Lapela Oy in Rauma has come a long way since gentlemen Laine, Penttilä and Laine founded a engineering company in 1945. Today’s Lapela Technology Oy is a global company with goals outside Finland.

– Growth can be found in China, as Finland has a limited market and a lot of factors. Today, China accounts for about five percent of our net sales, but in the future it could be as high as 70 to 80 percent. Three years is a realistic time, explains Lapela’s CEO Janne Riihimaa.

Riihimaa, a long-term entrepreneur from Rauma, joined Lapela’s operations in 2012, and since 2017 he has owned the company with Jarkko Milan from Turku. When Riihimaa came to Lapela, the company had been cooperating with Posiva for a long time. It is largely a question of research equipment dealing with groundwater flow in a geological environment. The Chinese collaboration came with Riihimaa.

– I had largely worked with electronics, machine tools and industrial automation and in 2011 I signed a distribution agreement with the Chinese GSK CNC Equipment for Northern Europe, which was branded GSK Nordic. That is where the cooperation with the Chinese began, tells Riihimaa.

“GSK is the world’s second largest manufacturer of CNC systems, with volumes largely based on the country’s own market,” he said.

– It is not easy to get into the Chinese system, but when the fairways had been opened after lengthy negotiations, things started to work. Personally, I like Chinese-style to work, they have just the right kind of product development of their own, Riihimaa summarizes.

According to Janne Riihimaa, Lapela’s goal in the future is to be more of an exporter to China than just an importer.

– Our main industry is the manufacturing industry and the automation side has made progress ahead of it. Industrial robots have become a friend of machine tools, which we integrate into our cellular solutions.

– Production planning has been done with the Chinese, which includes comprehensive management, design and maintenance of production processes. The intention is to achieve cost-effective and at the same time safe solutions. Operations towards China are currently taking place in close cooperation with Prizztech and Robocoast. And if you can’t do something yourself, you ask support from your own networks, Riihimaa explains.

Riihimaa says that the co-operation also includes training as well as audit visits to local industry. In China, and especially in the city of Ningbo, with a population of less than ten million, Lapela has achieved the status of a politically accepted actor, which makes it important to open doors.

– Chinese state institutions have visited Rauma to audit our operations and we have been involved in the Made in China 2025 project, Riihimaa says.

– There is enough work in China. It will succeed there if the relationship is open and we have respects to each other. Lapela  targets to ensure that our good relations also help our own partners in that direction, he emphasizes.

Lapela Technology will be present at the Ulvila co-educational school on Thursday 18 July. at the Robot Coast automation fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Canadian RoboDK software represented by Lapela is also included in the presentation.

Janne Riihimaa, President and CEO of Lapela
and management assistant Katinka Kankaanpää.