with product information, media content, schedules, route information, tourist information and so on. UpCode continues to be a major player in this highly competitive sector. However, the company’s focus of development is on increasingly smart and integrated solutions. “We’re talking about intelligent scanning, I-scanning. In other words, a single code can mean different things depending on where and who you are,” Udd explains. Eliminating typing “Another advantage we emphasise is the elimination of typing. For example, when you fetch an item from the warehouse, you spend 20 to 40 per cent of the time on the computer, simply keying in what you’ve taken. In addition, 20 per cent of what people type has proved to be incorrect and up to 5 per cent seriously wrong or outright fraudulent. It’s obvious that this leads to huge expenses, which can be reduced by using intelligent code scanning instead of typing,” says Udd. UpCode is a part of the UPC Group, a leading media and printing house in Vaasa. c

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It began as an easily accessible way to obtain product information and media content. In just a few years, though, UpCode has taken off to whole new sectors and all new fields of use. Warehousing, logistics, access control, production reporting and production management are just a few examples of the purposes to which UpCode is suited.

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UpCode offers integrated solutions for many business purposes. “We offer you 20 per cent savings,” says Sture Udd, Managing Director of UpCode, in his sales pitch.

However, the biggest profits come from using UpCode to handle information and make systems that do not communicate with one another more efficient. “We offer you 20 per cent savings. That’s our strongest argument when clinching deals,” says Sture Udd, Managing Director of UpCode.

upcode Tel. +358 6 321 8000 Business sector: Communication Turnover: €23 million Employees: 100 Export: 50% Major markets:  Europe, the USA, Asia, South America


Protecting your innovations Kolster offers one-stop service for all IPR transactions.

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KOLSTER CHARACTERISES itself as a department store for IPR services, with IPR standing for Intellectual Property Rights. What it means is the company works as a consultant, providing assistance in all matters related to immaterial rights. “What we do is protect and manage the intellectual property of our clients. We have expanded our operations so that companies can now turn to us in all questions involving IPR,” explains Timo Kuosmanen, Unit Manager for Vaasa and a European Patent Attorney. Håkan Niemi, European Patent Attorney, lists inventions, design rights, trademarks and domain names as examples of IP matters. “Among other things, Kolster helps clients draw up IP contracts and strategies. One of our main tasks is to develop IP assets into valuable competitive tools for the business of customer companies,” he explains. Design right supports business Protecting an invention or product gives a major competitive advantage in business.

According to Niemi and Kuosmanen, exclusive right should be sought immediately for anything worth protecting. Exclusive right to one’s own product gives greater leeway in the market, since it is the only permissible way to restrict competition. “When a company’s IP matters are taken care of, its market value is also up-to-date. IP assets are proof of innovation and they are advantageous in for example marketing,” says Kuosmanen. Design rights apply to product appearance and the like, while trademarks protect logos and slogans. “When building a brand strategy, you must pay attention to the way the logo is used, among other things.” Finland’s most experienced IPR expert Founded way back in 1874, Kolster is Finland’s most experienced professional specialised in industrial rights. The office in Vaasa provides local service to all sectors of business and industry. It also has access to the company’s worldwide cooperation network.

“Kolster is a versatile department store for IPR matters. We offer consultation in all questions related to immaterial rights,” say Timo Kuosmanen and Håkan Niemi.

“Any company that engages in business will come across immaterial rights at some point. The earlier a company puts its IP matters into shape, the more flexibly it can operate on the market. While we do help companies in potential dispute resolutions, the easiest way to avoid conflicts is to use Kolster’s services in advance,” Kuosmanen points out. c

kolster oy Tel. +358 6 318 8200 Business sector: IP Consultation Turnover 2011: €22 million


Employees: 170; 60 of them IP consultants

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The green law firm 75-year-old Roschier is an expert in environmental and energy law.

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FINLAND’S LEADING LAW FIRM, Roschier, has always been a frontrunner. It is an integral feature of the corporate culture, which goes back to the founder, Åke RoschierHolmberg. No wonder, then, that Roschier is now pioneering the Green Economy and Energy (GEE) practice area. GEE is a multifaceted field of law, which requires full command of, for example, environmental, competition, technology, public and corporate law. The practice area also calls for solid competence in both EU and national legislation. Roschier’s office in Vaasa is a key player in GEE. “The Vaasa region is a Nordic leader in energy technology, and we have expanded our competence in the field jointly with our clients from the region’s energy cluster,” explains Stefan Wikman, Partner at Roschier, Head of the Vaasa office and one of the firm’s GEE experts. “We have deep insight into the legal needs and matters of the sector, and above all, we understand our clients’ business logic.”

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Roschier’s office in Vaasa houses eight employees, four of whom are lawyers with wide legal expertise in public contract law, corporate advisory, as well as mergers and acquisitions. From the left: Stefan Wikman, Elina Peltokorpi, Kim Åstrand, Leena Lilius and Essi Kärkkäinen.

