Teamwork at Play in the Automatization of Intralogistics

Finland is a country that lives and breathes ice hockey. Whether it is the NHL, World Championships, or Liiga, Finland’s own national league, strong emotions are always involved. The 2018–2019 season of Liiga saw HPK crowned as the Finnish Hockey League champions, and the team received special accolades from their long-time sponsor, PACCOR, when the company known for its innovative packaging solutions named their automated guided vehicles after the victorious players. “Rocla AGVs are important players in our team,” the managing director of Paccor Finland summarizes.

The hockey team Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho, often known as HPK, earned the title of Finnish Hockey League champions in the spring of 2019. Prior to this, the team had been rewarded three times with silver medals and nine times with bronze. The gold of 2019 was the second time in history HPK had won the national league. “This is quite a story about growth. We got better and better the further we got,” Sami Matinkari, the sales manager of HPK, says.

The Liiga championship trophy called Kanada-malja

Kanada-malja (lit. Canada Bowl), often affectionally called “poika” (lit. “son”) is the championship trophy of Liiga and was given to the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation by Canada’s Finnish community in 1950.

HPK’s home arena, the Pohjantähti Arena in Hämeenlinna, becomes the biggest restaurant in town during home games, and Paccor’s products play an integral role in this as well. HPK’s account manager Hannu Savolainen underlines the importance of these home games. “Home arena is the sixth man on the rink.”

Rocla AGVs Play an Important Role in the Intralogistics Team

The representatives of HPK believe that naming the automated guided vehicles after the players is a great idea. As the championship was won in the seventh game of the finals, one of the Rocla AGVs was named Game Seven. Another one of the vehicles is called “Pendo” as a tribute to HPK’s head coach, Antti Pennanen. The center Niclas Lucenius as well as the defensemen Petteri Nikkilä and Arto “Lada” Laatikainen also have AGVs named after them. The team’s goaltender Emil Larmi struck a two-year NHL deal with Pittsburgh Penguins and therefore plays in Northern America this season, but a Rocla AGV called Larmi is still a part of Paccor’s intralogistics team.

“Rocla AGVs play an important role in our team. We have plenty of items that need to keep moving. It is crucial to control the supply chain, and if the logistics do not work, it is like we are playing shorthanded. All anomalies in production are unwelcome, to say the least,” Pekka Jokimies, the managing director of Paccor Finland, stresses. 

Rocla AVG called Larmi is part of PACCOR's intralogistics team.

Goaltender Emil Larmi plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, but a Rocla AGV called Larmi is still a part of PACCOR’s intralogistics team.

Known for their innovative solutions that focus on sustainable development, Paccor is the largest manufacturer of plastic packaging solutions in Eastern Europe and the second largest in all of Europe. Most of the company’s products, such as packaging solutions for butter and margarine, yogurt, and different types of meat, are made from recyclable materials. “Black plastic poses challenges for recycling, so it is either given up entirely or switched to a version that can be processed,” Pekka Jokimies explains. The minimization of food supply waste is carefully considered in industrial packaging. “The carbon footprint of that waste is a lot worse than plastic’s, since plastic can be recycled,” Jokimies states.  

Automatization Improves Employee Wellbeing and Process Efficiency 

Paccor Finland’s health and safety representative Tommi Hongisto is the son of the former hockey player Tuomo Hongisto. Tommi Hongisto believes that the automatization of intralogistics is a positive improvement as it reduces the need for unergonomic and repetitive work while improving employee wellbeing, safety, and process efficiency.

Automatization was taken to the next level in Paccor’s production when the company’s new factory was opened in Hämeenlinna in 2012. The new pathways worked exactly as planned from the start. “We were already familiar with Rocla AGVs and had good experiences with them, so we did not even consider other options. The cooperation works, and everything that has been agreed on has also been carried out,” Tero Ilomäki, the facility service manager of Paccor Finland, says. Ilomäki praises Rocla AGV Services in particular: “Maintenance and upkeep work like clockwork.” In fall 2019, Paccor works to increase its innovative services even further.

Group photo of Hannu Savolainen, Sami Matinkari, Kosti Tauschi and Tero Ilomäki with the Kanada-malja.

Hannu Savolainen (on the right) and Sami Matinkari (the second from the right) brought the respected Kanada-malja for a lap of honor at PACCOR. Rocla AGV’s Kosti Tauschi is on the left in the picture, and Paccor’s Tero Ilomäki is the second from the left.

For the 2019–2020 hockey season, HPK trusts in the team’s mobility and forechecking as well as the expertise of the coaching team. The season also marks the 90th anniversary of the team. The “orange spring” of Hämeenlinna’s championship team encourages Tero Ilomäki to consider the future as well. “I hope we will get to see even more orange around here in the future,” Ilomäki wishes. 

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Images: Ida Virtaranta