With a population of 20,000, the town grew around the mill of A. Ahlstrom – now Stora Enso – and was formative in the development of Honeywell’s Printa brand, once a major player in printing technology.
The Lehtisepät newspaper plant – formerly Savon Paino – is next door to the mill, its building linked by a rail track once used to transport reels directly to the printing press.
And completing the circle, the first Printa system was installed on Savon Paino’s Wifag OF7 press in 1987.
Lehtisepät’s Varkhaus plant is a survivor in the group, now rationalised to four plants with five presses, and was chosen for a major investment of press control and automation systems last year.
Managing director Sauli Vuorinen says the 1987 system “clearly needs to be replaced” as more production is added. The project has a defined focus on print efficiency and waste control, with DCOS chosen as partner after research and evaluation of possible solutions.
The press of ten satellite units, four color decks and two folders, has been extended in three stages with the common Printa I control system complemented by a mix of ABB, AMK and Bosch Rexroth drives. DCOS will replace the control system and integrate the drive systems into a single platform. The Wifag WPOS system will also be replaced, and six Wifag splicers retrofitted.
Vuorinen says the press is “different from most others”, but during a two-day tour they were able to see four completely different retrofit projects, all with a full closed-loop system, confirming the flexibility they were looking for.
At Varkhaus, the DCOS inspection system – with closed-loop density, register and cut-off – will replace a 2019 QI Press Control cut-off system. The retrofit will start in January 2024.
Pictured (from left): DCOS managing director Mattias Andersson, Sauli Vuorinen, production manager Ari Hassinen, and AKETA Finland managing director Marcus Juselius