In Hämeenlinna, neighbouring FSP’s new surface treatment facility, is the home of Sisu Akselit – a long-standing company better known as Sisu Axles outside Finland. Its products were surface treated in Hämeenlinna already before FSP acquired the paint shop. Sisu Akselit commends the smooth transition and FSP’s eagerness for cooperation. Through cooperation, new ideas have also already emerged.
– The business of Sisu Akselit is power transfer solutions, which practically means axle and pinion systems and pivots with some exceptional requirements. Our offering includes traditional solid axles and independent suspension axles. They are used in regular trucks, terminal tractors and for military use. For heavy military vehicles, we deliver both solid and independent suspension axle systems, says Ismo Koskela, General Manager of Sisu Akselit.
– There is also the spare part side, adds Timo Vähänen, Technology Director. – Spare parts make up a large share of our revenue.
The company began operations in 1931 with the formation of Suomen Autoteollisuus (Finnish Automobile Industry) and creation of the Sisu brand. In the 1940s, it started to make axle systems for Sisu and Vanaja branded trucks and buses. Today, the company operates under American ownership. Its revenue is ca. 22 MEUR, with around 50 employees in Hämeenlinna.
SPECIAL PAINTING AS AN OVERNIGHT SERVICE
Sisu Akselit Oy’s products travel from Hämeenlinna to many parts of the world and to varying environments of usage.
– We make a couple of thousand axle systems each year, with 150 configurations this year alone, Ismo Koskela says in the middle of summer. – A lot of our products end up, either directly or through clients, in Australia, Central Europe and North America – for example in a huge mine in Canada, near Greenland. Our axles are used in military vehicles, snow ploughing vehicles, oil field vehicles and rally cars. In the terminal tractors of various manufacturers, our products
end up in harbours all over the world.
Sisu Akselit conducts their product development inhouse, tailoring solutions for clients. With a large, international and varied customer base, one must be able to trust the products.
Surface treatment is a part of the product’s quality and reliability.
– FSP paints all of our end products, Timo Vähänen says. – Most are coated with primer, but many also with final coat. Painting requirements vary according to the client and product. Some clients have special requirements, in which case specialized paints are used. Sisu Akselit transports products to FSP’s surface treatment facility where they are normally painted in the same evening or the following night.
Painting as an “overnight service” had been tested before, and when FSP started operating the Hämeenlinna facility, the practice was revived.
– This arrangement has worked brilliantly. Everything goes smooth and fast, Ismo Koskela says.
GOOD COOPERATION BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS
Läheisyydestä on muutakin hyötyä kuin se, että asiat nopeutuvat.
Ismo Koskela admits that when the operator of the Hämeenlinna surface treatment facility changed, there was a risk of a production stoppage at the paint shop.
– However, there was no interruption at all. Our relationship is good and easy in many ways. With FSP, it is cooperation first and foremost, Koskela says.
In practice, this means regular communication as well as quality group and development meetings on an almost weekly basis. They cover both the projects at hand and planning the future.
– We are co-developing a lot of pre-treatment practices. At the same time, we are preparing for customer demands, Timo Vähänen illustrates.
He says that in the future some of the pre-treatment carried out by Sisu Akselit could be cut out as FSP is developing their Hämeenlinna facility. It would reduce delivery times while improving quality.
Part of the co-development is digital.
– We have various plans for deepening our cooperation, Vähänen says. – One idea and goal is that at some point the ERPs of both companies would communicate with each other.
He also gives credit for the smooth cooperation.
– It feels that cooperation is something that’s built in FSP’s culture. When FSP is developing their production, they are improving the quality of our products at the same time.