Vapo inaugurates €10M sawmill line at Hankasalmi Mill, claims Finland's biggest sawmill investment of 2011 with project to replace machinery dating back to 1995

JYVÄSKYLÄ, Finland , May 30, 2012 (press release) – Finland’s biggest sawmill investment in 2011 was made at Vapo’s Hankasalmi Mill. Previous machinery, dating back to 1995, was replaced with a sawline representing latest technology in the industry. There were also further investments in the log feeding and sawn timber handling departments. The overall investment at Hankasalmi was EUR 10 million.

Building and instalment work commenced in March 2011 and the sawline was in use on schedule in September 2011.

”Building and construction industries, as well as the sawmilling business which is closely linked to them, have faced challenging times globally since the end of 2007. However, we at Vapo have trust in sawmilling industry. More dwellings are needed and the increasing use of wood in construction work helps in the battle against global warming”, emphasises Vapo’s CEO  Tomi Yli-Kyyny. ”Sawmills have also an important role in the increased use of energy wood, through sawmilling by products such as bark and sawdust, as well as through the procurement of energy wood, which is combined with the normal sawn log procurement.

”The old machinery at Hankasalmi had come to the end of its life cycle and it was time to replace them with the most modern technology”, adds Vapo Timber’s Managing Director Juha Hakala. ”The investment improves the mill poductivity by one fifth and thereby it improves our competitiviness markedly. The production process was streamlined through automation and new machinery. Both the running and maintenance costs will be reduced. The production volumes at Hankasalmi will remain roughly at the current level.

The investment also meant a saving of 10 man years with own personnel and subcontractors.

”The timing of the investment was right. The markets are expected to improve and we have now our facilities ready for it", states Managing Director Juha Hakala. "In addition, the new ERP system, which will be implemented by the end of this year, will facilitate in gaining the benefits."

Vapo Timber’s raw material procurement is taken care of by a wood procurement company Harvestia, where Vapo has a 45% ownership.

”The development of Hankasalmi Sawmill gives a good basis for more efficient procurement of both sawlogs and energy wood in Central Finland and Northern and Southern Savo. The renewed sawmill facilitates almost a EUR 40 million stumpage and subcontractor revenue within its procurement area, and it offers employment to about 50 people in the supply chain.” highlights Harvestia’s Managing Director Pekka Kauranen.

”Finnish companies gained 40 man years from the machine supply and building work related to the project. The sawline was supplied by Veisto Oy in Mäntyharju and log feeders by Nordautomation Oy in Kristiinankaupunki, board handling was made by Kit Sell Oy in Kitee and sawn timber feeding by Rajako Oy in Hyvinkää, camera grading technology came from Finscan Oy in Espoo, automation from OT-Laite Oy in Heinola and Prologic in Canada. Construction work was provided by Porrokki Oy and the metal components were supplied by JoKaMet in Ääänekoski.

”Hankasalmi’s sawline investment had a perfect timing for us. Currently we are supplying five sawlines to locations like Russia, Australia and Scotland.”, says Veisto Oy’s Managing Director Markku Rautio.” There are altogether 350 HewSaw production lines in operation globally, out of which 45 lines are in Finland.

General information about Vapo Timber Oy

  • Finland’s fifth largest sawmiller, among top 30 in Europe
  • A fully owned daughter company to Vapo Oy
  • Sawmills in Hankasalmi, Lieksa and Nurmes
  • Turnover 2012 ca. EUR 150 million
  • Capacity ca 700.000 m3 per annum
  • Export 60%
  • Personnel in production total 180, moreover 60 persons in subcontracted logistics and maintenance services
  • Log consumption ca. 1,5 million m3 per annum, which translates to stumpage and subcontracting revenues of ca. EUR 100 million and provides 150 jobs in Central Finland, Northern Carelia, and Northern and Southern Savo.
  • Log procurement by Harvestia Oy
General information about Hankasalmi Sawmill
  • Turnover 2012 ca. EUR 60 million
  • Capacity 260.000 m3 per annum
  • Personnel in sawing and further processing 60 persons, further 30 in logistics and maintenance as subcontractors
  • Log consumption ca. 550.000 m3, which means as stumpage and subcontracting revenues ca. EUR 40 million and 50 jobs mainly in Central Finland and Northern and Southern Savo.

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