Conception to delivery

The ability to effortlessly leverage a huge amount of experience gained in the off-highway sector – to help ‘give birth’ to electric buses and military vehicles – is the mark of a true one-stop-shop.

Boasting strengths are encompassing complete machine assembly, operator cabins, machining services and welded steel components, Fortaco manufactures in 10 business sites across Eastern Europe and Finland, providing its customers with industry best value. Fortaco aims to be the most professional and reliable partner, with total commitment to safety, quality and operational excellence.

Its customers benefit from the comprehensive project work for complete one-stop-shop service
solutions for steel fabrications, operator cabins and assembly. Fortaco’s services offer tremendous benefits for outsourcing of small and medium series, or by providing an external production satellite option. The cabin business, in particular, from simple over head guards up to full plug-and-play cabins, is one of the key success factors.

Two recent success stories are noteworthy. One is the cooperation with the Finnish bus maker Linkker to manufacture a fully electrical driven city bus, based on Linkker design and technology. The other is the BAE Systems All-Terrain Vehicle, Beowulf, presented at the Defence Exhibition in London, UK, last September. Both projects serve to demonstrate the company’s enormous experience in cabin development and manufacturing, as well as assembly services.

For Linkker, the cooperation started with a joint workshop defining the project target, content and timeline. This was new ground for both parties, as Fortaco’s experience comes from the off-highway market, but the principles in the planning of the manufacturing processes and tools, to identify and align suppliers and to define QHSE rules and preparing staffing models based on project progress and expected ramp-up, are common.

The cooperation included a full-scale content model for Fortaco, with full responsibility for sourcing, logistics management and ownership of material and assembly. The project was started in May 2015 and the first bus will be delivered in May 2016, a tremendous effort by both teams. Kimmo Erkkilä, CEO of Linkker, described it in a nutshell: “With an electric bus we are building the solution of the future, so to bring our ideas into reality, we needed a manufacturing partner who redefines its field too. The broad spectrum of expertise at Fortaco brings new ideas, increased efficiency and quality into the process.”

Combined effort

The Beowulf project with BAE was a completely different task – but just as demanding. The design emerged by combining the ideas and requirements of BAE with the experience of the Fortaco’s CabTech team. The vehicle serves multiple purposes, so the design and interior as well as the exterior concept needed to consider not only military, but also civilian requirements.

The result was a ‘poetry in motion’ appearance of the new BAE BVS10 Beowulf all-terrain vehicle. Intensive industrial design, 3D modelling, FEM analysis of HVAC system and cabin frame strength, as well as the design of the electrics and CANbus control system for the full vehicle, were part of the project tasks that Fortaco provided as a service to BAE.

Building the first prototype of both the front and rear cabin was a challenge. With no room for delay, BAE provided certain parts of the vehicle to Fortaco’s prototype workshop in its Kurikka, Finland, facility, while Fortaco had to line up its suppliers to be ready when needed. The result was rewarding – both presented a product to the market that is not only an eye-catching design reference, but also a technical highlight with unique features for the purpose for which it was designed.

Fortaco had once again proved to be a reliable partner, with the expertise to support its customers on the spot and with a total commitment to safety, quality and operational excellence.

Jochen Adam-Mueller is VP Sales Central Europe & Business Unit Assembly within Fortaco Group and has over 15 years’ experience in the off-highway market.

FORTACO – Hall A6 Stand 508