Reliable suppliers and development partners are invaluable resources in industrial sectors. Valmet and Maper have been working together since the beginning of the millennium. We interviewed Timo Ihalainen, Valmet’s Purchasing Manager, who told us about the cornerstones of the long-standing partnership.

Valmet in a Nutshell

Valmet is the world’s leading supplier and developer of process technology, automation solutions, and services for the pulp, paper, and energy industries. The company employs more than 19,000 people around the world and had a turnover of EUR 5.5 billion in 2023. Valmet orders from Maper Oy a range of fine mechanical control devices, valves, and components for its main products, such as fitting sleeves and pipe fittings. Deliveries are made to Valmet’s units globally: in Finland, Sweden, the United States, China, and the United Kingdom.

The Start of Cooperation 

The cooperation started with a dialogue between Valmet’s product development and Maper’s product supplier in the early 2000s when Valmet needed components related to flow technology. Maper had supplied Valmet before, but the cooperation extended to the product development side. Today, there is weekly contact on project deliveries and product technology meetings are held whenever necessary, on average once a year. Cooperation is ongoing and active even now.

Timo Ihalainen, who has worked at Valmet for 30 years, works closely with Maper. His responsibilities include the procurement and procurement development of components for paper machine headboxes. Ihalainen, who has worked his way up from warehouse manager to procurement manager, has a thorough understanding of the requirements of his industry. 

Valmet’s paper machine tailbox

Quality is Everything

Ihalainen emphasizes that cooperation on technology has always been in-depth and that Valmet’s needs have been met. When the valves were developed, the process was thought through from the beginning in terms of the end customer’s process, i.e. paper production, together with Maper. Just over half of the products supplied by Maper are specially developed for Valmet and just under half are universal solutions. 

There are high quality expectations for Valmet’s products, which means that the machines used in production must also be of the highest quality. The paper machine headboxes play a major role in the final quality of the paper. Paper machines run around the clock, so any disruption is costly. There are around 12,000 parts in a paper machine’s headbox, so the failure of any one of them can cause costly downtime. Among other things, the surface quality and cleanliness of the parts and the consistency of quality are important to Valmet. The fine engineering of the products is very detailed and new product launches always involve extensive testing. Valmet reports that there have been hardly any complaints, as the quality of the products has been refined together. There have been hundreds of project deliveries, including thousands of component deliveries.

The Cornerstones of Product Development

Balancing cost-effectiveness and quality output is a challenge, especially in a changing market, but it has been achieved. The market impact on product prices has been moderate. Measures to keep prices in check have included changes in product design and competitive tendering of Maper’s material and component sources. 

“Maper is well-equipped to discuss the customer’s needs thoroughly. The expertise is commendable, and the manufacturing technology meets our needs,” says Ihalainen. He also says that the smoothness of the supply chain will free up Valmet’s resources for other tasks, such as development and improving competitiveness.

Open Communication Promotes Cooperation

The size difference between Valmet and Maper as companies is huge, but the cornerstones of cooperation are openness, fairness, and honesty.

“Maper is a flexible supplier to the customer. In the event of disruptions, they have always responded quickly. We have never had a conflict, but have dealt with things in good spirit,”

says Ihalainen.

Matti Tervamäki, Maper’s Managing Director, also confirms this: ‘Cooperation with Valmet is smooth, we openly discuss the good and the bad. Issues are resolved focusing solely on the matters at hand.”

A Reliable Partner 

When asked about who a suitable client for Maper would be, Ihalainen summarizes:

“I could recommend Maper as a partner for technology companies like Valmet, for customers who are looking for product development capability, flexibility, good interaction, fast and efficient service.”

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