The compatibility of AFT’s Finebar refiner plates with the actual refiner is a key advantage of our product innovation. We now have a refiner and a compatible refiner plate solution that we trust and believe in,” says AFT’s Timo Koivisto.
According to Koivisto, while all suppliers have double disc refiners, AFT’s refiner stands out from the others thanks to its compact size.
“Use of the refiner is hydraulically very economical. The refiner is also perfectly suited to IoT integration with our new AFTLinx™ platform. This provides comprehensive service for maintenance and process optimization,” he explains.
Koivisto says the development of the new refiner was possible thanks to the new Service Center in Varkaus that was completed a couple of years ago. The Service Center supports all global customers. Since last year, the Service Center has also been delivering POMp degasser technology, a centrifugal pump for air removal in the short circulation. At the same time, the Service Center has adopted new technologies that increase the product’s customer value while also reducing the impact on the environment. In addition, the Service Center is revamping its working methods by integrating capital business and aftersales in order to provide a better customer experience.
“The Service Center operates with quality awareness at the core. With all POMp deliveries going through a one-stop-shop process, the entire manufacturing process is in our hands. Of course, the components come from elsewhere as well, but it is important that we manage this flow in one and the same place,” says Koivisto.
“We are continuously recruiting both employees and salaried personnel in Varkaus, as the mill there is also being developed and invested in, with a focus on energy savings. The mill’s carbon footprint will be reduced,” he adds.
Difficult Covid times
The Covid period affected AFT’s capital business, with deliveries slowing down for a while. The situation has turned around, and customer cooperation is said to have returned nearly to the pre-pandemic level. The company has also received a good amount of delivery enquiries. The spare parts business has not taken a hit due to Covid.
“At AFT’s Group level, our European unit is one of the cornerstones at AFT globally. We are trusted, which is also why we have been getting investments. Strong investments have also been made in Finebar production at our Canadian plant, and sales have grown. Screening products are a significant business for us, which is why we are increasing our investments in them also in Finland,” says Risto Weckroth, AFT’s Director of European Operations.
In the beginning of April, Kalle Lahti started as AFT Europe’s sales manager for capital equipment and systems. He has a long career working on screening, refining and in the short circulation, most recently at AFT.
“This work is so interesting and rewarding that I did not hesitate to seize this new challenge. AFT is agile and large enough company to take on even major projects,” says Lahti.
Text Leif Lindberg