“The Miracle of Kajaani” – one story of domestic productionPublished: 20.3.2017 10:55 / Categories: Technology, Sustainability
Because the actual place of manufacture of our LED tubes is sometimes questioned, mostly by competitors, we find it necessary to describe openly how and where our LED tubes are made. And for good measure, at the end of this article you’ll find an invitation to come and see for yourself.
In a recent meeting, one of our cooperation partners mentioned that the world’s LED tubes are nowadays made either in China, or in the city of Kajaani, Finland. They even added a quip about “the miracle of Kajaani”. With these words, our partner no doubt intended to flatter our company, but there’s also another side to it. Since this occurrence, I have boldly, and mischievously, come out with this provocative remark myself, even though the comparison between Kajaani’s and China’s LED tube production may not be fair. After all, global production of LED products is concentrated in China, and almost all the major lighting brands are made there. And that was where Valtavalo’s first LED tubes were manufactured too. However, since 2012, all our LED tubes are made in Kajaani. We also use Finnish material suppliers to the greatest extent possible, and we increase the amount of domestic input and content in our products at every possible opportunity.
But although the facts are on our side, vicious rumours are hard to dispel. The latest, unfounded claim we have heard is that we supposedly purchase the plastic end caps of our LED tubes from a competitor that imports Chinese products. It has also even been claimed that our products are entirely Chinese, and that all that is done in Finland is “shove the end cap into place.” The most usual arrogant comment from someone poorly informed on the subject is “the same Chinese stuff as everyone else – except for being overpriced.”
Although false stories do of course get us down, these rumours put out by competitors or others, despite being based on ignorance, are in a way understandable. After all, it is hard to believe that the world’s best LED tubes could be produced by a small company in Kajaani, Finland. But this does indeed appear to be the case, at least if one believes in independent laboratory tests and unbiased product comparisons, such as the comparison of 12 different LED tubes that was published in the LUX Review.
Our LED tubes are assembled in our own factory in Kajaani. In the assembly, we use a robotic arm-fitted automated assembly line that was designed and manufactured in the city of Kuopio. Our flagship product, the G-series LED tubes, have aluminium frames that are made for us in county of Pirkanmaa, plastic covers in the city of Vaasa. The plastic for the end caps come from the city of Outokumpu, and the metal parts from the city of Vantaa. And the end caps too are assembled robotically at our own factory in Kajaani. The LED circuit boards are made locally, at home in Kajaani. Finally, the finished products are wrapped in packaging materials from Vantaa. In all, then, our flagship product is around 80% Finnish. This is very close to the maximum degree possible, when one takes into account that not everything can be found in Finland. As for the products of our new E-series, the degree of domestic input is not quite as high. But as soon as the procurement channels stabilise over the coming years, we will certainly increase the amount of domestic input into this series too.
Although we have actively promoted and defended Finnish manufacturing countless times in the media, for us domestic production and products are not just about value choices or bearing our fair share of social responsibility. They are also about clear, case-hardened business thinking. When a large proportion of our products are sold in Finland and elsewhere in Northern Europe, it is simply good sense and logic to make the products here. Although every company pronounces their products to be high quality, from experience we can say that the very best quality demands state-of-the-art design, materials, and manufacturing processes. These essential conditions are easier to ensure and maintain in Finland than on the other side of the globe. Also, in domestic production and materials procurements the risk of fluctuations is also small, and any fluctuations in the price of the US dollar affect our pricing only indirectly, if at all.
So as you can confirm from what I’ve just told you, Finnishness is something that Valtavalo takes very seriously. The miracle of Kajaani not only benefits us, but also our customers, and the whole country.
We are happy to offer our customers and cooperation partners the chance to visit our factory in Kajaani to see our local miracle, our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. We welcome all inquiries about visiting possibilities; please make your inquiry to our representative in your area, or directly to our sales manager. You’ll find their contact details here.
Video on Valtavalo’s G-series automated production line:
Video on Valtavalo’s end cap automation: