Thank you for visiting us at Subcontracting Trade Fair

Fortaco's Team wants to thank all of you who visited us at Tampere Subcontracting Trade Fair and showed interest in our new applications.
See you at Elmia Subcontractor Exhibition in Jönköping, Sweden 13.-16.11.2018.

Engineering with Glass?

Lund University offers new ways of thinking about glass.

Glass is generally treated by engineers as, well, glass. It offers protection from wind, insects, rain, heat, and cold, but many engineers don’t consider its mechanical properties when designing new products. From the point of view of strength, it is literally invisible! This is especially true in the heavy machinery industry where machines can weigh 70 tons -- and our job is to protect the operator with the care that might be afforded an infant in a car seat. In the event of a roll-over or fall-over, the operator must emerge unscathed.

In the cabin environment most mechanical engineers would laugh at the idea of using glass as a load-bearing element. But they would be terribly wrong, as my team and I recently learned during an informal seminar at Lund University’s Department of Construction Science.

Challenged by Professor Erik Serrano and his colleagues, we convened a meeting to discuss engineering with glass – and we invited our cabin-specialist customers. What we learned was that the civil engineering industry is bravely exploring new applications for glass. Designers and architects are driving the demand for the wider usage of glass as an engineering material.

Our discussion also explored the topic of improving visibility for the operator in the cabin. Of course, there is a list of problems to be solved, but every solution starts somewhere as a spark in a meeting like ours with our clients and the experts from Lund. It was an open discussion where engineers representing a variety of product needs could share their ideas as well as learn about what’s taking place in other parts of their industry.

Thank you, Professor Serrano, Professor Persson, and Dr. Kozlowski, for hosting us in Lund! We look forward to building further on the ideas we discussed.

Tata AutoComp signs Memorandum of Understanding with Fortaco Group

Tata AutoComp signs Memorandum of Understanding with Fortaco Group -
aims to expand its offering to the farm equipment segment.

The farm equipment market in India is developing and requesting customized solutions in cabin design and user friendly working ergonomics as well as safety for end users. The market is expected to continue growing and supporting domestic and international need of excellent farm equipment products.

About Tata AutoComp Systems Limited
Tata AutoComp Systems Limited (Tata AutoComp), promoted by the Tata Group, provides products and services to the Indian and Global automotive OEMs as well as Tier 1 suppliers. Tata AutoComp has own capabilities in Automotive Interior & Exterior Plastics, Composites, Sheet Metal Stampings as well as Engineering and Supply Chain. Tata AutoComp has 7 joint ventures in partnership with leading companies from the Global Auto Component Industry through which it manufactures and markets automotive components and systems like engine cooling solutions, automotive batteries, rear view mirrors, command systems, HVAC, exhaust and emission control systems, seating systems and electronic solutions for passenger and commercial vehicles as well as suspensions for heavy commercial vehicles. Tata AutoComp has 34 manufacturing facilities spread across India and 8 facilities spread across North America, Latin America, Europe and China.

About Fortaco Group
Fortaco Group is the leading brand independent strategic Tier 1 partner to the heavy off-highway equipment industries offering technology, vehicle cabins, steel fabrications and vehicle assemblies. Fortaco Group has operations in 8 European Business Sites and 3 Technology Hubs, which are supporting our global customers.

AgriTech exhibition
At the agriculture exhibition “AgriTech” on 31 August - 2 September in Bangalore Fortaco and Tata AutoComp displayed together a new cabin designed and manufactured to address the requests and needs on the farm equipment market in India. The new cabin is based on the latest global cabin product and manufacturing technologies securing excellent customer experience and manufacturability.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Lars Hellberg
President & CEO
Fortaco Group Oy
Ph: +358 40 572 9488

Mr. Shvetal Diwanji
Vice President Corporate Communications
Tata AutoComp Systems Limited
Ph: +91-20-66085119
Mob: +91- 9604400266

Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia visited Fortaco factory in Narva

President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid visited Fortaco factory in Narva. President was welcomed by Lars Hellberg, President & CEO for Fortaco Group, Larissa Shabunova, Managing Director for Fortaco Estonia OU, Kimmo Raunio, CFO for Fortaco Group and Hannu Heinonen, Deputy Head of Mission, Finnish Embassy in Estonia.

