The quality assurance of pieces manufactured by CNC machining already starts at the material procurement stage. Material for ITA Nordic’s machine shop is procured from both domestic and foreign steel mills, distributors and steel service companies. The properties required of the final product partly dictate which materials are used.
Procurement of materials is the first step in the process chain in component manufacturing. Procurement plays a big role, as it is one of the factors affecting the quality of the final product. A well-managed procurement of materials ensures that the customer does not incur additional costs, such as quality deviations, and that the schedules are kept under control. ITA Nordic’s machine shop mainly works on round steel, aluminum and steel jackets and castings.
– We manufacture extra strong fasteners mainly from rejuvenating steels and different alloys of stainless steel. In addition to the above, we also use S355 strength class structural steel to manufacture various axle products and components for hydraulic cylinders, ITA Nordic’s Business Director Jari Kärkkäinen says.
In machining, quality above all else
In the production of parts made by machining, it is important that the material is of uniform quality and that the quality remains the same between different delivery batches. For this reason, the quality of the material is already ensured by choosing a high-quality procurement source. The processing methods of automatic machining are very sensitive to variations in the quality of the material, so the quality of the raw material is closely monitored in the machine shop.
– Our customer may have their own requirements, for example regarding the purity or strength of the steel, in which case the usual standard material is not suitable for the products. In this case, the entire supply chain, from the procurement of the material to the delivery of the finished product, is defined in advance, Kärkkäinen comments.
ITA Nordic has a good material supplier network that covers all the raw materials needed in the workshop. There are several alternative suppliers for materials, which increases ITA Nordic’s competitiveness and improves risk management in terms of availability.
Where are the machining materials obtained from?
ITA Nordic acquires material both operationally and strategically. In operational material procurement, the customer manages the acquisition and distribution of raw materials themselves, in which case ITA Nordic buys raw materials against the customer’s contract from an agreed operator, at an agreed price. In strategic procurement, on the other hand, the best and most competitive raw material source for the product is sought on behalf of the customer.
– With strategic procurement, we aim to ensure steady availability and price development of raw materials and to increase our customer’s competitiveness and the opportunity to grow their business. The customer does not need to have a supplier of materials ready, because we have the know-how and contacts to manage the procurement, Kärkkäinen describes.
Materials are procured based on the demand forecasts given by the customers and directly to the need. Due to possible long delivery times and large delivery batches, the material is also stored to maximize delivery reliability.
Locality reduces the carbon footprint
ITA Nordic works closely with the Ovako steel mill located in Imatra, whose main raw material for production is steel scrap from Finland. Ovako, located near ITA Nordic’s Puntala unit, is the largest recycler of scrap steel in the Nordic countries, thanks to which the carbon footprint of the company’s products is 80 percent lower than the global average.
– At ITA Nordic, we machine about 3,000 tons of Ovako’s carbon-neutral steel every year. Machining chips and scrap generated in the machine shop are returned to the factory as raw material, which is why there is no need to ship the surplus material over long distances. Thanks to this, the carbon footprint of the operation remains smaller, comments Kärkkäinen.
Solid know-how and networks in the background
ITA Nordic’s expertise in material procurement is particularly high-quality. The company’s extensive cooperation network offers customers a good starting point for ensuring availability.
– We have more than 20 years of experience in the wholesale trade of the steel industry, and we have contacts all over Europe. The customer can make sure that the best possible source of raw materials is found for the products. We have solid know-how and a wide network at our disposal, Kärkkäinen sums up.