Arttu Juntunen is a development engineer here at V.A.V. Group in Ii. Arttu’s career path started as a summer intern in 2021, leading to his current position only two years later. 2021 was a challenging year for students looking for summer internships and jobs during the restrictions COVID-19 had brought along. Arttu was studying energy engineering at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences when his teacher told him about an internship opportunity just outside Oulu in a small but innovative business called V.A.V. Group.
“At first, I thought it was not really up my alley since I studied energy engineering, but I was interested in process engineering, too. It took only a few days on the production line to awaken my curiosity and interest in how V.A.V. Group solves problems for their customers”, Arttu describes his first impression of his current workplace. “The following year, I worked at a different company, but somehow the subject of my thesis led me back to V.A.V. Group”, he laughs.
Our new production line was ramped up during the spring and summer of 2023, and Arttu was among the first employees to work on the latest machinery. “I guess I was doing a good job since I got to use the new production line and even became a trainer on them. Maybe it was some test for the new kid on the block”, he says with a smile. As he was working on the production line by day and on his thesis by night, a new position titled “Development engineer” became open for applicants. Without hesitation, Arttu filled out his application and hoped for the best.
An aspiring engineer
The main reason for applying for the position was Arttu’s experience in production, where he got to know the processes and the people working at V.A.V. Group: “It was astonishing to see how everyone is tirelessly working towards the same goal, fulfilling the customers’ orders and exceeding their expectations. The flexibility and innovation of a small production facility was desirable to me, something you won’t see in bigger factories where I also briefly worked”, says Arttu. Working in a larger corporation would mean he would travel a lot for work, which isn’t in his interests now. “It’s mutually beneficial to gather more experience and knowledge here before heading out to prospective clients”, Arttu reckons. Working as the first full-time development engineer, Arttu significantly influences the job content and how he develops the processes. Now that the new extrusion line is in operation, Arttu hasn’t had time to get bored at work. “I like how the day goes by without noticing because there are many interesting tasks and challenges to solve. The cooperation between employees is seamless, and I wouldn’t change it for the world”, he praises.
Experience in production is an advantage in development
A good development engineer knows every bit of the production process, which makes developing and enhancing the processes more streamlined and efficient. “I think it was a great opportunity for me. I got to see and experience every phase of our production, so I better understand the big picture. Instead of sitting in an ivory tower, I can approach anyone and work together with them to develop our processes further”, Arttu explains. Solving problems with Tools manufacturing and quality manager Tuomas and Project manager Hannu, the three men form a super effective team ready to tackle any challenges. The fourth tireless team member is the 3D printer responsible for custom tools for every purpose. The endless opportunities of the most complex profiles imaginable and the wide range of use cases fascinate Arttu, who is eager to explore new industries, uses, and solutions – once he has gathered more experience and knowledge.
Our new extrusion line has been Arttu’s primary focus, and he has quickly become an expert in his field. The 25-year-old development engineer has some long-term goals on how to serve customers even better: “Having seen the possibilities our products have, there’s so much untapped potential from my point of view. From an engineering perspective, any seal, gasket or profile application could be done with our tools and materials.” After more time gathering information and experience, Arttu believes he could help new customers in new industrial fields find the perfect sealing solution. The young man has the much-needed patience, though, so that is a matter of the future. “If I encounter problems in solving a problem, I have Tuomas there to help me. He has great experience producing custom tools while I oversee the process itself. And if Tuomas runs into a dead end, we have our mentor Hannu, who has started his career by building the custom tools by hand, using saws and drills to cut the intricate shapes. I think he has used hundreds of files and cutting wires in his time!”
Reaching out to new customers
When asked what Arttu wants to say to our customers, he immediately answers: “We have the will and ability to grow as a business, as a problem solver. Our machines are top-of-the-line, and there’s an astounding amount of workmanship among our staff, so there’s barely anything we couldn’t do with the materials we use. All our investments aim to serve our customers even better.” He encourages businesses from all industries to ask for assistance because, just like everyone else at V.A.V. Group, Arttu is there to help and solve problems.