Why replace something that can still be fixed? That is what Jari Luoma-Aho, Aftersales Marketing Manager at Valtra, thought to himself seven years ago. The idea of remanufacturing and selling tractor gearboxes lead, at first, to a small-scale experiment. It quickly grew into a successful new circular economy business.
The concept of Valtra Reman gearboxes is simple. When a tractor gearbox breaks down, the owner does not need to get a new gearbox or spend time on a laborious gearbox repair. Instead, they can order a gearbox remanufactured of old parts that works as good as new and is a more ecological and economical alternative. The name “Reman” is short for “remanufacturing.”
Luoma-Aho is pleasantly excited in presenting the new premises in Äänekoski. The shelves are stacked with 500 kg gearboxes covered in oil, waiting to be cleaned.
“We have been growing at such a fast pace that the management believes in us fully.”
In a short time sales of the remanufactured Reman gearboxes have become a significant part of Valtra’s business. Since 2012 turnover has grown about 25-35 per cent annually. Luoma-Aho estimates that the factory repairs roughly one thousand transmission components every year.
Transforming a shopping centre into a factory
A little over a year ago gearbox remanufacturing moved into larger premises at the former shopping centre Spektri. The new facilities are located only about 10 kilometres from the Valtra factory in Suolahti. Built behind the ABC service station, the massive shopping centre went under after the financial crisis due to a lack of customers. In addition to gearbox remanufacturing, the building now houses a Valtra training facility and a big flea market. The front yard is busy with tractors of different colours and models being test driven – today by Norwegian Valtra dealers.
The premises, which used to be a bookshop and the interior decoration shop Pentik, have been completely transformed. A new overhead door has been installed on the exterior wall and separate rooms have been built for welding, painting and washing. The lighting and the floors have also been completely updated. Everything is extremely tidy, as every tool and component has its own particular place.