Leading the industry in modernizations for already two decades

18.10.2022
Raute Group

Timing is everything, as it was for Raute's modernization business. How has our journey of two decades of sustainable modernizations been?

“Our first deals were about good timing. Today, we are a trusted modernization partner for several brands and have delivered over 800 projects globally. Our modernization business continues to grow year after year, which we see as a proof of our customer understanding,” says Timo Kangas, EVP of Power business unit.

This year, Raute has been in the modernization business for two decades. The first official project was the modernized composing line taken into use by Latvijas Finieris in April 2003. In 2004, Raute started to develop and report its modernization business, and Timo Kangas joined the company. There were active negotiations in Finland, Europe, and Russia as well as Latin and North America. “It was clear that customers were searching for new types of solutions to optimize their production investments and improve productivity. The whole industry had been dominated by new technology deliveries, but even then, modernizations were needed,” Timo summarizes.

Steadily, Raute’s modernization business started to take shape. While upgrades were updates of old technologies to new ones, modernizations always included full rebuild of a complete function or part of the function. That is why the projects also required diverse capabilities in planning, manufacturing, delivery, and project management.

Excelling in delivery process

Jani Kakko was hired to systematically develop Raute’s modernization team in 2002. While green field projects had long planning and delivery times, modernizations followed a different logic. “We could not miss any deadlines, because it would have prolonged the downtime of a complete factory. Therefore, we focused on developing our delivery process to ensure systematic and secure installation on site,” notes Jani Kakko, the team lead of Raute’s modernizations in 2002–2004.

The recipe for success consisted of careful pre-planning with customers, continuous dialogue with product development, complete documentation of projects, and integration with Raute’s existing customer processes and systems. At the same time, the modernization team grew with four new experts – Arto Välimaa, Kyösti Miettunen, Teuvo Salmi, and Ilpo Lyytikäinen.

Scaling with productizations

Raute’s know-how in production technologies was extensive, which also impacted the modernization team. To meet growing market demand, Raute started the systematic productization of its modernization offering. Development happened on many fronts: ABC product analyses, automation modernizations, XY centering systems for veneer lathes, 3V New Generation lathes, and data sheets for new modernizations, to name a few.

In 2009, Olli Havo took the lead of the modernization team and orchestrated the merging of new machinery, experts needed, and dismantling of old machinery into ready-made packages matching different customer needs. “Modernizations needed to be fast, well-prepared and executed with can-do attitude, and productizations helped in that,” Olli Havo says.

The new block centering concept

In 2010, Raute launched its first big modernization product, the new block centering concept. It replaced the whole block centering of a lathe with a new electrically operated solution. The new concept improved the yield considerably and received a warm welcome from customers. Altogether eight new concepts were sold within two months from the launch.

The same year, modernizations arouse the interest of customers in Asia Pacific, as well. Simultaneously with the entry to the new market area, the first lifecycle management project in lathes took place. In 2011, a total of 79 modernization projects were sold, and Raute’s delivery process was already extremely streamlined.

Accelerating growth

Sampo Jäntti took over the responsibility for Raute’s modernization business in 2012. He soon discovered that the speed of business growth matched the ambition of the team and potential in the markets. Raute had reached the leading position in the plywood and LVL production technologies. This enabled servicing customers as the one-stop-shop in the industry – from new investments to customer support, digital services, training, and modernizations.

Modernizations moved to the next phase as a concept, as Raute responded to customers’ evolving needs with a development plan for a whole mill. “Europe and North America were established markets with increasing needs related to modernizations. For some equipment, there just were no services or support available from the original manufacturer. As the leading technology provider, Raute could help in modernizing production machinery, processes, and mills cost-efficiently and with state-of-the-art quality. That is how we entered the non-Raute machinery modernization business already 10 years ago,” tells Sampo Jäntti. 

More value from performance, capacity, quality, and safety

In 2020, Raute launched R Series, three product series matching different capacity expectations, budgets, and knowhow. They are a perfect example of what modernizations can do – durable machinery giving maximum yield and even higher performance with right modernizations. “Nowadays we assist, for example, in automations, safety topics and End-of-Life (EOL) studies to sustain the lifetime value of production solutions,” concludes Aki Karjalainen, Business Manager, Modernizations.

Today, modernizations are one of the key pillars of Raute’s – and the customers’ – business. In the capital goods industry, they are the sustainable way forward.

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