The site of Pärnu’s birch plywood mill in capable hands

Slightly more than 100 people are currently working at Metsä Wood’s birch plywood mill in Pärnu, Estonia. Roughly half of them work for the equipment supplier Raute or its subcontractors, while the rest consist of the employees of the main contractor, Nordecon. Raute’s Site Manager Hannu Ruotsalainen and Kaur Laansalu, the client’s Project Manager, are familiar faces at the mill. Both of them pinpoint the project’s tight schedule as its biggest challenge, but even so, they are still smiling.
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“More than 30 years in 60 different countries,” says Hannu Ruotsalainen when summing up his career at Raute so far. This has given him the chance to see and experience quite a lot of things. Ruotsalainen came to Pärnu in January, when it was time to start the equipment installations at Metsä Wood’s new mill. 

“There’ll be a total of 11 of our lines here. On top of that, Pinomatic will be delivering sawing and grinding lines and the client its own equipment, which will be relocated here from the Suolahti mill.”

Hannu is in charge of the installation of this equipment. “I work as a supervisor to the mechanics, carrying out ‘general maintenance’ at the mill – serving as a link between the client and Raute,” he says. Each working day also includes a morning meeting with Production Manager Mika Heikkonen, and a big project meeting concerning Metsä Wood’s investment is held every week, with the project managers of all operators in attendance. 

“We’ll be carrying out 80 per cent capacity runs on all of our lines in March and April, after which Metsä Wood will operate the machines for about three months. The handover runs will be done in September.”

“I’ve worked on several similar projects in the production of plywood and LVL, and each of these projects has had its unique characteristics. The good thing here in Pärnu is the fact that the building is new, and everything is located on a single floor. This is a pretty big facility – the scale is big, considering that it’s a further processing unit. Usually, you tend to have everything, starting from log treatment, in the same mill.” 

The construction work of the mill almost ready

Kaur Laansalu, who works as a project manager for construction projects at HML Consulting, joined Metsä Wood’s investment project during the planning phase. He works in close cooperation with the main contractor Nordecon, which is responsible for the mill’s construction. 

“The pace just keeps accelerating, and I think late February and early March will mark the busiest times in this project. The number of people on site has increased continuously since the beginning of the year,” says Kaur. 

The construction work of the mill itself is in the home stretch. HVAC fittings – meaning steam pipes, ventilation, compressed air and lighting – are being finalised, and the office spaces will be completed in April. 

“My work involves a lot of meetings, site tours, and problem solving, both via email and face-to-face at the mill,” says Kaur. According to his pedometer, he walks around 10 kilometres during a working day. 

“All new operators are inducted to the site and the work when they arrive here. Everyone also goes through safety training. Safety really is a top priority at Metsä Wood’s mills, which is something that we’re all happy about.”

For more information, please contact:

Henni Rousu, Communications Manager, Metsä Wood
tel. +358 40 554 8388,

Metsä Wood provides competitive and environmentally friendly wood products for construction, industrial customers and distributor partners. We manufacture products from northern wood, a sustainable raw material of premium quality. Our sales in 2017 were EUR 0.5 billion, and we employ about 1,400 people. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group.

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