Proper maintenance saves the day

When a machine is malfunctioning, it doesn’t only affect the production, but also the mood of the employees. Solving the situation requires cooperation and inventive solutions. That is when Fiblon’s mechanical maintenance engineer Jari Vuori runs to the rescue.

Vuori is responsible for mechanical maintenance as well as property and electrical maintenance at Fiblon. Having a broad range of responsibilities is rewarding, especially in a smaller company.

“I enjoy having a versatile job. My work days and tasks vary so much that I never know what the day may bring”, says Vuori.

The Monday before the interview included typical repair work. However, “typical” may be a misleading word: According to Vuori, there are so many typical faults and defects that the duration of troubleshooting and repair can range from tens of minutes to several days.

The development of automation and robotics make the job more challenging, but the availability of resources poses an even greater challenge. If two faults occur at the same time in different parts of the factory, the mechanic can’t split himself in half and be in both places at once. However, so far, even the most challenging situations have been overcome with inventive solutions.

“Even though I usually take care of maintenance work alone, I can get 1–2 colleagues from our company to help me when necessary, and sometimes we also need to use outside help. Jouko Pasori, who is responsible for electrical work at Fiblon, is also a great help to me in these situations.”

In the most challenging cases, it is always possible to seek help from the machine manufacturers in Germany or Italy.

“Fortunately, this is very rare. You could say that this occurs less frequently than the Olympics,” says Vuori.

Everyone is flexible when necessary

Actually, the aforementioned machine failure was already detected and located on Sunday. The distribution of working hours is not slavishly monitored as adaptable working hours allow flexibility in both directions.

“Production at the factory runs in two shifts between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. I try to schedule my work for the morning shift, between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., but schedules often get extended due to unexpected failures,” says Vuori.

On weekends, the production staff works in one 12-hour shift. The maintenance staff does not usually work during weekends, however, about once a month, they carry out maintenance work that would otherwise require the interruption of production.

In the evenings and at weekends, unexpected problems are reported to Production Manager Mikko Ekberg and Vuori, who together discuss the distribution of work and determine the urgency of the situation.

“I live over 60 kilometres from the factory, so I can’t really just pop in for work. Therefore, we always consider on a case-by-case basis whether the situation requires immediate response or whether it can wait overnight. Having flexible working hours means that I can come in for repairs even at four or five in the morning, so the morning shift can start on time,” says Vuori.

For Vuori, it is essential that the employer and the employee both stretch their resources as needed and that there is mutual reliance. The employer should be equally flexible if the employee needs to adjust their schedule for personal reasons.

Development is a never-ending process

Technical challenges are tackled by continuous self-development, which is not a time-bound project, but an ongoing part of daily activities. Jari Vuori feels that, as an employer, Fiblon continuously provides opportunities for further training – and, in part, requires it.

“Alongside my work, I completed a vocational training in automation mechanics in 2016. Software and standards are constantly changing, so we must keep ourselves up to date,” says Vuori.

In practice, expertise can be maintained, for example, by participating in training provided by equipment manufacturers, which provide information on new products and product lines. For example, one equipment manufacturer has reserved a training day in November for Vuori and Pasori at a technology fair.

“The fact that all production equipment is always well maintained says a lot about Fiblon as an employer. Our team has a great work moral and team spirit. I believe that many would agree with me, as almost everyone has a long work history with Fiblon,” says Vuori, who has worked at Fiblon for nearly 25 years.

Employee commitment is also reflected in the company’s figures. According to the most recent carbon footprint report, Fiblon’s production yield is up to 96.9%. This is a very high figure, especially for small disposable products. Fiblon wants to personalise even the smallest batches, so material waste cannot be fully avoided.

A competent staff, effective foresight and well-maintained machinery have played a key role in achieving this result as well. We have a saying at the factory: “the more challenging it is, the better it’s going”. Challenges mean that we’re working on something that matters.

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