The story of Jaakko-Tuote Oy started in Panelia, Finland in 1971 when Veli Harjunpää started his business in the rental premises of the local company Jaakko-Tehtaat Oy. Asser Uusi-Jaakkola, the then owner of Jaakko-Tehtaat Oy, which manufactured Jaakko grain dryers, was Harjunpää’s associate in the early years of the company. The same prefix as in the name Jaakko-Tehtaat Oy was included in the company’s name, because the Jaakko grain dryers were already well known in the province. Later, however, the story of the Jaakko grain dryers ended. Even today, Jaakko-Tuote Oy operates in the premises on which Veli Harjunpää founded the company and which have been owned by the company since 1996. Even though the location remains the same, the factory is still conveys the changes that have taken place over the decades. Over the years, the manufacturing area has expanded quickly to meet the requirements set by the machines and equipment that we need to maintain an efficient production rate.
In the 1970s, we began operations by manufacturing laminated glass and windshields in our self-designed windshield glass annealing furnaces. In the 70s, it was necessary to build our own production equipment and machinery, a part of operations where Jaakko-Tuote oy was partially a precursor. The company has manufactured its own laminating machines, glass bending furnaces and glass cleaning machines. Another example of the company’s position as a forerunner in the business was the production of glass cutting tables in our own workshop. These cutting tables were also available for purchase for other companies in the business.
In the early years, the company focused on its core expertise, i.e. glass production, but from the beginning of 1976, the company also started to produce steel profiles. Only two models of sheet metal profiles were produced using machinery of our own design, and the turnover was small, but the manufacture of steel profiles was nevertheless a well suited addition to glass production.
In 1977, as a new industrial building for demanding use was completed, the addition of production space allowed for the purchase of a large, new autoclave. This autoclave was considered to be the largest in Finland at the time and it enabled us to produce large pieces of laminated glass for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
In the 1970s, US secret service officers visited the Jaakko-Tuote test firing range in order to ensure that the bulletproof glass manufactured by the company met the security requirements of the President of the United States. The secret service men became convinced that it was unnecessary to bring their own bulletproof glass shields for the European Conference on Security and Cooperation in Helsinki a month later, with the participation of the Heads of State of 35 countries. Participants included the President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen, and the President of the United States, Gerald Ford.
In the 1980s, we began getting inquiries about tempered glass, so in 1986 the first production line for tempered glass was acquired for Jaakko-Tuote Oy. The cutting-edge properties of the tempering machine enabled the company to temper three-millimeter glass and selective glass, which was new to the industry in 1986. This machine was the largest machine in Finland at the time, and the glass produced by the machine was also compatible to be used as a part of laminated assemblies. The decision to purchase a tempering machine was significant in order to maintain and increase future market positions and to promote exports. More tempering lines have been later purchased for the manufacture of product groups of different properties and shapes, and simultaneously the production sizes of laminated glass have been increased.
In 1983, the steel profile production machinery was completely renewed when the operations could be moved to new premises after an expansion done in the production hall. With the new machines, it was possible to roll new models, and at the end of the decade, we began the production of TiiliJaakko profile with brick patterns.
In the 1990s, the manufacture of glass for large vehicles began with bus windshields and was later extended to bus side windows as well. The production of bus windshields required larger furnaces than conventional vehicle glazing, so these furnaces were built by the company itself. The production of side windows for buses started in 1998 after the acquisition of a new tempering machine for the manufacture of bendable tempered glass panes. The product range was further expanded by the purchase of manufacturing equipment for insulating glass and silk screen printing. Investments in these acquisitions were large, but in addition to these, some 2000m2 of new production space was built. Such extensions would not have been possible if Jaakko-Tuote Oy had not purchased the properties of the former grain dryer factory in 1996. In 1998, the rolling mill moved to these grain dryer production facilities, which had been purchased a few years earlier.
In the 2000s, the company’s growth was made possible by an increase in production capacity in both the glass and sheet metal sectors. On the glass side, the main changes were the start of the production of insulating glass and electrically heated glazing and the purchase of new production machinery for existing processing facilities. At the end of 2000, a new line of insulating glass with so-called safety glass, tempered, laminated or a combination of the two, was introduced. In 2003, Jaakko-Tuote Oy manufactured insulation glasses for the annex of the Finnish Parliament building.
A new tempering machine was purchased in 2005 and approximately 2900m2of new production space was built to accommodate it. As early as the following year, a second, similar tempering machine was ordered to prepare for increasing production capacity and the growing competition in the sector. A new space was needed for the company’s fourth tempering machine and an extension was made of approximately 950m2.
A fifth tempering machine and its premises were completed in mid-2008. This flat tempering machine improved delivery times, the tempering of larger glass panes and the manufacture of heat strengthened glass.
In 2009, a new machine was purchased for the production of steel profiles with brick patterns, and because of the new machine the rolling mill was expanded by approximately 630 m2.
In the early 2010s, the pace of investment slowed down slightly due to the global situation. The recession that began after 2008 put many companies in difficult positions and the increasing competition within the EU pushed down the price level. The Baltic States and Poland, in particular, posed a competitive challenge to safety glass processors in Finland. The situation caused a deterioration in the overall price level, which in many places led to unprofitability of business operations in Finland. Jaakko-Tuote Oy also suffered from profitability problems, but the company’s strong economy prevented the occurrence of bigger problems. This unhealthy competitive situation continued until the end of the decade, when signs of improvement began to emerge due to the increase in the overall cost level for the above-mentioned regions.
In 2013, the LukkoJaakko profile was introduced to the range of steel profile products. Over the past decade, the snap-lock profile has become the most popular choice of steel profile. Profile sheet production has grown substantially in recent years, and significant investments have been made in it, for example, by renewing and increasing the machine base regularly. The most significant purchases for steel profile production in recent years have been a large double side binding machine (2020) and a fully automatic snap-lock profile machine (2022).
The company has always looked into the future with confidence, and in 2018, one of the biggest investments of the decade was made when a massive tempering machine was purchased. The Glaston FC3360 was the largest tempering machine in Scandinavia at the time, with a maximum glass size of 6000 x 3300 mm. It is very likely that the machine still is the only one of its kind in Scandinavia. At the moment, Jaakko-Tuote Oy’s machine base includes a total of 6 tempering machines. After 2019, the machinery base of safety glass production has been renewed by acquiring new vertical and horizontal glass grinders in 2021 and the state-of-the-art laminating furnace Glaston ProL in 2022.
Jaakko-Tuote Oy has been entirely owned by the Harjunpää family since 2011. The current CEO of the company, Aki Harjunpää, has continued the work of his father in the family business after the change of generation in June 2014. Veli Harjunpää served as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the end of 2021. The founder of the company, the true pioneer of the glass industry in Finland, Veli Harjunpää, passed away on 23 March 2022 as a result of a previous seizure. He was 86 when he died.
Family entrepreneurship is important to Aki Harjunpää – he has worked in the company since he was a little boy. Although the last two years have been marked by challenges and uncertainties caused by COVID, Jaakko-Tuote Oy, has continued to develop the company’s operations with courage and determination under Aki’s leadership.
”It has been an interesting and enlightening year that has grown our confidence. Despite the challenging operating environment, production has continued without interruption and the changes we have made have been successful. Operations will be continued and further developed in 2022. Our goal is that Jaakko-Tuote Oy will also operate in Panelia for the next 50 years.”