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About us: VILPE and Innovation
The Story of VILPE
The story of our company started with a single innovation. During the summer of 1973, Eero Saikkonen — then a student at Vaasa Technical Institute — started looking for a solution to a practical building problem. He had noticed that roofing felt and insulation, which at the time were glued together with bitumen, did not stay in place, and the heads of screws often penetrated and damaged the felt layer. To solve this problem, he developed a new type of fastener that would adjust to the weight which was applied to it: this innovation was the start of our company. Since that day, we have been at the cutting edge of product development, and have continued to challenge the building industry with new innovations. Many of these innovations, such as exhaust ventilation pipes, roof fans and ventilation poles have become a part of everyday building practice since we introduced them to the market.
After the difficult recession in Finland, VILPE managed to gain a stable position in the Finnish market. As our products worked well in Finland’s harsh climate, why would they not work equally well in Central Europe or Russia? VILPE entered the Russian market in the 90s, and today we have six warehouses in Russia. VILPE also operates in Sweden, Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics, and today, over half of our turnover comes from our export markets.
Cooperate with us
The VILPE brand is known for its wide range of products, excellent quality and constant innovation.
We take pride in being able to offer a wide variety of products, in many colours and sizes, to suit the majority of buildings and roofs. Designed in Finland, our products have been developed to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions. Accordingly, we offer a 10-year colour warranty with all of our products. The VILPE brand is also known for providing unconventional solutions, and many of our innovations have become the industry standard over the years.
The VILPE product development team is responsible for 4-6 different innovations annually, many of them together with our partners, and this work has so far generated over 38 patented solutions. We are constantly looking for new partners to work with, and we are used to developing customized solutions for our partners’ needs. Watch this video to learn more about our partnership posibilities.
Our product development process
- Quick and flexible project management. We have the capacity to handle the entire product development process in-house, ranging from the initial ideation phase all the way to the creation and manufacturing of a new product.
- Combining the latest technology with best practice. Our experts integrate the latest technology into our new products. However, they also have a deep understanding of practical building, and the associated challenges which are common on the construction site.
- Investment in innovation. We have a highly dedicated management team who are willing to take risks and invest in innovation. Annually, 10% of our turnover is invested in research and development.
- Modern equipment. Our use of the latest technology, such as 3D-modeling prototypes with our 3D-printer, allows for quicker and more reliable testing and product idea evaluation.
- Quality control. We conduct careful testing during all product development phases in our research laboratory. We have the equipment to test air flows and air performance, as well as the effects of extreme temperatures (such as those below freezing) on product performance. All of our roof fans are tested before delivery. Read more about our quality control process.
When Eero founded VILPE, he did not yet have the resources to start production on his own, and he had to outsource it to the Finnish company Lemminkäinen. Later, when he was able to begin production himself, Eero wanted to build his factory close to home. Construction of the 1200-square meter factory was finished in 1984 and the factory has been expanded several times since then. Eero has often been asked whether VILPE will move its production to low-income countries, and the answer has always been a firm no. Hopefully, the number of factory expansions will convince doubters that VILPE is here to stay.
At first, the factory had just six employees: two worked with the machinery, and four packed products. As the company has grown, we have employed more people: currently, over 90 people work at our main office in Korsholm (Mustasaari), and 60 people are employed at our other locations. We have customers all over Europe, and our annual turnover is 21 million euros.
We have been awarded the Key Flag and the Design from Finland symbols. These symbols are a guarantee for our customers that using VILPE products supports Finnish quality design and manufacturing.
The Key Flag is a sign of Finnish work. The symbol can be awarded to a product that has been made in Finland. In addition, the right to use Key Flag Symbol can be awarded to products with a minimum domestic content of 50 percent of its break-even cost. The calculation takes into consideration all costs related to the product.
The Design from Finland symbol means that a company has invested in professional design and achieved business advantages through design. Products marked with the Design from Finland symbol have been designed professionally in Finland. Responsible and user-centered design are also important criteria for getting the award.
VILPE has been awarded the Achievers certificate in recognition of the company’s excellent financial performance. We have financed all of our investments in products and production technology by ourselves. We are proud to be a financially healthy company. Our partners can rely on us.
We value equality and diversity, and recruitments are based on applicants’ attitude and skills. VILPE has also received an honorary award in the “Equality Company of the year in Ostrobothnia” competition.
One reason for receiving the honorary award was VILPE’s commitment to equally sponsor both female and male sports teams. Read more about our Social Responsability efforts.