Local presence Roschier is now growing rapidly also in Sweden. With offices in Helsinki, Stockholm and Vaasa, the firm also works in close cooperation with Raidla Lejins & Norcous in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This joint network, the RR Alliance, comprises 250 lawyers overall. The Vaasa office operates both locally and globally. “Clients value local presence, and our offices give them access to our whole network of lawyers and all their special competences. The lawyers in Vaasa work with local clients in the Vaasa, Seinäjoki and Kokkola-Pietarsaari regions, but we also contribute to the entire network with our special knowledge of different business sectors and practice areas,” explains Wikman. Trusted advisor Lawyers these days are not just lawyers, they are trusted advisors. “Earlier, you provided clients mainly with court representation. These days, what we actually do is business consulting.

A law firm is a persuasive framework, a label of quality. You have to be accepted by the community, and the sector is regulated. Most importantly, Roschier is a totally independent advisor and has no connections with other interests. We emphatically focus on law,” says Stefan Wikman. c

roschier Founded in 1936 (Vaasa 1994) Business sector: Legal services Turnover: €52.4 million (fiscal 06/2010–05/2011) Employees: Approx. 270, over 150 of them lawyers Major markets:  The Nordic and Baltic countries


Finance for the future Wedeco Management enables business growth and success.

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WEDECO MANAGEMENT is a Vaasa-based venture capital investor that has supported the growth and success of over 80 Ostrobothnian companies over the years. The company’s funds hold around 40 million euros and its resources saw steep growth in 2011. “We teamed up with Teknoventure Management from Oulu and established a new venture capital enterprise, Noweco Partners, which is now the parent of both of us. Joining forces enables us to develop target companies and set up a new venture capital fund,” explains CEO Keijo Kangasluoma. Tools for board work When Wedeco Management steps in as a minority or majority owner through a VC investment, it makes all its expertise available to the company in question. However, instead of participating in operational management, it is involved in board work. “We provide the board of directors with a set of tools we’ve developed to clarify procedures,” says Kangasluoma. These include complete models for Senior Advisor activities, board agendas and selfevaluation forms. The company also offers an online archiving and reporting system for boards of directors, as well as a strategy workbook and weekly reporting. “Our Senior Advisor team comprises 11 experts, who help companies through their long and invaluable experience,” Kangasluoma explains. Partner for growth-oriented companies Wedeco Management continues to look for new investments in Western Finland. It is, for example, interested in supplying the capital required for acquisitions, internationalisation or other business arrangements. “What we value very highly in a company is professional and committed management. Operations must be well organised and responsibilities shouldered by more than one person. We also expect the company’s past profitability to be at least satisfactory,” says Kangasluoma. According to him, the venture capitalist is more than just a new owner for companies. It also makes companies more self-sufficient, helps them obtain debt financing, improves their credit rating and risk capacity and, most importantly, enables the company to grow faster. c

oy wedeco management ab Tel. +358 6 316 5800 Business sector: Venture capital


“Wedeco Management has solidified its position by joining forces with Teknoventure Management. We invest broadly in different sectors, usually in companies with a turnover in excess of 2.5 million euros,” explains CEO Keijo Kangasluoma.

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Viexpo helps small and medium-sized companies establish themselves abroad.

ABC of export

Viexpo offers practical guidance and expertise in export. VIEXPO IS ONE of the country’s leading organisers in the field of joint exports. Backed by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Viexpo functions as an expert and counsellor for small and medium-sized companies looking to take a step closer to international markets. “First of all, you’ve got to do your homework well. Proper preparation makes it easier for companies to get it right and establish themselves on new markets,” says Mikael Kvist, Managing Director. “We offer help with everything from market research and trade fair participation to the hiring of a joint export manager for a small group of companies in the same sector.” Four steps towards internationalisation Mikael Kvist lists four steps preceding market establishment. “Thorough market research is the first step. From there, we move on to fact finding, which could involve visiting trade fairs and sounding out local conditions. Companies then take part in a fair with their own stand in order to launch their product, and the last stage involves the creation of an export network.”

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al density certainly shows in our statistics, since half of our clients come from Central Ostrobothnia and Ostrobothnia.” In terms of their products, Finnish companies offer extremely high quality. “Problems in international establishment are usually related to poor marketing and too low and humble a profile,” says Kvist. “Our assistance and reasonably set targets give companies every chance to succeed.” c mats sandström

“Successful international establishment hinges on proper preparatory work. There’s no point in rushing ahead without a watertight plan,” says Mikael Kvist.

The goal at this point is for companies to be established and independent and have their own distributors, retailers or subsidiary. “Viexpo also offers consultation and language services,” says Kvist.


