Committed to better
Despite the disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, one constant remains. Beneath an outwardly cool demeanour, lies a staunch determination by Finns to overcome any difficulty. This unwavering tenacity and courage even has a name - “sisu”. There is no direct English translation of sisu but you notice the solutions-focused approach to life whenever you interact with Finnish people. This grit and steadfast commitment to problem-solving has produced some of the world’s most successful organisations such as Sammet and Alfa Laval Aalborg Oy, a subsidiary of Alfa Laval which is a leading global provider of specialised products and technology-driven engineering solutions for heat transfer, separation and fluid handling.
Alfa Laval Aalborg is located in Rauma, Finland. It specialises in boilers and waste heat recovery system solutions for power plants, industrial applications and cruise vessels. Their customers are increasingly expressing a need for cost effective ways of reducing their environmental footprint. Together, in partnership, Alfa Laval Aalborg and Sammet are listening.
Mr Jarno Vainio, General Manager in Engineering & Supply, Alfa Laval Aalborg says his own contribution to environmental sustainability is reflected in his personal choices and commitment to his company’s core values around sustainable development. Vainio has the important role of delivering projects and services that meet the high technical and quality specifications required by his customers. He says that sisu is something everyone needs in their business and personal life. “With sisu, we can be confronted with any problem and we work to solve it in one way or another. Nothing is insurmountable and the most important aspect is that we should never give up”, says Vainio.
Since the mid-1990s, Sammet has been Alfa Laval Aalborg’s supplier of choice for 3-way dampers, louver dampers and butterfly dampers. Over time, the partnership has flourished and the companies have grown together. “When industry or customer requirements have changed, we have learned together”, says Vainio. He says that Sammet’s willingness and ability to understand the demanding circumstances in which he operates is evident in their ability to listen to customer needs and translate these into high quality damper products and services. “We are now also purchasing after sale services from Sammet. When we need spare parts quickly, the short delivery time is always appreciated. When we need technical support for our own service or repair plans, Sammet is always available and ready to travel to sites if the situation requires it”, reveals Vainio.
Strong, committed partnerships can generate mutual benefit and synergies when partners work towards innovative solutions to conquer new challenges. Vainio acknowledges Sammet as the expert in dampers. He likes the prospect that the insights, experiences and feedback shared by Alfa Laval Aalborg contribute to product development. Such concern for the advancement of the other shows a level of trust and respect not often reflected in B2B relationships. Handling intellectual property and innovation makes trust and respect essential. Vainio reiterates that the long history between the two companies and team members has helped build and cement mutual trust and respect. “Many of us have been working together and at our respective companies for a long time. I have been at Alfa Laval Aalborg for over 20 years, in various roles. When you know the people you are working with and you respect their work, co-operation becomes easier. We have tough technical discussions, price negotiations and strict quality standards to meet but we have always been able to successfully work through these together”, says Vainio.
“Sammet is our supplier of choice because they are familiar with how dampers must function in our systems. They adhere to ISO quality management systems and have a commitment to environmental sustainability which is a core value for us”
According to Vainio, partnering with a reliable damper supplier is vital. Dampers are an important component of product control and safety in heat recovery systems. Creating products for extreme conditions, including the ability to withstand powerful vibrations from engines, demanding environmental conditions such as humidity, sun, rain, freezing temperatures and even earthquakes, leaves little room for error. Repair work is very expensive so meticulous attention must be given to technical design specifications and quality control. “Sammet is our supplier of choice because they are familiar with how dampers must function in our systems. They adhere to ISO quality management systems and have a commitment to environmental sustainability which is a core value for us”, states Vainio.
Alfa Laval Aalborg has a boiler factory in Qingdao, China where they produce boilers for world-wide delivery. Certain dampers are integrated with these boilers and damper production that is in close proximity to boiler production facilities can be advantageous. Vainio says he approached Sammet some years ago to discuss their needs. Hearing the need, Sammet has since expanded to China and now has production capability in Shanghai, as well as in Europe. “Sammet’s China facility helps us optimise our supply chain, save time, reduce costs and improve logistics. With less transportation required, there are also environmental benefits”, says Vainio. These benefits flow directly to customers.
Having facilities in China has provided more avenues for collaboration. Vainio shares that the partners are developing damper projects together to confirm damper functional precision in the boiler assembly phase. With COVID-19 travel restrictions making onsite visits impossible for personnel from Finland, Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) in China required another solution. “Because of our close partnership, we were able to call on Sammet staff from their Shanghai facility to participate in testing in our Qingdao factory. Our teams in Finland were then able to remotely co-ordinate our respective teams in China and oversee the testing”, states Vainio.
The ultimate beneficiary to all this collaboration is the planet. There is hope for more innovation through this committed partnership. With so much Finnish sisu at work, it is only a matter of time before cost-effective solutions for a better, more sustainable future arrive.
About Alfa Laval Aalborg Oy
Alfa Laval Aalborg Oy has been in the boiler business since 1964. It has over 50 years of experience in waste heat recovery system solutions. Relying on extensive know-how and decades of experience, Alfa Laval Aalborg Oy designs and delivers waste heat recovery solutions that improve customers’ energy efficiency, reduce emissions and lower fuel costs.
Located in Rauma, Finland, Alfa Laval Aalborg Oy has approximately 90 employees and an annual turnover between EUR40 to 50 million. It has sold over 4 600 boilers to over 100 final site destinations for power plants, industrial applications and cruise vessels.
Information about Alfa Laval Aalborg Oy’s industrial waste heat recovery solutions is available at www.alfalaval.com/whr. You could find more information about the Alfa Laval group at www.alfalaval.com.