Despite these uncertain times, Relicomp Oy in Kurikka, Finland has recently made a number of bold investments. A few years ago, the company acquired the country’s largest press in its size class. This year, it invested in a new Combi Genius machine from Prima Power, with a 4-kW fiber resonator.
Compared to the previous F6 turret punch press and LPe5 laser punch combination, the new machine’s 1500 x 3000 mm sheet size is larger – making it possible to produce larger parts – and gives smaller pieces greater flexibility for nesting. The greater sheet size also improves efficiency and decreases the number of sheet changes needed. The new equipment contains all the necessary features: tapping, forming, punching, laser cutting, and more. Other advantages include the precision enabled by the servo-electric technology, as well as low noise levels and savings in both operating and lifecycle costs. Relicomp’s investments are aimed at both strengthening quality and improving the consistency of end products.
The new machine is equipped with an LSR robot, which automatically loads sheet material and stacks finished pieces in the unloading area. With two loading places and two unloading places, it allows for flexibility in sheet changes, and also enables longer unattended operation.
The investment required long and thoughtful consideration, and no detail was overlooked. “In subcontracting, it is difficult to predict what customers’ needs will be in the future, which is what makes a combination machine such a great choice. It works for all sorts of pieces and sets of all different sizes, and it is adequately cost-effective in all situations. This combination machine is perhaps the most versatile of all our models, which makes it particularly well-suited to be the main production machine for a subcontracting company,” says Prima Power sales director Mikko Fiskaali.
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE DOES NOT HAVE TO IMPACT THE ENVIRONMENT
The situation is brightening up again after last spring’s halt, also in combination with many Finnish companies bringing their production back to Finland. Demand is expected to grow sharply once connections across the rest of the world open up again.
“We have invested at least 1 MEUR annually in equipment and solutions, and we plan to maintain this bold investment policy going forward,” states Relicomp CEO Marko Jyllilä.
Describing his company’s investment stance, Jyllilä explains, “Compared to our competitors’, we really do invest a lot for a company of our size. Each investment is an investment in quality and greater versatility of our services.”
Jyllilä thinks investing now is advisable to have the company’s machinery plant in optimal condition once the global situation improves, and to ensure that it will be possible to respond to the needs of current and new customers. Fiskaali also feels that it is important to continue investing:
“The price of labor per man-year is high in all industrialized Western countries, including Finland. New technological solutions, plus a high degree of automation, help make companies competitive to the point where they can credibly match up against their peers, including foreign competitors, in the sheet-metal subcontracting field. Such investment considerably improves a company’s quality and efficiency levels, making it possible to offer customers a larger and more complete package as a subcontractor,” he says. He continues: “New technological solutions plus a high degree of automation help to make companies competitive.”
“For years, the core of Prima Power’s product development efforts have been solutions that benefit both the business and the environment. Investment in new technology is thus also an investment in the environment – which helps companies get better funding as well. Servo-electric machinery, as exemplified by Relicomp’s new combination device, is now quickly replacing old hydraulic models on the market. New machinery is extremely easy to use and ergonomic. And in addition to their speed and efficiency, they are noticeably quieter, which contributes to improving the work environment for operators,” Fiskaali adds.
INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL
Prima Power sells its devices to about 80 countries around the world. Currently, Finland has roughly a 5% share of its worldwide sales in machine tools. The bulk of its customers in Finland operate in the southern part of the country, but it has customers from its home region as well.
“We have been working with Relicomp for some time now. It was great to be able to offer them a solution that we knew would meet their needs,” Fiskaali says.“ We find that Prima Power’s machines have brought the fastest return on these investments,” Jyllilä explains.
Although Relicomp operates internationally, when it comes to investing in machinery they prefer local vendors.
“We buy as much as we can on the domestic market. Particularly in the midst of the current global situation, it’s important to invest in Finland. Having a partner that operates in the same language as we do is a significant advantage when it comes to training personnel, when machines need to be serviced, or when we otherwise need to get information quickly. Workers’ willingness to take initiative and quickly contact maintenance services and other experts at Prima Power is noticeably higher when they know they can talk to them in their own language, thus the machines’ utilization rate remains high,” Jyllilä says.