Story | 04/29/2024 13:27:09 | 4 min Read time

WISA-Trans Mk2 with slate stone pattern is an investment in the future

Sara Steensig

Editor, Tulus

Have you seen WISA-Trans’ new look? The new slate stone pattern is a reminder of the trusted strength and durability that genuine WISA panels offer.

For three decades, WISA-Trans birch plywood has been a top choice for vehicle flooring and other end uses that require strength and long-lived, wear-resistant coating. Now, the WISA classic has been updated with a new pattern under the name WISA-Trans Mk2. The excellent technical properties remain the same. 

The WISA-Trans Mk2 launch is part of a significant strategic investment at the UPM Joensuu plywood mill. 

Over the years, WISA-Trans’ good reputation has meant that manufacturers from around the world began to sell similar-looking products. “We understood that we must act to ensure that the original WISA product stands out with a fresh design that makes it easily recognisable,” says Susanna Rinne, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at UPM Plywood. 

The 10-million-euro investment, bringing further processing lines into operation, increases capacity and secures the long-term supply of coated products for vehicle flooring. It also enables the production of the upgraded WISA-Trans Mk2 panels with a new slate stone pattern.  

“Vehicle flooring is one of our primary end use areas and WISA-Trans is an important product. So, when we decided to invest in the processing lines at the plywood mill in Joensuu, we understood that we had to utilise the momentum and update the surface pattern from the 1990s to fit the 2020s,” Rinne explains. 

Recognise genuine WISA quality 

Since the investment decision was made, the importance of recognising original WISA products has only grown. Despite sanctions banning imports of Russian plywood, Russian plywood is still illegally imported to Europe through third countries. 

“In the current business environment, it is reassuring to know that the plywood you purchase is made of 100% European birch, is responsibly produced, and that you can trust that it will perform as promised,” says Rinne. 

Trailer manufacturers can now point to the slate stone pattern on the floor to assure their customers that their trailer is fitted with genuine WISA quality. 

 
 

A safe and beautiful surface

In 2020, the product development work started. 

To assist UPM Plywood’s technical experts, industrial designers were involved in the process, as were some of the main WISA-Trans customers.  

“We were interested in getting a new perspective and feedback and input from design professionals and customers as an addition to our engineering, commercial and production know-how,” Rinne notes. 

Choosing a new pattern is about much more than finding the best-looking option. The surface of a plywood panel also affects its performance and value for the end user, Rinne points out.  

“Safety is crucial, so the surface must have a certain level of friction. The pattern also affects how easy the floor is to clean,” she says, adding that the pattern also had to fit the modern industrial production at the UPM Joensuu plywood mill. “Cost-efficient production is extremely important for all parties involved.” 

Rinne stresses that performance is the main priority, particularly for industrial end uses. Therefore, all the well-known technical properties that make WISA-Trans fit for purpose were maintained in WISA-Trans Mk2.  

Communicating the WISA core 

The product development process was demanding, as the investment determined the schedule, all while a steady delivery of WISA-Trans carried on. Add to that the challenges that the COVID pandemic presented to all types of human interaction. Despite the hurdles, the new WISA-Trans Mk2 and its fresh pattern were ready on time, and Rinne applauds the cross-functional project team for its expertise and dedication.  

With its timeless slate-clad look, WISA-Trans Mk2 offers the desired technical and productional properties. The slate stones also communicate the core of WISA, Rinne points out.  

“WISA-Trans Mk2 is strong, durable and stands the test of time, so the stone reference fits the product perfectly.” 

The first WISA-Trans Mk2 panels were sent out to customers in the spring of 2023, and now the production has completely transitioned to the new product. So far, customers have been happy with the look and performance of WISA-Trans Mk2.  

“The upgrade of our production facilities means that we use state-of-the-art technology and manufacture plywood of the highest quality,” notes Rinne. “After this major investment and all the development work, it is rewarding that the customers are happy with the product. I want to express my warm thanks to the customers for trusting the WISA quality and for taking the opportunity to renew and differentiate with the product.” 

 
 
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