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History of the company

On the background of the growth of a company there’s often a coincidence, an idea, strong belief and vision of the future, and so it was in case of Arskametalli Oy, factory concentrated on grain handling. We are the oldest dryer manufacturer in Finland, so we know everything about dryer manufacturing from engineering to production. Expertise evolved in production and feedback from finnish farmers over many decades have both upraised Arska dryers to elite of the finnish dryers.

 

The 1950's

All started in 1948, when the grandfather of current owners, Arvo Käkönen, acquired through voluntary trade 14 hectare farm from Riihivalkama village in Tammela. The area of the property was fairly typical at that time. Back then the grain was dried as sheafs in threshing barns, which were equipped with wooden cells and were heated with wood. In the early 1950’s first combine harvesters arrived in Finland, and Arvo also brought one of these to his farm in 1957. Then began the search for a better solution to dry the grain. All kinds of bag, grate and platform dryers were developed, but all of them had problems with being slow, difficult to use and drying uneven.

Next year in 1958 Arvo took a brave step and built a silo dryer partly made of wood to his farm. It had a capacity up to hundred bags of grain (60hl) when other kind of dryers back then only had capacity of 10 – 20 bags. The dryer prototype’s solutions were really innovative: it had four feeders that worked like a pendulum and an elevator that worked between two silos and a bottom cone. Structure was low and there was no need of making a pit for the elevator. The prototype’s drying capacity was way over Arvo’s needs, so therefore it was used to provide drying service for neighbours and villages nearby. One of the biggest farmers in Riihivalkama, Heimo Pelto-Huikko, was delighted with the surprising efficiency of the dryer, and bought this prototype. Thereby Arska-dryer’s commercial production was started.

Arvo started dryer manufacturing under the name T:mi Kone ja Kuivuri and named the product Siilo-Veto. He manufactured three dryers in 1959 and kept one of those for himself and sold two others.

 

The 1960's

After a year already eight dryers were manufactured and also developed a model that was heated with oil. The following year manufacturing amount was up to fifteen. In 1962 Arvo developed an movable dryer that was built on an old truck frame. It was taken from farm to another and it had a capacity of 40hl.

As the manufacturing amount grew, the production area of the farm started to be too small. Things got easier in 1963 when Arvo acquired semi-finished factory property from Jakkula at Somerniemi. Earlier it was used to be manufacturing hall where rattan furnitures were made. Arvo Käkönen moved to Jakkula with his equipments and his son Jorma continued running the farm in Riihivalkama.

The factory faced a fire on June 25th 1968 and that year’s production was made mostly in ruins. The new premises were acquired in the fall of 1969 from Harjunkylä in Somero. That property was a 600m2 industrial building that had been abandoned after bankruptcy. At this point Arvo invited his son Jorma Käkönen to dryer manufacturing and they sold the farm in Riihivalkama.

 

The 1970s

The name of the product was changed to Arska already in 1970 and four years later company’s name was changed to Arska-Tehtaat A. Käkönen Ky. The production amounts were still growing, so the factory was extended by additional 350m2. Regardless of that, the premises soon started to be too small. Therefore in 1976 they started to build a new thousand square factory building in Härkälä village, about half mile away from the old factory. This current factory was completed a year after and by today has been expanded for eight times. Current production area is about 7000m2.

 

The 1980s

Jorma Käkönen bought all manufacturing facilities and equipment from his father Arvo in 1981 and continued to produce dryers. During the same year a marketing contract was made with finnish Hankkija Oy and it lasted until 1987. For the next two years marketing contract was made with Suomen Maatilakoneet Oy. In 1989 an marketing company Arskametalli Oy was established.

 

The 1990's

In 1992 the production was also transferred to Arskametalli Oy and finnish central business Tuko took care of the marketing. Company’s founder Arska Arvo Käkönen passed away on 21.4.1992 at the age of 79.

Finnish economy and society experienced a serious crisis when Finland faced a deep recession in 1992. The recession began to affect all areas in Finland. Farmer’s willingness to invest was also affected by rumors of joining the European Union. Some suspected that the farming would disappear from Finland altogether. Arskametalli’s net sales fell between 1993 - 1994 from 20 million marks to 2,8 million marks. For three months the staff were forced to make short work weeks and one month the company had to lay off the entire staff. Stocks were shut down twice in two years.

The recession began to ease in agriculture when Finland joined to EU in 1995. EU brought investment aids and VAT reductions from the costs. Many jobs were discontinued in Somero and people moved to larger cities. When the recession ended, Arskametalli had hard times finding professional workmen.

Rautakesko Oy was responsible from the marketing from 1995 to 2014. Jorma’s sons Jari and Janne joined company’s staff in 1997.

 

The 2000's to present

In the beginning of 2010 the second generational change was made. Jorma started as the Chairman of the Board, Janne transferred from being production manager to being CEO and Jari continued his work as an office manager.

Arska trademark was registered in 2010. In the same year the company started exports in Russia and opened an office in Tallinn a year later. In 2012 the old property of Arska-Tehtaat in Harjunkylä was sold to Somero-Seura. Since the 1980’s the society was looking for a space where to place their operations under. The society decided to buy Harju Mansion’s former stone barn from Jorma. The barn was used as storage and production facilities for Arska-Tehtaat. Overall the property floor area was 1 250 square meters.

K-maatalous chose Arskametalli Oy as their Supplier of the Year in 2012. A major accident came close in 2013 when the factory hall heat center broke out a threatening fire. Workers rescued their jobs with fast fire-extinguishing. Insurance company Pohjola Oy gave them valuable wristwatches to thank them.

Arskametalli Oy has always tried to be worthy of the trust of farmers. When the information of CE marking being mandatory from 1.7.2014 Arskametalli started the job early in 2013. Company’s personal FPC manual (Operations manual) was required for being allocated to CE marking. This manual was done in close co-operation with certification company Inspecta and so Arskametalli Oy was allocated the CE marking for structural welded steel components and kits 3.6.2014.

In June 2015 Arska-Tehtaat purchased 1,1ha land area from the city of Somero. The area was between the current factory property and Härkälänkuja.

 

Last update was made 1.2.2016