Sisu – During our 20-year journey, we have been the pioneer for the whole Thermowood market and have been able to conduct successful business in even the toughest situations.
At the beginning of 2001, 16 people were recruited to the mill to learn about the production of Thermowood and begin the operations of the new plant. Of this original team, three still work for Lunawood: Reijo Rytkönen, Ari Partanen and Timo Mähönen. Thermowood professionals and wood workers with a big heart.
Lunawood roots in a bold idea of the Kärkkäinen brothers which came to fruition through hard work, Sisu and a determined approach.“To start with, everything was new and we were ready to try our hand at everything. Even though we attended courses to learn more about Thermowood part of the time, we were also building a tunnel kiln and helped get the mill ready for start-up. We got to know the entire production chain,” say Pasanen and Rytkönen. Even though everything was new and exciting, the early stages of the plant’s history were not easy due to funding issues. The commissioning of Iisalmi’s Soinlahti mill was marked with a celebration on February 15, 2002 where the entire staff was present, in addition to invited guests.
Colleagues since 2001: Reijo Rytkönen and Ari Partanen
Hard work with Sisu
The demand for Thermowood was there from the start. When the mill expanded its operations to planing, the company’s range extended to cover processed products. The spirits were increasingly high, with the Kärkkäinens’ unwavering faith in their product proving contagious. Everyone worked hard. From the start, the company has grown at a rapid rate, which the employees have also noticed. “Even though the company has grown and changed, the basic idea has remained the same over the years. Thermowood is at the core of our operations and hopefully that won’t change,” explains Partanen, who currently works in quality assurance.
Timo Mähönen at the planing line of Lunawood’s mill in Iisalmi, 2006
Product quality always a priority
Rytkönen and Partanen have worked as a team since joining the company. Today, they work together in the Thermowood laboratory on tasks related to continuous quality control and the optimization of the thermal modification process. “We had to learn it all the hard way to begin with. Over the years, we have realized that the machines must be serviced and remain in good condition. Product quality has always been important to us and we carry out uninterrupted quality control.
At the beginning, quality was not consistent, which is typical of a new product. Getting the quality right was a priority for the company and employees,” shares Rytkönen.
Lunawood has it’s own quality control laboratory
A top team consists of people of all ages
Mähönen has also had the opportunity to gain experience from a wide range of tasks, even though to begin with, the focus was on the thermal modification process. A sense of community has always been one of Lunawood’s strengths and the company’s sauna evenings, in particular, have always been a great success. Mähönen believes that the younger generations are the future of Lunawood. “A work community should consist of people of varying ages to create a good balance. We have great team spirit here, and I’m proud of having been able to introduce the Thermowood field to younger generations,” says Mähönen, smiling.
Appreciation for forests and wood as a material is evident among the Lunawood team, and Mähönen also says he believes wood to be the best material in the world. “I’m a forest person, first and foremost. I’m a forestry technician by training and I also own some forest. Being in the forest is relaxing and helps me stay fit. It’s great that I get to work with a material that is close to my heart and to process it into export products.”
”We wish Lunawood steady and strong growth despite the turmoil taking place globally. We hope that Lunawood will remain a great workplace where everyone is valued regardless of job titles. That also ensures that stakeholders see it as a reliable partner that places a high value on quality
– Ari Partanen, Reijo Rytkönen and Timo Mähönen –