Ruukki contributes: A steel frame makes it easy to move large components around in production and use of panels enable effective, energy-efficient construction.
Pedersöre-based Ekeri manufactures frame structures for side-opening trailers and semi-trailers. The advantages of side-opening trailers are usability and speed, since loading and unloading can be done via the back door and the doors at the side. The company’s core markets are the Nordic countries, where its products are already standard, with Sweden being the company’s strongest market. Around 17 structures are made each week and the company also operates a maintenance service. Ekeri was founded in 1945 and currently has around 240 employees.
More own production, less road haulage
Ekeri’s new production plant adjacent to the company’s head office in Pedersöre was completed in late 2018. Ekeri needed new premises because instead of using subcontractors, the company had decided to make the floors, roofs and walls for the frame structures itself. Own production is focused on the Pedersöre works.
“In practice, this means an increase in our own share of manufacturing in the production process. It also means that components no longer need to be transported by road from hundreds of kilometres away,” says Ekeri’s managing director Matti Laurila.
The new production hall covers an area of around 12,000 square metres, which means it could accommodate 1½ football grounds. Ruukki supplied the steel frames for the building, the sandwich panels used in the walls, the load-bearing steel roof profiles and the thermal insulation and moisture barrier for the roof. Ruukki’s delivery also included responsibility for design of the envelope structures, i.e. the roof and walls. Energy simulation was used to identify the best possible solution and guided design and the choice of the solutions available. Ruukki was also responsible for the installation of the products it supplied.
Production processes set the pace for design
Managing director Matti Laurila says that design of the hall was based entirely on the production process, i.e. the most logical way to make frame structures. Once the production process had been clarified, the hall was designed around it.
”From the point of view of our operations, a steel frame is an excellent solution and the building is an open space with no columns to obstruct moving components around. The airtightness of the building and energy saving are also important criteria for us,” Laurila states.
Ruukki supplied the steel frame, with spans of up 56 metres, for the building.
Design is the root of quality
Construction company Rakennus Nynäs Oy had overall responsibility for building the hall. Rakennus Nynäs has around 20 employees who not only build commercial and production buildings, but are also subcontractors for public buildings, good examples of which are the new fire station and Baltic Yacht’s new production premises in Pietarsaari.
“All our operations are driven by quality, not just price. Quality always includes keeping to schedule. For us, quality starts with design. In the case of the Ekeri project, for example, this meant that the plans for all the stages were ready before we even began the first stage,” say managing director Rune Nynäs.
Not even they do everything themselves and there were around 10 subcontractors involved in the project. Rakennus Nynäsin was tasked with keeping firm control of the construction project, which began on 9 November 2018. The building was completed ahead of schedule on 21 December the same year.
Panels are quick to install and energy efficient
Magnus Storbacka from Rakennus Nynäs was responsible for the construction project and said that the advantage of using panels is that construction work of energy-efficient buildings can take place to a tight schedule.
The new building had to be airtight to generate savings in heating costs. Ruukki used energy simulation of the production premises at the design stage with the air leakage coefficient set at 1.00 or q50=1.0. The air leakage coefficient states the amount of air leakage in relation to the surface of envelope surface, which includes the first floor, walls and top floor or roof. The smaller the figure, the better the building’s airtightness.
Optimisation resulted in better than promised
The required energy efficiency in Ekeri’s premises was reached by aligning or optimising insulation thickness in different parts of the building to reach a good outcome cost efficiently. Energy simulation showed that investing in good airtightness allowed the roof insulation thickness to be reduced from 40 cm to 30 cm and still reach the required level of energy efficiency. Optimisation identifies the most cost-efficient combination to reach the best possible result in a sensible way.
Cramo carried out the airtightness measurements of the production premises in compliance with standard SFS-EN-13829. Measurement was made on 11 December and showed an air leakage of q50=0.7. This was even better than the target of 1.0.
Skills all round
“Ruukki did an excellent job in the project. We noticed from the very start that we were working with a company that is used to large projects. Quality was of a high standard and, for example, all the bolts in the steel frame were aligned with the holes drilled for them. Also all deliveries were on time. Another success factor was that Ekeri is an accomplished customer who knew what it was doing and required,” enthuses Magnus Storbacka.
“The building as completed to schedule and targets. And most importantly, it has worked as it should, confirms Ekeri’s managing director Matti Laurila.