Located in Joensuu, Pekotek Oy is the market leader in surface treatment systems in Finland and one of the largest in the Nordic countries with their abrasive recycling system. The pioneer-minded company is now reforming the industry with mobile surface treatment systems as global megatrends arrive at the workshops.

ABB, Bombardier, Kalmar, Konecranes, Mantsinen, Metso, Moventas, Ponsse, Ruukki, Sandvik, VR… A long list of top brands in their sectors that require not only corrosion resistance and good looks from the surface finish of their products but also safety, cost-effectiveness, long life cycles and environmental consideration. Pekotek has delivered hundreds of surface treatment plants to Finland and Europe – always as a custom job starting from the design.

Customer at the core of all operations

Pekotek has strong ties to the Finnish export industry; they have successfully walked hand in hand for 37 years through thick and thin of economic cycles. One storm has been harder to weather than others: the financial crisis in 2008 also took its toll on Pekotek.

– We operate on a very cyclical sector on which the number of projects varies greatly every year. ‘The scale of projects can also vary a lot,’ says Pasi Piirainen, CEO of Pekotek.

When describing the changes, Piirainen no longer talks about storms – the metaphorical Beaufort scale has given way to megatrends. At that global intersection in Pekotek, the focus has been on the core of the basic issue: what the customer needs and how Pekotek can best produce added value for them.

– Pekotek’s role is no longer limited to simply delivering equipment but often continues with the development of surface treatment processes and expert services. We even deliver comprehensive QHES (Quality, Health, Environment, Safety) services for our customers.

With the rise of megatrends, there is plenty to consider when it comes to added value. Population growth, urbanisation, depletion of natural resources, global warming and digitalisation are seen and felt at the floor level in workshops.

– Continuous lay-out changes in factories, capacity changes, productivity requirements, digitalisation. We need to take notice of all of these are things thoroughly, on time and while listening to our customers.

Fast, mobile and cost-effective

A fixed surface treatment line is always a significant investment. In many cases, the investment requires constructing something new and expanding the premises. It’s understandable if client companies might hesitate to make those investment decisions. Surface treatment can often be that last touch that will be the first to be put on hold if the market horizon is showing signs of unstable fluctuations.

– Companies might wonder whether surface treatment capacity could be purchased from outside the company in uncertain situations.

However, in terms of LEAN principles, outsourcing is a bad solution. If the critical last phase at the end of production is outsourced, the company could lose control of many variables that are related to the strict quality and schedule requirements. The transportation, waiting and quality variations of products needing surface treatment cause losses. Productivity might suffer.

The solution must take customer needs into account flexibly. Pekotek delivered their first mobile surface treatment system to Sweden at the beginning of this year.

– The delivery included a mobile equipment centre solution for abrasive recycling and the modernisation of the collection floor. The equipment centre was manufactured and pre-equipped at the Reijola factory. The equipment was delivered to the customer’s current rental facilities. Mobile solutions enable the flexible transportation of the core technology of the abrasive blasting equipment to new premises in the future.

Logistics is a major issue in the development of mobile solutions. Even large transports can be managed at reasonable costs in Finland. It’s a whole different ball game when it comes to exports.

– Every centimetre that exceeds the container size is significant when a company starts looking to export their products. We have started to solve the issue with module thinking. Of course, there is still plenty to solve, as surface treatment systems and equipment have a large number of connection surfaces from IV channels to electricity.

In addition to the modularity of the container solution and more robust surface treatment solutions, Pekotek wants to make purchasing easy.
– Equipment can be rented or leased. The client can get the surface treatment line as a mobile leasing solution.

Growth from export

So far, Pekotek’s expertise has been exported to Sweden, Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries, among others. For a growth-oriented company, focusing on exports is a strategic choice.

– From last year to this spring, three of our people were involved in the Business Joensuu GoGlobal training. It was a very good experience and it reinforced our faith in exports and the development of mobile solutions.

Digitalisation is at the core. Information must move quickly if we want production to be efficient. The whole thing must be documented and developed on the basis of facts and not a feeling. Pekotek’s digital daily operations are already utilising intelligence to optimise production.

– With digitalisation, we are able to utilise information and in this way optimise the efficiency and quality of the surface treatment process and further improve productivity. Facts help us make genuine comparisons in the efficiency of production for each project.

 

“Surface treatment line for the customer as a mobile leasing solution”

 

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen