With a turnover of €25.5 million in 2020 and 188 employees, Lankapaja has grown and expanded from its original premises, in Punavuori in Helsinki, to no less than three main locations: their current manufacturing facilities are in Nummela (20,000 square meters) and Lahti in Finland, and Skillingaryd in Sweden.
The company has been able to take on bigger and better jobs also by building a strong machine base consisting of lasers, combi machines, right angle shears and various bending machines from different brands. However, R&D manager Christian Öberg shares that they had been thinking about the future of sheet metal production for a long time, considering what direction their investments should take for the future.
“We considered right angle shears, lasers, as well as bending machines from different manufacturers. We wanted to find the best possible solution to provide cost-effective sheet metal parts to our customers. Some of the machines we had lacked in performance, and some replacements had to be made. As we had invested heavily in our machines over the years, maintenance and operating costs also rose. At the same time, reliability was declining slightly.” It was clear that a solution had to be found.
Unlocking the situation with automation
At the end of 2020, Lankapaja’s factory in Nummela received Prima Power’s Night Train FMS® automated storage solution, which features an exceptional size range for the business context in Finland. The storage solution delivery also included a new Combi Genius 1530 combi laser machine, which brings together laser cutting and punching technology with an automatic LSR loading and stacking robot.
“We realized that our only option was automation. That way we could reduce the number of different machines, increase production efficiency and lower costs,” Öberg continues.
And customers demand and appreciate automation as well. According to Öberg, automation is one of the elements that are perceived as a guarantee that a supplier will be able to offer its customers competitive prices now and in the future.
“We do a lot of small runs, making shift times important. This is why we chose the most flexible sheet metal machine on the market, Prima Power’s combi laser. It can run even small batches efficiently. The storage solution also allows us to automate the loading and unloading of sheets.”
A new paradigm for new opportunities
Lankapaja runs the machines in two shifts, totaling about 8-12 hours of effective operating time per day per machine. With the help of the automated storage solution, the goal is to reach 15-20 operating hours per day per machine: a huge increase in productivity that will not trigger the additional costs of manual alternatives. “We noticed that with automation, we are able to reduce the number of machines, increase production efficiency and lower the costs,” Öberg states.
Jon Törnwall, the IT manager at Lankapaja, goes further into the details: “This requires a new kind of thinking for programming and job queue planning. We investigated this at length and noticed that most waste in production comes specifically from picking, loading and unloading of the sheet metal. We believe we will reach our goal by automating these steps and that in the future, with the help of the storage solution, we will manage the same amount of work with two machines as we do now with three machines.”
Prima Power’s Night Train FMS automated storage solution has been Lankapaja’s biggest investment so far. The decision was considered carefully, down to the final choice between Prima Power and another major manufacturer.
“Both companies had their strengths, and it was difficult to compare their technical specifications. In the end, we chose Prima Power based on a working example where I personally know that the Night Train storage solution brought great cost savings and efficiency,” Törnwall says.
“In addition, Prima Power’s excellent maintenance service influenced the decision. We know for sure that the machines will keep running thanks to efficient maintenance and good response time. Prima Power has always provided us good service and answered our questions. Based on previous experience, it was easy to choose new technology from a reliable partner,” Törnwall praises.
The future is flexible
Mikko Fiskaali, Prima Power’s sales manager in Finland, is sure that the Combi Genius 1530 machine and the Night Train FMS automated storage solution are just the right choices for Lankapaja’s needs.
“With the help of the Night Train automated storage solution, efficiency will increase, and machine utilization rates can grow. A level of utilization of more than 90% has been achieved in several customer companies measured on an annual basis,” Fiskaali says.
“Combi laser technology has been quite sought-after in Finland recently; we have sold more punch-laser machines than punching-right angle shearing machines in the last few years. Combi laser machines are very well suited to varied production, which is also the case at Lankapaja. They offer significant flexibility and keep set-up times to a minimum, even with small runs.”
“The advantage of a combi machine is that many work phases can be performed simultaneously, eliminating unnecessary costs and low added valure manual work,” says Fiskaali. Thus, following its internal analysis and farsighted investment, Lankapaja is on the right track to continue growing with great efficiency, productivity and customer success.
See Prima Power machines in action at Lankapaja’s Nummela factory, in the short video available at http://bit.ly/Lankapaja