Increasing the degree of automation will also be a driver of profitable growth in wood processing

Increasing the degree of automation will also be a driver of profitable growth in wood processing

During the past few years, we have lived in the midst of major reforms at Pölkky Oy. Even though the change is already a part of everyday life, the development must have a clear purpose and direction. At Pölkky, it is about improving efficiency and increasing the profitability through industrial automation and process digitisation.

Technology is harnessed for use in production and management

We are determined to implement our strategy for profitable growth. We have revised Pölkky’s corporate structure and started to develop a modern management system, not to forget about streamlining our internal processes. Through these reforms we will ensure that we reap full benefits of our substantial technology investments.

We focus on three areas that help us building a long-term and profitable business growth. These include the development of further processing businesses, the renewal of sawing technology and the utilization of digitalization and automation in both business management and production processes.

Power for further processing through automation

The first project utilizing state-of-the-art technology in our company is the planing plant at Pölkky Oy Taivalkoski mill, which from the aspect of utilizing technology acts as a pilot plant for future investments and the development of existing mills. The production capacity of the planing plant is 150,000 m³ of planed products per year.

The planing plant investment brought a total of 12 new jobs to Pölkky Oy Taivalkoski mill. The level of automation at the factory is high, hence there are no actual physical workstations at all. Working with new technology is completely different from traditional work in the wood industry, as the know-how is based on ensuring maximum operation with the help of information technology.

Investment and Development Program 2022-2024

In addition to the production technology investments in the sawmill and further processing businesses, Pölkky Oy’s major renovations are also undergoing other technology investments as well as system development and integration projects. In total, we are talking about an investment of EUR 90 million.

During 2021, we implemented a financing package of EUR 77 million in excellent cooperation with Nordhaven Corporate Finance Oy. Approximately EUR 18 million of this financing package will be used to refinancing of existing loans. The rest is available for investment financing and to cover seasonal working capital needs.

The financing was provided as a five-year syndicated loan, financed by Nordea Bank Abp, Danske Bank A/S, Finland branch; Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company and LähiTapiola. We want to thank our funders for their trust.

The sawmill technology reform at Pölkky Oy Kajaani mill has begun and the entire production plant will be rebuilt. The investments are scheduled for the period between autumn 2022 and spring 2024. The sawing capacity of Pölkky Oy Kajaani mill will increase to 450,000 m3 per year. The amount of used sawn wood will then be around 900,000 m3 per year.

The project is being implemented mainly by domestic forces. The confirmed main partners at Pölkky Oy Kajaani mill are Veisto Oy, Jartek Invest Oy, Jartek AI Oy, Nordautomation Oy, Valon Kone Oy, Valutec Oy and AFRY Finland Oy.

We are also renewing the sawmill technology at Pölkky Oy Taivalkoski mill with investments of approximately EUR 14 million. The sawmill capacity will increase to 300,000 m3 during 2023 after the first phase of investments. Sawn wood will be used about 600,000 m3 per year.

At the same time, we are growing our further processing businesses. Investments of approximately € 8 million will be carried out in 2022 and 2023.

The investments will bring jobs to our operating area throughout the processing chain, from the forest to the customer, for several hundred person-years.

Industry 4.0 and productivity jumps

Our strategy for profitable growth has just begun. The internal organization has clarified and streamlined our operations. We are moving strongly in the direction of increasing our production capacity and productivity through real-time knowledge management and AI-based factory automation and business planning. This will naturally have a positive, and above all lasting, impact on our company’s business. We expect to achieve ever-increasing productivity jumps.

The competent and well-being personnel is our most important resource

Our goal is profitable growth, hence development must be continuous and determined. The development also requires bold investments. Together with our skilled staff, our new experts, a strong confidence in the future and a passionate entrepreneurial attitude, we can achieve our goal. All this is fuelled by a clear vision of the future Pölkky – the best wood processor in the North.

The new way of working and a clear common goal are reflected in our entire organization as a new kind of energy. Along with technology investments, we are developing our work community towards a modern, diverse, flexible and unified Pölkky. After all, success cannot be measured by growth in business profitability alone. We are determined to maintain the well-being of our people as well.



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