After the presentations of Fortaco Group, Fortaco Estonia and Honorary Consulate of Finland in Narva President Kaljulaid was invited to see production facilities and the site of future factory which is under construction. During the tour at production President Kaljulaid was offered an opportunity to make a souvenir to herself with the official Estonia 100 years -logo. President Kaljulaid pressed the button on Bystronic Laser Cutting Machine and in a minute a blank souvenir was ready. By the end of the factory tour the souvenir was ready bended and painted. President Kaljulaid was positively surprised about the speed and quality of factory processes.

President Kaljulaid highly appreciated the great development of Fortaco Estonia, being the second biggest and the best employer in the Narva region. She was also surprised about the investment programs and technologies implemented and the complexity of products manufactured at Fortaco factory in Narva.

President Kaljulaid is wishing the best success for the Fortaco factory in the future.

Example vehicle cabin design by Fortaco engineers

New Operator Cabin for Agricultural Tractors

Fortaco is introducing a new new Operator Cabin for agricultural tractors at AgriTech Exhibition in Bangalore, India on 31 August - 2 September 2018.

The new cabin is based on the latest global cabin product and manufacturing technolgies securing excellent customer experience and manufacturability.

Modern look, rigid and durable structure are combined in this state-of-the-art operator cabin. In addition to safety, comfort and user friendly working ergonomics as well as cost effectiveness have been the key factors in the design process.

Cabin can be easily adapted to the most common agricultural tractor brands.

Fortaco to exhibit at Subcontracting Fair in Tampere, Finland

Fortaco will exhibit at Subcontracting Fair in Tampere, Finland. The event takes place on 25 - 27 September at the Tampere Exhibition Center.

We have seen a rapid growth on the market during the last years, which has stretched supply chains into the maximum. The busy market situation has created challenges for both OEMs and their suppliers. In order to meet market expectations, Fortaco has continued our Operational Excellence program and made a number of investments into the production lay-outs, manufacturing technology and automation to boost capacity across our manufacturing footprint. Investments will be continued also this year – one big robot welding cell is about to be installed in Kalajoki factory, and more welding robots and machining centers have been taken into operation at our factory in Narva.

Fortaco has launched a new Fortaco Technology unit to help our customers also in steel fabrication and manufacturing technology, in additon to cabin technolgoy. We want to offer the best in class product design and manufacturing technology in one package.

Please visit our stand and meet with our technology team to see possibilities within virtual and augmented reality in cabin design and quality control. The new reality of R&D is close to our heart. Check out the recent blog by Rafal Sornek, Senior Vice President, Fortaco Technology.

Please come and discuss with our team, what new we can offer for your company in manufacturing and development of technology.

See you in Tampere!
Hall A - Fortaco A630

New Correa CNC machining center started at Fortaco Estonia

A new machining center has been started up at Fortaco Estonia during summer.

Fortaco continue strengthening machining capabilities at Narva factory, the new machine is a big brother of the earlier Correa Fox 40 machine investment.

The Correa Fox 50 bridge type of machine is the third machining investment, which has been started this year to be able to meet the increasing demand on the market.

The movements are: Longitudinal = 5 000 mm, Cross = 3 750 mm, Vertical = 1000 mm. The maximum weight of a work piece is 15 tons.

The new production technology, together with skilled operators, is supporting Fortaco mission to create added value for our customers by reshaping the way things are produced.