Applicable concept

Närpes office Tel. +358 50 342 1091

Agricultural machinery, as well as the metal and boatbuilding industries, are now hot sectors ready to expand. According to Kvist, the export concept can be applied in any sector. “We attract companies from all around Finland, but Ostrobothnia’s entrepreneuri-

Headquarters in Jakobstad Tel. +358 6 781 6440 Kokkola office Tel. +358 6 832 6440 Vaasa office Tel. +358 6 319 9250

020636 Business sector:  Assistance in international trade for small and medium-sized companies. Employees: 11

Development and growth Finnvera offers financing for business establishment and internationalisation.

around one-third involve start-up processes. The remaining two-thirds are related to growth companies and companies going international, which naturally account for a large share in terms of money. Finnvera also provides venture capital products through its seed fund to strengthen the capital of early stage innovative companies.” Besides that, Finnvera also offers exporters and their financiers internationally competitive solutions to hedge against export and project risks. Needed in difficult times During the recent economic crisis, Finnvera has offered counter-cyclical loans and guarantees to struggling companies. To receive such financing, the funded company must have the potential for profitable business once the economy picks up. “Our services are needed especially in difficult times. Counter-cyclical loans can be granted as working capital to secure liquidity or to fund investments that will help to assure competitiveness. They cannot be used to repay existing loans and commitments to Finnvera or other financiers. Counter-cyclical loans and guarantees will be available until the end of 2012,” Erickson promises. Finnvera began financing export credits at the beginning of 2012. “The objective of the new export financing model is to ensure the competitiveness of Finnish exporters. The model is intended for the arrangement of financing for foreign customers who purchase Finnish capital goods.” According to Erickson, Ostrobothnia has weathered the downturn relatively well. “The region and its energy sector are very innovative and export-driven and have not taken as deep a plunge as many others. In many ways, this region is a front runner in the world.” c

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Finnvera is a specialised financing company owned by the State of Finland. It grants loans, offers guarantees and makes venture capital investments in domestic companies. Finnvera is Finland’s official Export Credit Agency (ECA). “Our operations are guided by the state-set goals for industry and ownership policies. These include increasing start-up business activities, enabling financing for SMEs undergoing changes, as well as promoting the growth, internationalisation and exports of companies,” explains John

Erickson, Vice President, Western Finland, from Finnvera’s regional office in Vaasa. Finnvera finances entrepreneurial activities that are based on a good business idea and meet the criteria for profitable operations if the company’s own resources or collateral are insufficient for acquiring funding on the commercial market. Venture capital provider One of Finnvera’s main tasks is to offer financing assistance at the start-up phase. “In terms of the number of projects,

“Finnvera offers loans, guarantees, risk capital and export credit guarantees to boost the competitiveness of Finnish companies,” says John Erickson.

Tel. +358 204 6011 Business sector:  Risk financing for small and medium-sized companies and export credit guarantees


Regional offices: 15 Outstanding commitments arising from export credit guarantees and special guarantees (current commitments and offers given) in Q2/2011: €9.5 billion. Outstanding domestic commitments (loans and guarantees) in Q2/2011:  €3.1 billion (the Vaasa office €239 million) Employees: 400 (the Vaasa office 13) Customers in Q2/2011:  29,700 enterprises (the Vaasa office 1,810)

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The ELY Centre offers comprehensive services for both small and big companies and is involved in every stage from developing business ideas to helping companies reach out to international markets.

Creating opportunities The ELY Centre seeks innovations and initiatives. THE GOAL of Kaj Suomela, Director of the ELY Centre in Vaasa, is to find enterprising people with an innovative business idea that could both create jobs in the region and succeed out in the world. “We constantly keep our eyes out for entrepreneurs with a new philosophy. It is naturally in our interest to support ideas with the potential to employ masses. As for

innovative approaches, we can contribute with many more resources, as long as we find the right idea and entrepreneur,” he explains. Developing the countryside and cities

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According to Kaj Suomela, the ELY Centre has the resources to invest in new and innovative business ideas. “We constantly keep our eyes out for entrepreneurs with a new philosophy.”

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The ELY Centre supports the region’s companies from cradle to grave. “We aim to help companies grow and do well. This means we are responsible for every type of business support and help companies sell the actual product. We hope to see international and outwardoriented entrepreneurship in our region,” says Suomela, who considers Ostrobothnia to be a vigorous environment for entrepreneurial activities. “We are located in the middle of a versatile region that is considerably more industrialised than the country on average.” Vaasa boasts an energy and technology cluster, while Pietarsaari is known for pulp and paper, as well as metal companies and small enterprises. Kokkola, in the north, is home to the chemical, metal and metallurgical industries, while southern Ostrobothnia is characterised by its greenhouse sector.

In support of youth culture Maintaining a vital Ostrobothnia, but above all offering a dynamic environment for young people, are other primary goals for the ELY Centre. “We naturally want young people to return here and therefore try to ensure that the region offers opportunities and visions,” says Suomela. “This means we boost the things that are important if people are to enjoy themselves and feel good. We help to maintain sports facilities in good condition, promote services needed by families with children, and advance cultural and after-work activities in communities.” c

the ely centre (centre for economic development, transport and the environment) Tel. +358 20 636 0140 Business sector: Promoting entrepreneurship, the functioning of labour market, preservation of a vital countryside, competence and cultural activities Employees: 130


Renewing business by design Muova helps companies identify future product and service opportunities.

