Modern Education Institution
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK) lies at the heart of the beautiful Finnish lake district in Eastern Finland. XAMK is a modern higher education institution, offering high quality education and a variety of different study fields. XAMK serves the area of Eastern Finland with four campuses in the towns of Kotka, Kouvola, Mikkeli and Savonlinna, where the FiberLaboratory, opened in 2005, is located.
Fiber Laboratory – Biotechnological innovations in search of new possibilities
The FiberLaboratory is the Savonlinna based biotechnology innovation center of XAMK. The laboratory develops technology and innovations for the processing and forestry industry, as well as for chemical, measurement, control, and automation system manufacturers. In FiberLaboratory there are fiber, water and wastewater laboratories, piloting equipment up to production scale and portable piloting equipment for factory tests.
"Everything that we do here at the laboratory aims at saving the world," says the director of the FiberLaboratory Tapio Tirri. It sounds bold, but it’s not something that’s taken out of thin air. They have projects for wood’s new possibilities - tannins from bark and collecting CO2-emissions from industrial processes to reuse. For the CO2-emission capture, XAMK owns a patent.
Wood has many good qualities and, in the future, it can be used in various applications. Researchers are on a quest to find solutions for the food, animal feed and pharmaceutical industries and, for example, as a component in tires for the automotive industry.
In this innovative, world’s only production scale sized laboratory, professionalism for the facility machinery is needed. In the year of construction, XAMK needed engineering help in designing the institute. Makron’s Engineering unit (prev. Mekateam Oy) was the solution.
Together from the beginning
Since 2005, when the Kuitu 1 laboratory was first designed and built, Makron engineers were in close cooperation with the university. Makron engineers created the plant design for the laboratory that was built. The design phase took only about six months, considering that Kuitu 1 was the first of its kind. The construction was ready by the end of 2005 when the FiberLaboratory was first launched for research. Through the years the needs have changed and the plant has had to be modified. In 2014, the second unit was constructed as an add-on to the first lab.
The changes have been quite significant for the customer and the Makron team because the research has developed and new things have been found. Many changes are done consistently. "The needs of our customers have developed throughout the years and that’s why we need to develop also," says Tirri. "Makron has been a good companion to FiberLaboratory researchers – we keep a good discussion alive continuously which makes us adaptive to changes."
"Makron’s ability to perform and deliver on schedule is a huge benefit for us," Project Manager Petteri Paananen from XAMK thanks Makron’s team. "Also the nearby location is a nice plus, since the cooperation is active and works solidly."
Since 2005, Makron has gained reputation and knowledge which have lead it from being a designing unit to the only full-scope delivery partner for FiberLaboratory. "We want to offer good service – not only deliver mechanical engineering files. Our aim is to develop things in collaboration and work together," says Antti Janhunen, Business Manager from Makron Engineering.
New technology units, new discoveries
Every year changes have to be made to the factory and Makron has been chosen as a partner after winning the bidding process. In 2013–2014 Makron collaborated with the designing and manufacturing of a new flash loop unit.
With prior knowledge and cooperation, Makron executed the whole project with machine manufacturing and installing the flash loop. The new bioreactor unit in 2015 was also designed and executed by Makron and delivered to Kuitu 2 as a complete turnkey delivery.
"In the future we will see Makron and FiberLaboratory working together, developing and discovering new, fascinating findings in terms of sustainability and renewal," says Tapio Tirri.
″This totally new process has been one big challenge. Rarely anybody starts to do something entirely new. We started from scratch and that’s always a risk.″