Valio’s investment of over 70 million euros implemented in Lapinlahti

Valio’s newest plant was inaugurated in Lapinlahti on Friday, 29th August 2014 in a ceremony that featured guest speaker Petteri Orpo, Finland’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. The Lapinlahti powder plant manufactures top quality ingredients for baby foods and the total value of the new investment underpinning it exceeded 70 million euros. The new plant enables the development of the product range and increases the value of whey.

New Lapinlahti plant manufactures top quality ingredients for baby foods

The Lapinlahti plant has for decades been processing into powders the whey generated as a by-product of cheese-making. Valio has developed whey processing technology so that minerals can be better extracted, leaving nutritionally valuable whey proteins which are used e.g. in the manufacture of baby foods.

There were three powder production lines running at the site. Following the completion of the new unit, two of the older lines will continue in operation.

Highest hygiene and quality requirements met

Valio is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of demineralised whey powders (Demi™). Valio Demi™ powders are used for example as ingredients in baby foods. China is one of our most significant export destinations. The new plant manufactures the highest quality whey powders, the demand for which is growing globally.

“We are able to meet the requirements of even the most demanding baby food ingredients customers due to the hygiene, quality and traceability of our products,” says Senior Vice President Reima Luomala, Head of Valio’s Powders Business Unit.

“All floors and other structures are built from concrete and have a hygienic surface coating. Between the premises that have been granted hygiene classification lie closed premises where clothes and shoes are changed and through which materials are transferred. The air pressure control between the different hygiene levels keeps the air as clean as is required in each part of the premises,” explains Project Manager Antero Ylitalo  from Valio.

Technology reduces environmental impacts

The new plant employs the latest technology.

“Continuous monitoring indicators analyse all incoming and outgoing water. The waste water volume is now lower because fewer cleaning and process events are required and we employ the very latest technology. All of Valio’s other continuously operating drying lines will be in future fitted with equipment for exhaust air filtering and heat recovery,” says Lapinlahti Plant Director Kari Lappi.

Complementing the cultural landscape with architecture and art

The new plant will naturally have an effect on the landscape in the municipality of Lapinlahti so particular attention was paid to landscape values at the planning stage.

To complement the cultural landscape in the Linnasalmi district of Lapinlahti, Valio chose to place art on the façade of the building: the façades of the plant are decorated with a three-part work of art entitled Triptych, created with graphic concrete by artist  Pauno Pohjolainen  from the province of Savo, who explains that the motif symbolically expresses the different phases and levels of milk production.

Pauno Pohjolainen received e.g. the Ars Fennica award in 1997 and the Pro Finlandia medal in 2005.

The graphic concrete technique makes it possible to create durable, detailed patterns on the surface of concrete elements. The image is printed on a special membrane with a surface retarder, concrete is then cast on the membrane and when the retarder is washed away the image is revealed.

The new plant in numbers:

  • Total floor area 14,500 m2, cubic volume 103,400 m³, seven floors, height of the building 40 metres.
  • Maximum production capacity 40 million kilos per year.
  • Total value of investment in excess of 70 million euros.
  • A total of 850 people worked on the site during the project, the highest number on a single day was 160 people.

Valio Lapinlahti site:

  • Three powder production lines, a cheese plant, and a boiler plant using Finnish fuel.
  • There are nearly 300 people working at the site. Valio and its milk producers employ more than 3,400 people in the North Savo region.
  • The Lapinlahti plant processes around 300 million litres of milk per year which is collected within an average distance of 59 kilometres.
  • More than 170 million euros is retained in North Savo annually as a result of Valio’s operations.