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TO SUCCEED in stiffer international competition, companies need increasingly innovative and desirable solutions that are meaningful to customers. In continuously changing markets, it is important to understand what produces value to customers. Design offers ways to identify business opportunities in both the short and long run. It is used to develop products and services that produce value to customers and the company. Renewing power of design Design is an expanding field used to solve increasingly complex issues. Future product and service opportunities can be identified through product visioning, which is based on forecasting and conceptual design. At its best, product visioning can renew the entire sector. “In the WAVE project, for example, we developed a product visioning method that enables SMEs in the boating industry to forecast changes in consumer behaviour and utilise them in their own product development,” says Janne Pekkala, concept designer and researcher. Service design is a comprehensive and interdisciplinary development process that aims to provide customers with a

meaningful service experience, a uniform service path and convenient contact points. Transformation design is an approach used to answer complex social challenges. “One of the goals of the VET Combo project is to renew value networks that produce information and communication services concerning water ecosystems,” says Sanna Peltonen, describing transformation design. The diverse nature of design manifests itself in a unique philosophy and operating procedure – design thinking. It refers to creative, comprehensive and user-oriented design that aims to find the sources of problems and create several alternative solutions. Solutions are expressed as concrete descriptions, models and prototypes. “At its best, design thinking runs through the entire company culture, with research, inspiration, the creation of ideas and implementation following each other in a continuous flow,” explains Miia Lammi, Development Manager. Renewing companies Western Finland Design Centre MUOVA is a research and development centre, which supports the competitiveness of Finnish

Muova’s multi­ disciplinary expert team provides companies with tools for renewal. “Why not pop in for a cup of coffee, so we can jointly talk about how we might be of help,” say Annika Hissa, Janne Pekkala, Miia Lammi, Pirkka Åman and Sanna Peltonen.

companies through design. Muova aims at renewing companies and industries with transformation design, product and service design and visioning. The goal of research projects is to find procedures that help companies succeed in the long run. Development and training projects spread the procedures into different sectors. Muova’s business services apply research competence to revamp the innovation activities of individual companies. “We want to make design thinking a part of companies’ routines,” says Annika Hissa, summing up Muova’s role in the world of design. c

western finland design centre muova Aalto University School of Art and Design and University of Vaasa Wolffintie 36 F 11 FI-65200 Vaasa, Finland


Tel. +358 50 568 5863 Business sector:  Research, education and development Employees: 15

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Smooth networking

West Finland European Office promotes the west coast’s interests in Brussels. EVER SINCE FINLAND became an EU member in 1995, the regions in western Finland have had their own Brussels-based office, known as West Finland European Office, dedicated to promoting the regions’ interests. The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia finances the office jointly with three other regions, and Chief Executive Olav Jern believes the money is well invested. “Our member municipalities sometimes wonder about the benefits of the work, since concrete results are not that easy to detect. However, I’m convinced it is worthwhile being present where decisions are made. More than anything, it pays off to work with the long term in mind,” says Jern.

Four regions in western Finland have had their own Brussels-based office, known as West Finland European Office, ever since Finland became an EU member in 1995.

Versatile operations The office has been managed for many years by Kjell Nybacka, accompanied by two other employees. “I agree that a long-term approach is crucial to successful operations. My first year went learning what was essential. Because of the huge amount of information, you’re forced to prioritise many things. It also takes time to develop personal contacts,” says Nybacka. West Finland European Office deals with all kinds of questions, ranging from salmon quotas to educational cooperation and transport policy matters. “We currently focus on serving business and industry and on supporting our fields of strength. As concerns the Vaasa region, much of this involves energy technology. The EU’s 20-20-20 objective makes the region very interesting, since it is home to several companies that supply energy-saving solutions. Together with EnergyVaasa, we co-operate to increase the region’s visibility in Brussels and on the European stage.” Prosperous region West Finland European Office also functions as a contact forum for companies and

“It pays off to be present in Brussels,” say Olav Jern and Kjell Nybacka. ”It is very rewarding when you succeed in influencing decisions important to our region.” gunnar bäckman

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institutions visiting Brussels. It can involve simple things like tips on facilities suitable for seminars to meetings with crucial experts in the EU Commission. Cooperation also works the other way round: “Since we’re beginning to enjoy a good reputation as a well-to-do region, it is easier and easier to attract EU bigwigs to various seminars and events arranged in western Finland.” The Lisbon Treaty has made Kjell Nybacka’s work even more challenging. “With the Parliament now playing a bigger role, it is essential to also work with MPs in addition to the Commission and Council of Ministers. It is very rewarding when cooperation functions well and you succeed in influencing decisions important to our region.” c

west finland european office Tel. +32 2 286 9081 Business sector:  Promotion of common interests for western Finland.


Employees: 3

regional council of ostrobothnia Tel. +358 6 320 6500 Business sector: Regional council for 16 municipalities and towns. Regional development and spatial planning. Distribution of regional funding for the development of the region’s business. International matters and contacts. Turnover: €5 million Employees: 30

Long-term partners, VAKK and the region’s industry and commerce engage in flexible cooperation. VAKK aims to offer education and development solutions that contribute to the entire region’s success.

