UPM Joensuu plywood mill has been bustling with activity for the past year. Since spring 2022, a 720-square-metre hall has been built and modern lines for further processing have been installed at the mill.
“Right now, we are in the process of transferring production from the old lines to the new ones, and during April, the first customers will receive WISA-Trans and WISA-Wire vehicle flooring panels made on the new lines,” explains Production Manager Antti Pitkänen.
Increased capacity and flexibility
The mill employs roughly 200 people, who make WISA birch plywood products for the vehicle industry, mainly used for vehicle floors and LNG carriers.
With the 10-million-euro investment and the new further processing lines, the mill increases its WISA-Trans and WISA-Wire production capacity.
“Our customers will benefit from even greater availability of coated plywood panels. The new lines also enable us to keep producing the highest quality possible,” Pitkänen notes.
For vehicle manufacturers, the investment will show as an even more secure supply of WISA plywood for flooring.
“The investment increases our capacity and flexibility so that we can accommodate changes in demand and secure a steady supply, also when demand peaks,” says Juha Patovirta, senior manager for business development at UPM. “Greater flexibility means that we can simply serve customers better.”
Updated WISA-Trans ready to hit the market
The strategic investment does not only future-prove vehicle flooring by increasing capacity. The new further processing lines enable the production of an updated WISA-Trans product. Thanks to a new coating pattern, the updated WISA-Trans has a fresh and modern look. It keeps, however, the properties that have been known and appreciated by vehicle manufacturers around the world since the 90s.
”WISA-Trans has proved its worth in the market, so the technical properties remain the same,” Patovirta promises.
Committed to vehicle flooring
Adding the new 720-square-metre hall to the existing production premises was challenging, explains Production Manager Antti Pitkänen. He is however happy that plywood production continued as usual, although the mill has practically been a construction site for a year.
”We’ve had to make special arrangements so that we’ve been able to continue production successfully throughout the project,” Pitkänen notes.
The new lines raise the level of automation significantly and increase occupational safety at the mill.
Now, UPM Joensuu plywood mill is ready to meet future peaks in demand and continue as a leading supplier of plywood for vehicle flooring.
”An investment of this size shows that we are committed to vehicle flooring in the long term,” Patovirta states.
Text: Sara Steensig