Nokian Heavy Tyres (Nokian) is set to begin production from a vast new R&D Centre in Nokia, Finland, by end-2019. The premium tyre manufacturer has put in nearly EUR€70 million into increasing production of commercial tyres (by 50%), doubling new product development and efficient tyre testing within the new centre.
Minor construction glitches have so far been resolved with careful planning and quick changes to the schedule, and through the Lean model, Nokian’s delivery was increased by 15% in the middle of ongoing renovations.Plant Director Pasi Antinmaa tells of a relocated tyre curing line which was able to minimise disturbance to production, “The quick change of plans paid off; The next milestone will be the installation of the highly automated visual inspection and tyre buffer storage in August 2019.”
Nokian’s new R&D Centre is expected to hit full production capacity by 2021 -installation plans for their modern machinery is well underway and the upcoming facilities will promote smoother and safer workflow.Matti Kaunisto, Development Manager at Nokian, is awed by the size of the new 3,500sq-m building after only detailing the Building Information Model on his computer these past months. Kaunisto thinks the finished building will boost innovation work and speed up the time-to-market production.
R&D Director Kalle Kaivonen said much recruiting was done to build a capable team to lead the whole process – constant learning, collaboration and exceeding expectations is deeply embedded in the company culture. Kaivonen mentions that the new personnel has learned the ropes quickly, “Challenges are inevitable; pulling it off so well, with the old and new employees complementing each other, gives credit to the whole organisation.”
As Nokian seeks to increase production and multiply its new product line-up, Kaivonen explains their biggest R&D stakes are in the agricultural segment – making the most out of existing farmland in a sustainable way. New tyre technologies from good planetary resources have a role in feeding the population: “Highway transports, carbon footprint, fuel consumption, and friendliness to the soil are very much linked to global food production,” Kaivonen sums it up.