Best in practice

The Adult Education Centre in Vaasa creates expertise for the energy cluster. THE VAASA ADULT EDUCATION CENTRE (VAKK) offers vocational education and training to adults. VAKK aims to deepen professional skills and provide the region’s companies with a practically oriented, skilled workforce. Students can obtain vocational upper-secondary, further vocational or specialist vocational qualifications and short-term courses in various fields. VAKK offers self-motivated education, labour-market training, apprenticeships, personnel development and joint-purchase training arranged in cooperation by the employer and state. “Our educational offering focuses on the sectors most important to the region, such as energy technology and the social and health sector. We contribute to the development of the region’s business life. Since our energy cluster sorely needs new skilled personnel, we have made big inputs into our technology campus,” explains Principal Pirjo Kauhanen. Brand new technology campus Kauhanen and Olavi Mäntylä, Director of the technology sector, are pleased with VAKK’s new technology campus, which houses electrical engineering, information technology, machining, welding and building engineering. The City of Vaasa, the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia

also acquired a five-axle machining centre, new machine tools and an FMS system, which automates production,” says Mäntylä. Fruitful cooperation

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(through the European Regional Development Fund), VAKK and the Vaasa Vocational Institute have jointly invested in the construction of an effective learning environment. Thanks to new purchases, students learn to professionally use the latest and most modern equipment. The new equipment also enables VAKK to offer training specifically targeted to individual companies. “For example, we have a new centralised coolant and chip conveyor system that improves the occupational safety at plants and reduces fork-lift transports. We have

“VAKK wants to be a national leader in the provision of practical training for the energy cluster,” say Pirjo Kauhanen and Olavi Mäntylä, standing in front of the centralised coolant and chip conveyor system.

Companies appreciate VAKK’s inputs into its practical learning environment. Close cooperation and interaction with business life will continue in the future. The Vaasa local association of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises recognised VAKK as the 2011 partner of the year on 26 November 2011. “We develop education according to the needs of companies. These days, in addition to content skills, employees must also have international and interaction skills, as well as insight into project work. The development perspective is also important to employees carrying out practical work,” Kauhanen and Mäntylä point out. c

vakk Tel. +358 40 727 8898 Business sector:  Vocational training for adults Students: 4,200 /year and 1,400 /day


Employees: 110

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Extensive development work carried out by CENTRIA has resulted in a robot known as Kaveri (“Mate”), featuring a great number of sensors and artificial intelligence. The robot is designed to assist the elderly or people with disabilities at home or in care homes.

Developing regional business CENTRIA offers companies the services of its 100 experts. CENTRIA is the innovation, research and development unit of the Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences (COU). Regional CENTRIA units operate in a networked fashion at each of the University’s campuses. All activities are based on the region’s business needs. “We are involved in various publicly funded research and development projects that serve the region’s companies extensively. We also offer fee-based services to individual players,” explains Lasse Jansson, CENTRIA’s R&D Director.

“CENTRIA’s activities comprise applied research and development, versatile service operations, project competence and education,” says Lasse Jansson.

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Three focal areas

Strong support to business

CENTRIA is heavily focused on three areas, in which COU offers superior competence and education. “Our main fields comprise the development of industrial processes and production technology, as well as distributed and wireless systems in the field of ICT. In addition, we offer multiprofessional well-being and cultural services, as well as service business competence,” Jansson explains. Most of CENTRIA’s services assist the region’s strong chemical industry and process and break-bulk industries. “We always do what customers request of us. For example, we often help them with product, service or production development,” says Jansson.

CENTRIA is annually involved in as many as 100 projects, jointly carried out with companies and organisations in the region. It is supported by a wide and professional staff consisting of 100 researchers. In addition to researchers, COU’s students occasionally participate in research and development tasks. Businesses show great trust in ­CENTRIA’s expertise. According to Jansson, activities in the past year have involved up to 800 cooperation companies located in CENTRIA’s home region, stretching from Jakobstad to Ylivieska. The unit sometimes caters to customers from other parts of Finland as well. Jansson hopes the region’s success will continue

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to be boosted in close cooperation with various parties. “Our goal in CENTRIA is to advance business. Companies must promote their operations and increase their sales and turnover. This is vital to our society,” ­Jansson emphasises c

centria Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Business sector:  Research and development Turnover 2009: €7 million Employees: 100


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COU’s global projects provide students with valuable experience in international business. This belief is shared by business students Marika Korkia-aho, Juuso Kautiainen and Petra Komulainen.

Students go global

The Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences aims at global competence. The Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences (COU) educates, develops and does research. It possesses competence in six fields and has campuses in three towns: Kokkola, Ylivieska and Jakobstad. COU aims to profile itself, among other things, as an internationally oriented university of applied sciences. Principal lecturers Marko Forsell and Irja Leppisaari, as well as Niklas Kankkonen, international relations officer, are enthusiastic – and for a reason. “We’re launching and running several projects that increase the global competence of students,” says Kankkonen. Establishment in the USA Marko Forsell, PhD (Econ.), is at the helm of a project that aims to make it easier for companies to establish themselves in the USA. Beginning in autumn 2012, the year-long project will involve three to five companies considering such a move. COU’s students are closely involved in the undertaking, which will also have participants from Tallinn University in Estonia, San Diego State University in the USA and CETYS University in Mexico. “The project also includes student exchange between Europe and North America. Both regions have teams, and around six students of each switch places and get to

