Junnikkala is an export-driven wood processing company with a history of more than 60 years. To meet growing demand, the Ostrobothnia-based company is in the process of building a new, modern sawmill to complement its two existing production facilities by the end of 2023. In 2021, Junnikkala and Pinja launched a joint production simulation project to build a digital model of the future sawmill and to ensure in advance, among other things, the sufficiency of the sawmill feed and drying capacities.

The cooperation in brief

Junnikkala Oulu sawmill planning project starts

Junnikkala and Pinja started planning project in 2021. The main objective was to use simulation to provide answers to the core questions of sawmill investment and construction, as well as efficient production. 

Pinja creates a digital model for Junnikkala

After a joint planning and specification phase, Pinja created a digital model for Junnikkala, which corresponds to the new sawmill in Oulu. Junnikkala provided Pinja with the initial data needed for the work, and along the way, additional information was exchanged and progress was monitored in weekly meetings.

Production simulation helps ensure optimal capacity in advance

The cloud-based solution was delivered to Junnikkala in spring 2022. Junnikkala’s staff gained access to the digital model in order to perform various test runs and to simulate the overall operation of the sawmill in advance. The results of the production simulation are used to ensure optimal capacity of machinery and warehouses, and to deal with bottlenecks, among other things.

We have been pleased with the cooperation. We describe the problem to Pinja, and Pinja dismantles it and solves it.

Janne Pyy, Production Manager, Junnikkala Oy

The digital model provides answers to core questions in advance

Junnikkala Oy, a traditional wood processing company from Kalajoki, is currently preparing the largest investment in its history. The value of the investment in the new Oulu sawmill is approximately EUR 70 million. Junnikkala’s existing production plants are in Kalajoki and Oulainen.

The new sawmill in Oulu will increase the company’s total production to 750,000 cubic meters of sawmill and planing products. After the investment, the company’s turnover is expected to reach EUR 250 million per year.

Because a major investment involves many far-reaching decisions and significant cost issues, Junnikkala wanted to obtain reliable, pre-confirmed data to base its decisions on. Junnikkala and Pinja started their simulation cooperation in October 2021, where a digital model of the Oulu sawmill was created.

– We chose Pinja as our partner because they have a track record of similar, modern projects. We also had previous experience of working with Pinja. We use, for example, the Forest by Pinja ERP system, says Janne Pyy, Production Manager at Junnikkala.

The aim of the digital model was to get answers in advance to a number of important questions, such as the adequacy of the log yard, sawmill efficiency and fresh and dry storage areas. Based on the results, Junnikkala is able to make data-driven decisions about the upcoming sawmill.

– We wanted to simulate the overall production of the sawmill in advance and ensure, for example, the capacities of the sawmill feed and the dryers. And we did get the answers we were looking for, says Pyy.

In addition to the building plan, the results also help plan other aspects of the business in the future, and they will be used as an effective tool for production planning. For example, knowing in advance the number of finished product packages per week that will come out of production allows better planning of port deliveries. An estimated 90% of the new sawmill’s production will be exported via Oulu and other ports in the surrounding area to around 50 counties.

In addition, the digital model can better account for by-products of sawmilling, such as wood chips, pulp, and bark. 

– The whole process with Pinja was quite fluent. We provided baseline data on the operation of our two existing production facilities. Along the way, we provided additional information as needed, and reviewed the progress of the project in joint weekly meetings. Pinja completed the project within the agreed timeframe, says Pyy.

The earthworks phase of the new sawmill will start in Oulu in spring 2022, and construction will be completed between 2023 and 2024. The sawmill will be fully operational in the spring of 2024.

Quality, reliability, and accountability

Junnikkala’s typical clientele includes house manufacturers and wholesalers, both in Finland and other countries. Geographically important export regions include Japan, North Africa, Central Europe and the UK. Currently, around 60–70% of production is exported, and the Oulu sawmill will increase this figure even further. 

For Junnikkala’s customers, quality and delivery reliability are the key issues in the timber supply chain. Junnikkala is also known for its high quality abroad, for example in Japan the company has remained in the top three suppliers of glulam beams for construction use in a survey of trading houses for several years. 

With the digital model, Junnikkala can simulate different runs with the parameters of their choice, for example with different log quantities and drying times, shift systems and product routing. This ensures production efficiency, and also provides customers with accurate information on delivery times.

– Sustainability is also part of practically everything we do. We consider the carbon footprint at all stages, we forward by-products for recycling, and we also focus on ecological alternatives in packaging, says Janne Pyy.

The cooperation with Pinja aims to ensure that the things that Junnikkala’s customers value remain at a high level in the future, and that they can be further improved. 

– We have been pleased with the cooperation. We describe the problem to Pinja, and Pinja dismantles it and solves it.

Images @ Creamedia

Junnikkala in a nutshell

1960 Ismo Junnikkala sets up the company in Kalajoki

350 000 m3 the annual production volume of the new sawmill

n. 50 countries receiving goods from the new Oulu sawmill

270 new jobs in Ostrobothnia with the sawmill

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