KINNA, February 16, 2023 – Varkaus is a small town in eastern Finland located in the Finnish lake district with 20,000 inhabitants. Varkaus has played a key role in the history of Finish newspaper production. In the early 20th century Varkaus grew as an industrial town around the paper mills of A. Ahlstrom. Ahlstrom started paper production in Varkaus 1921 and in 1930 the Ahlstrom group of companies had grown into Finland’s largest industrial conglomerate. The paper mill is now Stora Enso.
Lehtisepät Oy’s printing plant in Varkaus, formerly known as Savon Paino Oy, today owned and operated by Lehtisepät group is located just next to the paper mill. The two buildings are linked with a rail track that used to transport the paper reels straight to the printing press.
Honeywell Oy’s printing division with the PRINTA brand was originally headquartered in Varkaus, and used to be the dominating press control system in the Nordic countries and well-known globally. The very first PRINTA system from Honeywell (generation I) was installed on Savon Paino’s Wifag OF7 press in 1987.
The next chapter in the history of newspaper production in Varkaus is now to be written.
Lehtisepät group has recently shuttered two printing plants in Finland but still operates four plants with five presses. The Varkaus plant is and will remain an important production facility, and Lehtisepät decided in 2022 for a major investment toward its press control and automation system.
Sauli Vuorinen, managing director at Lehtisepät says; “As we are adding on more production in Varkaus the press control system from 1987 clearly needs to be replaced and this project also have a defined focus on print efficiency and waste control. We did our research and evaluation on possible vendors and solutions in second half of 2022 and in December we chose DCOS as our partner in this project”.
The press consists of ten satellite units, four color decks and two folders. It has been extended in three stages and has a common PRINTA I control system but a mix of ABB, AMK and Bosch Rexroth drives. DCOS will replace the complete control system and integrate all drive systems into one platform. The Wifag WPOS system will be replaced and six Wifag splicers will be retrofitted.
“Our press is different from most other presses and DCOS vast retrofit experience impressed us. We had a two-day tour and saw four completely different presses all retrofitted by DCOS and all with a full Closed-Loop System. These demos proved the flexibility we were looking for”, Sauli continues.
The project also included a full DCOS Inspection System with closed-loop density, register and cut-off which will replace the QI Press Control cut-off system installed in 2019. The retrofit will start in January 2024.
“I’m excited to win the trust of the Lehtisepät team. This is one of the largest orders in our history and it will continue to build the reputation of DCOS as the leading and most dynamic source for retrofits and upgrades in this industry”, says Mattias Andersson, CEO at DCOS.