create new contacts and collect valuable information from one another’s regions. At the end, students draw up a business development plan for the other continent,” explains Forsell. He believes the project will provide both the students and companies with a great deal of new information. “I’m sure the results will offer good support to decisions concerning establishment.” South Korea as a cooperation country Principal lecturer Irja Leppisaari, PhD (Education), is in charge of an EU mobility project, which also aims to increase global competence. In this context, COU coordinates four European higher education institutions participating in the joint cooperation project, which also involves three South Korean universities financed by the South Korean Ministry of Education. “A total of 40 students will participate in exchange programmes between the EU and South Korea. Student exchange is working life-oriented, practical learning linked to everyday operations,” says Leppisaari. South Korea, experiencing strong growth, is an interesting cooperation country and expected to be of great future benefit.

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“We aim at setting up a Global Education study module, which will make our international student affairs and business cooperation increasingly efficient,” say Irja Leppisaari, Marko Forsell and Niklas Kankkonen.

“Students’ working life skills will strengthen and the region’s international competence will increase. More­over, contacts often lead to new, high-quality projects,” says Kankkonen, in conclusion. c

central ostrobothnia university of applied sciences Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Business sector:  Higher education


Degree programmes:  7 taught in English, 20 in Finnish Employees: 300 Students: 3,300

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The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia has developed a national study path model for transferring from the upper secondary level to higher education.

Diverse expertise producer The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia creates synergy. THE FEDERATION OF EDUCATION in Central Ostrobothnia develops the region’s working life and satisfies the competence needs of companies. Owned by 14 municipalities, the education and development organisation pursues development projects and offers multidisciplinary education to young people and adults. Its education programmes and development projects are annually attended by some 4,000 students. “We listen closely to the needs of companies in this region and take a workinglife-oriented approach to educating students,” explains Education Director Liisa Sadeharju. International know-how The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia provides vocational uppersecondary education at six units located in Kokkola and the surrounding region. Internationality is important to it. “EU project funding makes exchange programmes accessible to any of our students interested in them. We now have 250 students annually doing their work practice abroad, making themselves increasingly attractive employees to Ostrobothnian companies,” explains Teija Tuunila, Manager of International Activities. The Federation of Education has coop-

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“We aim at 20 per cent of our students carrying out their practical training abroad,” say Liisa Sadeharju and Teija Tuunila.

eration partners in 38 countries, where students can acquire international knowhow. The most beneficial areas are those that have a business and service structure similar to Ostrobothnia as well as existing links to the region’s companies. “Students who have studied and worked abroad boost regional and international synergy,” says Tuunila. Business development The Federation’s adult education and projects develop the business of the

region’s companies. Around 3,000 enterprises are involved in work-based learning projects. The Federation annually carries out some 80 EU projects, half of which aim to improve the employment and operating conditions of the region’s enterprises. Education programmes are designed and organised for individual sectors and based on demand. “For example, we arranged a development project for the region’s metal businesses, which focuses on the quality system, product development and new technology,” explains Sadeharju. She also believes the region faces a bright future. “The Federation’s development activities provide the region with new competence, efficiency, operating models and technologies.” c

the federation of education in central ostrobothnia Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Fax +358 6 825 2009 Business sector:  Vocational education, adult education and development projects Students: 4,000 Employees: 599


Novia is focusing more and more on tailored education for companies. Group discussions and the interchange of experiences are often more important than traditional lectures.

Lifelong learning

Novia offers fast and flexible continuing education to people in working life.

In today’s world, it is more and more common for people to go through several careers in their lifetime. This has also increased the need for fast and flexible continuing education for those already in working life. Novia University of Applied Sciences is therefore boosting its offering of tailored education for businesses. “Our strategy is to grow in this field. What it means for us is building a flexible organisation that enables us to quickly meet educational demands. Companies can rarely afford to wait; their needs must be attended to here and now,” says President Örjan Andersson.

tivity and mindfulness can lead to brand new results. At the moment, we are piloting training of this kind among our own personnel,” says Smeds-Furu. Alongside work Novia also offers Master’s education to people active in working life. The education is designed so it can, and should, be completed alongside work. “The education includes development work, which deals with real-life matters and is carried out at one’s own workplace. The concept of integrating work and learning in this way has been a success,” Andersson explains. c

Meeting point Companies today are under pressure to constantly adapt to a changing environment and to deliver better products faster. This has increased the need for training focused on optimising company processes and organisational communication. As a result, the popularity of courses in topics such as lean production and product development, project management and change communication is on the rise. Different types of management and leadership modules are still very popular among companies as well. “We bring together people from different sectors so they can exchange valuable

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experiences. It’s more about arranging a meeting point for fruitful group discussions than offering traditional lectures,” explains Lena Smeds-Furu, Deputy Director at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, a joint educational unit of Novia and Åbo Akademi University. Novia offers a wide range of basic degree studies in culture. This is a field that can be increasingly incorporated into business modules in the future. “One of the current trends is to involve both body and soul in management and leadership training. An emphasis on crea-

“The skills and knowledge accumulated through company training programmes must be spread downward all the way to basic education,” say Lena SmedsFuru and Örjan Andersson.

novia university of applied sciences Tel. +358 6 328 5000 Business sector:  Education, research and development services


Students: 4,000 Employees: 420 Certificates: ISO 9001, ISO 14001

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YA Vocational Education and Training plans to actively seek partnership agreements with various companies. First in line is Vacon, which manufactures variable-speed AC drives.

