Kiilto works with VAK Oy, a manufacturer of transport equipment solutions, to choose the best adhesives for their processes and products. The partnership aims to develop smoother, safer, and more responsible processes for VAK, as well as extremely durable end products.
VAK is the market leader for temperature-controlled transport equipment in Finland. In addition to trailers, VAK designs and manufactures transport bodies, demountable bodies, V-Sliders, dollies, demountables and hooklifts, among others.
Durable and fit-for-purpose adhesives are key to the company’s business: all products manufactured by VAK use adhesives to bond materials together.
“We use adhesives to attach materials evenly and securely to each other without having to punch holes in the structure. With the right adhesive, the materials will adhere together firmly and durably,” says Juuso Laine, Design and R&D Manager at VAK.
VAK has dozens of materials and applications that demand innovative and durable adhesive technologies, and each process requires a very specific type of adhesive. These adhesives must not only be able to withstand huge motive power and harsh environmental conditions, but they must also offer the best usability and safety features and promote the highest standard of corporate responsibility.
“When a glued joint can withstand a load of 20 to 30 tonnes on a truck trailer, while being exposed to sunlight, frost, torsion and vibration, that is an extremely durable adhesive,” says Juha Räisälä, Regional Manager at Kiilto.
“This collaboration will allow us to develop and test some interesting new adhesives and their properties,” Räisälä continues.
Modern production methods allow the use of adhesives in demanding structures.
Trusting a long-standing partner in the driver’s seat
Kiilto and VAK have looked to each other in developing new solutions since 2011. Over the years, the cooperation has deepened and the trust between the companies has grown stronger, making communication and joint development projects fluent and effortless.
“Our collaboration is as much about planning various development projects as it is about the ideas generated during customer visits on how one adhesive might be better suited to a specific purpose, or how we could make a particular working phase safer, easier or more sustainable. By now, we are very familiar with VAK’s production process, which also allows us to proactively provide them with ideas for process optimisation,” Räisälä explains.
Examples of ideas generated during customer visits include changing a solvent used in gluing to one that is safer for workers, or changing an adhesive that is too viscous for the process to one that flows more easily. Corporate responsibility and environmental considerations are always at the heart of the development process and, whenever possible, raw materials are replaced with bio-based and more environmentally friendly alternatives.
“Our common goal is to develop a more standardised technology for the transport equipment industry, based on measured data, to further optimise the quantity of adhesives used, as well as their open time and curing rate. This will result in savings for VAK, for example, in terms of lead-times,” says Lauri Kojola, Design Engineer at VAK.
VAK and Kiilto communicate at least weekly, making it easy for both parties to keep abreast of what is going on.
“I always let VAK know about new innovations we have made in our product development that could benefit their business,” Räisälä says.
The close cooperation between Juuso Laine (left) and Juha Räisälä translates into sustainable solutions.
Products that stand the test of time for the transport equipment industry
Both Kiilto and VAK aim to create materials that will last throughout the product’s life cycle. All VAK products are unique tools finished to perfection and designed for heavy-duty professional use.
“The glued joint must last without repair for as long as the product is used, and the bonding process must be as quick, easy, and safe as possible. We make responsible choices and strive for continuous improvement by innovating and researching more environmentally sustainable alternatives for raw materials,” Räisälä explains.
The people at VAK have faith that Kiilto will always provide immediate development assistance in matters related to the final product, the process and safety.
“The best thing about our collaboration is that we don’t need to know everything about adhesives and their properties ourselves but can rely on Kiilto and their professionalism. This allows us to focus 100% on our own business,” says Juuso Laine from VAK.