The New Reality of R&D

In the race to reduce costs, traditional outsourcing of engineering tasks may lead to higher R&D costs. But to stay competitive the OEM must still outsource. Fortaco Technology's Rafal Sornek shows how to improve R&D efficiency through early involvement of strategic suppliers.

by Rafal Sornek, Senior Vice President for Technology, Fortaco

Batch engineering and outsourcing your engineering haven’t always been bad ideas, but they can easily be carried too far. Savings on an hourly rate are tempting, especially for what may first appear to be repeatable tasks. But despite a better hourly rate, the number of hours involved for seemingly simple tasks can often add up.

If I would ask one of my Fortaco engineers to design a steel bracket, he’s likely to tell me we need to take five-millimeter steel and bend it in a certain way. But if I have to outsource that same bracket to engineers, who don’t know my product, they’ll use software to calculate stresses, they’ll model the bracket, establish boundary conditions, and then they’ll send me a report. The outcome may be the same, but it will take twice as long. It may not even be cheaper, and it certainly doesn’t add to my efficiency.

Too far from the product
In my past life as head of R&D for a major OEM, I witnessed the outsourcing of key component engineering. I realized that given the turnover in R&D, many OEM engineers just don’t have much of a connection to manufacturing. In new component design you design details, send drawings, you have a price target from a sourcing organization, and then you just have to pray that your supplier’s price is on target.

But usually it’s not. Then a discussion ensues about how to lower the price. The supplier will suggest alternations, and the result is three to four loops of design changes. The heavy time pressure makes engineers reluctant to make any big changes, and the outsourcing process puts engineers between a rock and a hard place. That is unfortunate, because the bigger game – what the OEM needs to worry about – is being first to market with your product.

The costs of inefficiency
Delays to market can mean the loss of the premium price and share-of-mind that first-to-market products command. But even simple delays will cost you dearly. To understand what delays cost you, first forecast your revenue, your cost of goods, and get your net present value. If you have a 30 million NPV in a 60-month period, then every month of delay is costing you one-half million euros. Companies often fail to calculate delay costs, or are sometimes even unaware of them. They don’t see it directly in the cost, but it’s there.

A third cost of delays can be felt in the return on R&D, calculated as the gross margin generated by the product divided by the R&D spend over a given period. According to studies done on OEMs, their return on R&D is 12 euros gross margin per one euro spent on R&D. But if you concentrate on your core — let’s say you’re a system integrator — then I know companies that can go up to 60 euros gross margin per one euro spent on R&D.

How is this possible? It’s because these companies are not asking their engineers to design a hydraulic cylinder. Instead, they outsource it to a company that specializes in hydraulic cylinders. An OEM simply cannot afford to be an expert in everything.

Electric mobility: problem or opportunity?
Given changing CO2 emissions standards and improving technologies for lightweight steel structures, electric mobility in the off-highway business has finally arrived – and with it the potential to destroy an OEM’s return on R&D. Electric mobility does not mean the replacement of diesel engines, but rather that crane manufacturers, for example, will need to produce every model in both diesel- and electric-drive versions. This means companies will be looking at doubling their R&D expenses in order to produce an electric model.

Unfortunately, there is no reason to expect sales to double, and with sales held constant, doubling R&D expenses will result in the return on R&D decreasing by half. OEMs will be left with the choice to invest more in R&D, or find partners who can do it on their behalf. Since there is no fixed cost connected to the external option, this approach holds appeal to bean counters at OEMs. But it makes engineering sense, as well.

In this age of digitalization OEMs need to focus their R&D on what makes them unique versus the competition. Does it make you unique that you design your own steel structure yourself? I’d argue that it’s better to put your resources into thinking about the solution you’re offering. Think at the system level.

Bring it home with Fortaco Technology
“Outsourcing” may be one of the uglier words in the engineering vocabulary, but it is not necessarily a synonym for cheap or low quality. We created Fortaco Technology to offer design-to-manufacturing capabilities for the off-highway industry.

