Dream factories from Ulvila

Text: Kreetta Haaslahti Photos: Cimcorp

Optimisation and simplification could form the core of operations. When you add passion, expertise and the ability to innovate to the daily grind, you will find international success. At least in Ulvila.

Cimcorp is an Ulvila-based pioneer of automated in-house logistics solutions. The first version of a modular robot system was created at the turn of the 1970s into the 1980s, when a company, called Rosenlew Automation at that time, started to deliver material processing systems to display tube factories.
- Managing the flow of goods is challenging without automation. The manual completion of transfers easily leads to mistakes. Automatic processing speeds up the flow of goods while stock and order retrieval software help us to stay up-to-date on where all items are, when we are expecting more and when we have to deliver the goods, says Paula Ovaskainen, Corporate Marketing and Communications Director of Cimcorp Oy.

Portal robots save space and time

Robots are still the core component in Cimcorp's systems. Currently, they are just bigger than they used to be: so-called portal robots.
– Portal robots save space. They can control a bigger processing area and there is empty floor space underneath them, making the space ideal for temporary warehousing or placement of process machinery. 

Cimcorp's most recent robot innovation is the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle.
– In this model, a portal robot is equipped with the traditional grabber as well as an attached shuttle dumper that can quickly transfer a single plastic container from the temporary storage to the conveyor and further to the pick-up station. 

Dream factories for the largest companies in the world

One of Cimcorp's most significant customer segments is the tyre industry. The Dream Factory solution has been under development for the tyre industry's material processing needs for nearly 10 years. Initially, portal robots were utilised for some tyre manufacturing phases that required temporary warehousing.
– Our clients asked us to include even larger entities in the solution because the tyre industry was lacking suppliers that were familiar with the processing of materials in the clients' manufacturing processes. 

© Cimcorp

Launched in 2010, Dream Factory controlled the tyre factory's material supply assembly machinery through the entire process all the way to the warehousing and dispatching of finished tyres.
– In the extended version, released in February 2016, we also control the beginning of the process: the processing of raw materials and semi-finished products.

The four largest tyre manufacturers in the world, Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental are Cimcorp's clients and of the ten largest companies, seven place their trust in Cimcorp.
– There is growth potential, as new tyre factories are being built, for example, in the USA, the former Eastern Bloc countries and less developed countries. The production lines of existing tyre factories are also being upgraded and automation is being increased.

Success = skilled and learning staff

Cimcorp's headquarters is located in Ulvila and its subsidiary, Cimcorp Automation, in Canada. Additionally, maintenance is offered at locations in Helsinki, Lahti and Jyväskylä. The majority of the staff, approximately 240 people, work in Finland.
– Cimcorp's "production machinery" is its staff. The staff's expertise creates success. Because the staff is here, the company is here. We are also happy to use good local subcontractors and there are plenty of them in Satakunta as well.

© Cimcorp

Interfaces between automation and software play a crucial role in terms of the type of expertise required in this industry. It is important to Cimcorp that its employees understand programming related to automation as well as so-called higher level programming.
– This interface has been lacking from ICT curricula and it is now sought through collaboration between education and working life. At installation sites, it is particularly important to understand interfaces in equipment manufactured by us as well as by other companies.

Cimcorp primarily hires good people with an open and learning-centred attitude.
– We value people who, for example, demonstrate learning a new programming language if needed, even if it was not a part of the applicant's skill set at the time of recruiting.

Exports and entities grow

Cimcorp's products are large systems and thus big investments for companies. They are suitable only for the largest food manufacturers and distributors as well as tyre factories. There is only one tyre manufacturer in Finland. 
– Annually, approximately 90% of Cimcorp's products are exported. There are some large domestic projects, but not even close to every year.

It seems that in the future, even larger and more complex entities must be controlled via automation and software. In terms of distribution, complexity increases as channels proliferate; the growth of internet sales poses a challenge to deliver even faster. Materials must flow. And Cimcorp is ready.