A win-win idea YA! and Vacon engage in a unique training partnership. YA! VOCATIONAL EDUCATION and training educates young people and adults for various professions, but it also aims at contributing to the region’s development on a more general level. Which is why YA’s Managing principal Mika Jylhä immediately caught on when Vacon, an AC-drive manu-

facturer, was looking for a cooperation partner in the field of education. “This is a form of cooperation in which both parties benefit greatly from one another. YA’s goal is to set up similar partnerships with other companies in the future,” says Jylhä.

mikko lehtimäki

Educating customers

Hasse Berglund (on the left) is one of the YA teachers who will begin educating Vacon’s customers. In the foreground, Managing principal Mika Jylhä, and behind him, on the right, Mats Österman from Vacon.

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In practice, Vacon will first teach YA’s staff to understand and to use AC drives, after which YA! can begin to educate Vacon’s customers in Sweden and Finland. “AC drives are complex instruments. There’s a continuous need to train our customers, but we don’t always have enough of our own resources available. Moreover, YA has real pedagogic competence,” says Mats Österman, Vacon’s Global Training Manager. He is very pleased with the cooperation agreement. “We hope YA! can function as a kind of education department for us. We have similar agreements with other educational institutions in many countries.” Modern technology For YA!, cooperation means additional income from customer training, as well as insight into cutting-edge technology in the field.

“The idea is that the competence acquired in AC drives will spread throughout our organisation all the way to basic education. It will also benefit Vacon, in view of future recruiting,” says Jylhä. Cooperation of this kind between public educational institutions and companies is not all that common in Finland. “Vacon opted for it because we want to be open to our surroundings. In the long run, I believe it will be to our advantage,” says Mats Österman. Mika Jylhä adds, “The future school must increasingly open up to the rest of society. It must be broad-minded and seek new models for cooperation.” c

ya! vocational education and training Tel. +358 6 324 2000 Business sector:  Vocational education Full-time students: 2,500 Students in intensive courses: 4,500 Employees: 300 Budget: €30 million


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Students on bachelor level at Hanken have a period abroad in the form of studies or internship built into their study programme. The University is the first in Finland to introduce such a requirement.

International future Hanken first in Finland to include a compulsory stay abroad. AT HANKEN SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS, international studies, or international internships, are a mandatory part of bachelor level education and built into the study programme. The University also hosts a large number of exchange students from different parts of the world. “The Vaasa region accounts for a large part of the country’s exports and international business. Our industries have a great need for competent employees, who are well versed in several languages but are also used to getting along in unfamiliar environments,” says Sören Kock, Professor and Dean at the University’s Vaasa campus. “The experiences that our students bring back home are of both direct and indirect significance.” Open doors to the surrounding world Asia now carries the future in its hands, and many young people choose to conduct their international studies in either China or India. English is the language of study. “English is used today as both a study and work language. We offer around 50 per cent of our instruction in English, which is also the work language of many large companies in the Vaasa region,” explains Kock. “We prepare our students for international

“As long as educational institutions can provide companies with a competent and versatile workforce, jobs in the region are safe,” says Sören Kock, Rector of the Hanken School of Economics in Vaasa.

In the region’s best interest Sören Kock feels cautiously confident about the future. “Our region is strong, but it is imperative that we supply companies with the competence and knowledge they need. Should the day arrive that the region can no longer provide a sufficient number of employees, companies will transfer their operations elsewhere – say to India or other parts of Asia. For us as a university, it is extremely important to ensure our education is of superior quality and to maintain a high international profile. In this way, we work with the region’s best interest in mind.” c

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careers in a global economy. It is vital to keep all their doors open.” The Hanken School of Economics engages in wide and well-established cooperation with many universities on all continents. The most popular placements are decided on basis of study performance during the first two years at the University. “We also have what are known as Free Movers, who arrange their time abroad independently. The minimum duration for international studies is 18 weeks, but many choose to stay much longer than that,” says Kock.

hanken school of economics Tel. +358 6 353 3700 Business sector:  Education and research


Students: 2,347 (Vaasa 446) Doctoral students: 164 (Vaasa 29) Employees: 222 (Vaasa 46) Accreditations: EQUIS, Associations of MBAs Certification systems: FINHEEC, PRME

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Teamwork makes  Vaasa University and University of Applied Sciences create regional expertise.