In 2017, we began working with a major construction equipment company in a design-to-manufacturing advisory capacity. We’re the guys looking over their shoulder. We were able to show the customer how their current designs would mean a robotic arm couldn’t get access to make a weld and would require human intervention. Our advisory approach is expected to reduce manufacturing costs for the customer by 15 to 20 percent.

A second solution from Fortaco Technology is called Toolchain. Its role is to extend the “looking over the shoulder” aspect of Fortaco all the way back in the work process to data analytics and carried through, in part with a digital twin, to product specification, concept, design, and manufacturing. Expected benefits are a 10 percent material savings, 18 percent labor cost reduction, and 50 percent faster product development time.

A new reality
It’s the new reality of R&D. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be a dirty word. In fact, outsourcing is inevitable, and how we handle it can make or break the business. The good news is that while engineering services may have to be outsourced, there is no good reason an OEM can’t improve efficiency – and its return on R&D – by doing so.

Rafal Sornek, PhD, Fortaco's Senior Vice President for Technology, invites you to calculate your return on R&D and get in touch

Modern manufacturing of steel fabrications for off-highway industries in Janow Lubelski

Business Site Janow Lubelski was established in 1976. Today, we are more than 400 highly motivated professionals focusing on the development and production for our world-class off-highway equipment customers globally.

Fortaco is heavily focusing on operational excellence and good cooperation with our customers. With the latest manufacturing technologies and profound knowledge and experience we ensure our services are delivered right time, with right quality and right price.

Learn more about Fortaco operations in Janow Lubelski

Watch the video >>

Fantastic, sunny summer started already in May and it is time to enjoy holidays

Fortaco’s story continued to develop during the first half of 2018. Market remained overheated and growth gave both positive results and some issues, which needed attention. Our primary focus area was the growth, how to manage it combined with stabilization. I would like to express my thanks to Fortaco’s customers, suppliers, partners and all the great team members at Fortaco who are working together.

What are we expecting in the second half of 2018? I would say, many known and some unknown issues. The known issues are the well-defined customer demand, our ‘Make Tomorrow Better’ -actions and our own people capabilities. There are also some unknown issues, like the world trade barriers impacting on Fortaco’s business, and the high turnover of welders in some countries. Are we going to experience steel price stabilization, and is the offshore market returning like mining 12 months ago. I would like to say that the known and unknown issues are part of daily business and by staying focused we can all benefit together.

New Fortaco Technology unit
I have proudly experienced Fortaco’s mission in talks with our current and new customers - create value add for our customers by reshaping the way things are produced - and what it can offer on short- and long-term. I can see electrification to be one of many power sources instead of diesel power, and the new technology by autonomously driven vehicles addressing the need for change. Fortaco’s response is the new Fortaco Technology unit, we are experiencing an increased need by our customers to change and adapt into the new situation. This is just a positive change and an integrated part of the change of macro economics, which is targeting on more environmentally friendly future.

I am also proud to experience continuous work executed by Fortaco’s people to ‘Make Tomorrow Better Than Today’. It is important to reach ‘zero’ injuries and ‘zero’ quality defects, as well as deliver products as promised. Fortaco is in an early stage of the process. We benchmark the Toyota way of working and we know that Toyota is also in the early stage to make tomorrow better than today.

Value adding strategy
Fortaco has developed a new value adding strategy during the first half of the year to increase customer value. Our current strategy is based on the cost plus calculation, but the future model is based on value creation. The Fortaco team will start to discuss the future model together with our customers. We have spent time to further understand what our customers want from a strategic partner like Fortaco. Based on the talks and workshops we are ready to discuss our customers’ needs and the flexibility of components, module assemblies and complete vehicle assemblies.

It is time to celebrate Fortaco’s 5th holiday period, we are still young company and we intend to be young in our mindset. Let me wish our customers, suppliers and partners - and most importantly - Fortaco people a great summer and holiday with your nearest. The second half of 2018 is about to start, let us have fun together and shape the future.

With best regards,

Lars Hellberg
President & CEO