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Finnish manufacturers buoyed by new orders

Finnish manufacturers have kick-started growth after the spanner thrown in the works by the coronavirus pandemic.


Orders are pouring in for Finnish manufacturers after the market disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Finnish manufacturing industry is showing signs of recuperating from the loss of new orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Statistics Finland in July reported that the value of new orders in manufacturing jumped by 45.2 per cent year-on-year in May, adding up to an increase of 23.1 per cent for the period between January and May.

The value of new orders had fallen by more than 28 per cent in both May and July of 2020.

Increases in the value of new orders were recorded across the manufacturing industry, with the metals industry leading the way with a surge of 51.2 per cent. The paper industry recorded an increase of 45.6 per cent and the chemicals industry one of 20 per cent in order value from the previous year.

Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel engines are capable of switching seamlessly from natural gas to liquid fuel while running at full load. Image: Wärtsilä

The inflow of orders is bodes well for the economic outlook of Finland. The manufacturing industry accounts for roughly 50 per cent of exports and almost 30 per cent of gross domestic product in the country. The Technology Industries of Finland has additionally estimated that its member companies provide employment directly to about 300 000 people and 700 000 in total, making up 30 per cent of the entire workforce.

Wärtsilä announces three large orders

Phones have evidently been ringing off the hook in the sales department of Wärtsilä.

The Finnish technology supplier reported at the beginning of the month that it has entered into a seven-year optimised maintenance agreement to support the operations of two river-pusher tugs in Northern Brazil.

Powered by 20 engines manufactured by Wärtsilä and owned by Hidrovias do Brasil, the tugs operate regularly in shallow waters and remote locations, making maintenance tasks difficult. The agreement covers not only data-driven maintenance planning and expert insight innovations, but also insights on fuel efficiency, uptime optimisation, personnel training, and spare parts planning and coordination.

Wärtsilä has been making headlines around the world. Image: Christoffer Björklund / Wärtsilä

Optimised maintenance agreements are part of the lifecycle solutions offering of Wärtsilä, told Marcelo Barhaburu, director of agreement sales for the Americas at Wärstilä Marine Power.

“[They] are designed to improve our customers’ business performance and competitiveness,” he summed up. “The addition of expert insight to our lifecycle offering takes predictive maintenance and optimisation to levels never seen before, thus enabling reduced unplanned maintenance and optimised fuel efficiency with a corresponding reduction in emissions.”

Wärtsilä in July revealed it will supply fuel-flexible, dual-fuel engines to extend, improve and modernise power generation at a captive power plant operated by Flour Mills Nigeria, the largest food and agriculture allied company in Nigeria. The engines can switch seamlessly from natural gas to liquid fuel while running at full load, thereby facilitating the continuous supply of electricity to critical loads and serving as a hedge against fuel-price fluctuations.

“It is always gratifying to receive repeat orders from a customer, not only because it signifies their satisfaction with our solution, but also because it cements the relationship between our companies,” viewedMarc Thiriet, head of energy business at Wärtsilä for East Africa.

The company also announced an agreement to supply steerable and tunnel thrusters for two wind farm turbine installation vessels being built for China Three Gorges Corporation. The thruster solutions, it told, provide the level of performance needed to ensure optimal positioning for the vessels in any sea and weather conditions.

“Our thrusters are designed to ensure optimal efficiency, high hydrodynamic performance, less maintenance and better accessibility for servicing,” statedLauri Tiainen, product director for thrusters and propulsion at Wärtsilä Marine Power.

Valmet Automotive to start production of unique EV

Valmet Automotive, meanwhile, reported last month that it has signed a letter of intent for manufacturing a limited series of Lightyear One, a unique electric vehicle designed by the Netherland’s Lightyear.

The assembly of the first vehicle is scheduled to start at the assembly plant of Valmet Automotive in 2022. Image: Valmet Automotive

The Finnish automotive maker highlighted that the energy-efficient design of the partly solar-cell powered vehicle eliminate two of the main concerns associated with electric cars: charging and range. The Dutch startup recently reached a critical technological milestone for validating its in-house technology by demonstrating 710 kilometres of range with its prototype.

The assembly of the first vehicle is scheduled to start at the assembly plant of Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Southern Finland, in 2022.

The company has experience of producing electric vehicles dating back to 2009. It described the collaborative effort as a perfect match with its manufacturing ambitions, given its strategic focus on e-mobility and sustainability.

“Our experience as a car manufacturer as well as our focus on electric mobility and battery systems make us predestined for processes in which mobility must be redefined. We are ready to enter new areas in manufacturing cars and are therefore pleased that Lightyear has selected us as their production partner,” toldOlaf Bongwald, CEO of Valmet Automotive.

Metso Outotec takes on “game-changing” smelter project

Metso Outotec in July stated that it has secured an order worth 360 million euros for the design and engineering of a copper smelter complex to be built in Gresik, East Java.

The scope of the order comprises the design and supply of key process equipment and process control systems for the main areas of the complex, the copper electrolytic refinery, the gas cleaning and sulphuric acid plant, the slag concentrator, and the effluent treatment plant.

Metso Outotec has taken on a design and engineering project that is set to establish a new standard for copper smelters in terms of compliance with environmental and efficiency requirements. Image: Metso-Outotec

The delivery is based on Flash Smelting, a technology licensed by Metso Outotec. The technology is the most widely applied smelting technology in the world, enabling its users to avoid more than 1.6 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions in 2020.

Pekka Vauramo, CEO of Metso Outotec, said the collaborative endeavour will establish a “new standard” for the copper smelter industry by fulfilling the strictest international environmental standards and efficiency requirements.

“We are very happy to work together to implement this game-changing copper smelter,” he rejoiced.

PT Freeport Indonesia is the owner and PT Chiyoda International Indonesia the engineering, procurement and construction contractor of the project. Metso Outotec has worked with both companies for years to ensure the best available process design and technologies for the project, told Jari Ålgars, head of metals business at Metso Outotec.

Kalmar’s flock of cranes growing at MCT

Kalmar, a business area of Cargotec, in July announced it has received an order for 12 diesel-electric straddle carriers from Medcenter Container Terminal (MCT) in the Port of Gioia Tauro, Italy. The order signifies the continuation of a long-standing relationship, as the terminal took delivery of already its 200th straddle carrier from the Finnish company in January 2020.

Kalmar’s automated straddle carriers at work at Patrick Terminals in Brisbane, Australia. Image: Kalmar

“We are very proud of the fruitful collaboration and long-lasting partnership we have built together with MCT,” saidMikko Mononen, a regional head of sales at Kalmar.

The relationship, he viewed, has been founded on the reliability of the equipment and the high-quality local support that has helped the major port to achieve its productivity objectives. Capable of handling the largest container vessels operating between Asia and the Mediterranean, MCT has handled over 56 million twenty-foot-equivalent units since its opening in September 1995.

By: Aleksi Teivainen