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Supply Chain

Finland’s Valio Invests Over €10m In New Preprocessing Facility

By Dayeeta Das
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Finland’s Valio Invests Over €10m In New Preprocessing Facility

Finnish dairy firm Valio has invested more than €10 million in a new preprocessing facility at its plant in Suonenjoki.

The facility will enhance the preprocessing of the frozen berries, fruit, vegetables and herbs processed in the plant and increase predictability in production and raw-material management, the dairy firm noted.

Valio commenced construction of the automated facility in December, and it is expected to become operational in 2025.

The project will see the addition of several hundred square metres to the preprocessing area.

It will also instal a new melting system for frozen products, to improve and facilitate the handling of frozen raw materials.

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The construction work will not affect the plant’s operations, Valio added.

New Technology

The plant manager at Suonenjoki, Markku Ihasalo, added, “The investment will also bring new technology to the plant, enabling it to raise the temperature of frozen raw materials from the -20 °C during transport and storage to the product-processing temperature of -2 °C in a matter of a few minutes.

“Additionally, [the] new automation will facilitate the handling of heavy frozen raw materials. This will significantly increase the efficiency and speed of the plant’s production and bring flexibility to the manufacturing of products.”

The robotics technology to be incorporated in the new pretreatment facility will help reduce physically taxing work, contributing to the well-being of workers.

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“The growing pretreatment and production area and the upgraded process technology will allow us to develop and expand our plant’s operations. This is an important investment in the future of the Suonenjoki plant, and also a vote of confidence in our work,” Ihasalo added.

Suonenjoki Plant

Valio’s Suonenjoki plant produces jams, marmalades, cream fillings, purées and flavoured oils for Valio and other food companies, including bakeries.

The plant processes approximately 500 different raw materials annually, from exotic fruits to Finnish berries.

Currently, the plant employs around 100 people in its production processes, the receiving and handling of raw materials, and product development.

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The product development side of the plant produces dozens of new and seasonal products every year. It also undertakes customised development work for bakeries and other customers.

Around 85% of the plant is used for Valio’s yoghurts, flavoured quarks, and other snacks.

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