THE UNIVERSITY of Vaasa and the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences are more than the sum of their parts. They have determinedly deepened their teamwork, the mission of both schools being to serve the region’s business life better than ever by providing companies with a skilled workforce and contributing to research and development projects with their expertise. “Cooperation enables us to provide firms with excellent service concepts and stronger partnership,” say Matti Jakobsson and Tauno Kekäle, the rectors of the two educational institutions. Joint service point Both schools have been tirelessly developing their joint service offering. They provide service research, as well as adult and continuing education to companies and

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The seaside campus of 10,000 students has been described as the most beautiful in Finland. The goal is to make the campus into a widely visible centre of education and research .

organisations. Moreover, the institutions lead significant organisational and regional development projects. Cooperation in research projects and open university activities is arranged through the Vaasa University’s Levón Institute, which further helps to increase joint resources and the number of projects. “Companies can interact with our experts at Levón based on the one-stop principle. Making both schools’ competence available in a single place ensures that education, research and development can be integrated more closely. Our service is multidisciplinary and works flexibly across school boundaries,” says Kekäle. Good examples of joint services include the innovation ombudsman’s work and the Business Factory. Both services are collaboratively offered by four educational

institutions. The innovation ombudsman is on the lookout for new business ideas and innovations in the world of higher education and helps to patent and promote them. Business Factory, in turn, is an incubator jointly run by four higher education institutions in Vaasa. It uses educational means to help students develop new business ideas. “The purpose is to encourage students to engage in entrepreneurial activities and support them in the process. Consultation is provided by experts from the four schools,” explains Jakobsson. Continuing education for companies The University and University of Applied Sciences offer joint adult and continuing education services, which help the region’s business life to build up competence. At

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times, education is tailored to the individual needs of companies, at other times, it is arranged as joint training for several interested parties. “For example, the courses dealing with individual development as a manager always have participants from several companies. The MBA programmes are based on the same principle,” says Jakobsson. The schools also cooperate in studies belonging to the open university and open university of applied sciences, which they offer through Edubothnia, a specially developed portal. Experts for the energy cluster The two institutions always aim to offer education in sectors needed by the region’s business and industry. Business, energy and well-being are also the focal points of external service provision. The local energy cluster in particular poses tough demands: according to estimates, the region needs 2,000 new engineers by 2020. Student recruiting is close to the heart of both rectors. “What we especially need is competence in technology and the energy sector. We need more students in the field and must find ways to ensure they stay in the region,” says Kekäle. Vaasa-based higher education institutions have strengthened their national position year by year. The region’s special need for technological competence has also been noted in the Ministry of Education, which gives both Kekäle and Jakobsson great satisfaction. c

university of vaasa Tel. +358 6 324 8111 Business sector:  Innovative research and education Students: 5,100


Employees: 500

vaasa university of applied sciences  (vamk) Tel. +358 207 663 300 Business sector:  Education and applied research Students: 3,700 Employees: 280


“As a team, we can cater to the region’s business life more efficiently. Enjoying greater resources means being able to participate in wide-ranging international projects and make Vaasa more visible on the world map,” say Matti Jakobsson and Tauno Kekäle.

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Jarl Sundqvist, Director


With over one thousand members Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce includes all leading companies in the region. Its members employ about 70% of the workforce in the region. The mission of the Chamber of Commerce is to promote industry and commerce as well as to create networks.

Pekka Haapanen, Managing Director

Juha Häkkinen, CEO Tel. +358 6 318 6400

Niclas Dahl, CEO


CONCORDIA Tel. +358 6 317 7600 Tel. +358 10 239 7550

Vasek is a development company owned by the municipalities in the Vaasa region. Whether you need help with starting a business in the region, are looking for a business partner or need advice on how to expand your existing business, Vasek provides the information and tools you need. For foreign companies, Vasek functions as the gateway to the region, connecting them with local networks.

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The regional business development company Concordia is a service unit for the Jakobstad region’s economic and regional development. Concordia is owned by five municipalities and the company’s main task is to promote the different sectors in the region. The company also has the task of promoting the region as the Home of Quality. In addition, Concordia serves as a link between the companies and the municipalities.

Jonne Sandberg, Managing Director


KOSEK (Kokkolanseudun Kehitys Ltd) is a versatile provider of free-of-charge business and development services as well as business advice services intended for all entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes in the Kokkola region. Tel. +358 6 824 3400

Timo Kankaanpää, Managing Director


Technology centre Merinova offers development services for companies and public corporations in the area of energy technology. It promotes utilisation of new technologies and is responsible for the technology centre services in the Vaasa region in co-operation with its associated company Vaasa Parks. Merinova is also implementing the nationwide Centre of Expertise Programme OSKE. Tel. +358 6 282 8200

Jukka Ylikarjula, Executive Director, Regional Mayor

Olav Jern, Executive Director


REGIONAL COUNCIL OF OSTROBOTHNIA Tel. +358 40 160 5700 Tel. +358 6 320 6500

The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia is a joint municipal authority formed by thirteen member municipalities. The main responsibility areas are regional development and regulation of area usage. Promoting regional interests e.g. in welfare and culture is another important dimension. The Regional Council is also responsible for a wide range of international issues.

The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia is a joint municipal authority formed by sixteen municipalities. It has mainly two functions: regional development and spatial planning, which both form the basis for supporting regional interests. The Regional Council is also responsible for a wide range of EU affairs, international issues and contacts.

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