Heatmasters in Poland - 25 years
Heatmasters in Poland – it all began back in 1995, when the metal workshop of A. Ahlström Oy (a Finnish pulp & paper manufacturer), asked Heatmasters’ (Lahden Lämpökäsittely Oy or Lahti Heat Treatment Ltd in English at that time) willingness to provide heat treatment services at the Ahlstrom Fakop Sp. z o.o.. workshop. This workshop was situated in southern Poland, in the town of Sosnowiec and it was mostly run by Finnish employees.
The management of Heatmasters analyzed the situation and made an offer for heat treatment services, which was then accepted in the form of a letter of intent. Cooperation with the former employees of the Fakop maintenance unit was started. The company was acquired by Heatmasters and Remo-Ster Sp. z o.o.. The company was renamed to Heatmasters Sp. z o.o..
Preparations began immediately and supplies and heat treatment equipment were delivered to Sosnowiec, Poland. At the same time, one bold, only Finnish-speaking heat-treatment specialist left Finland to oversee the construction of the furnaces, the commissioning of other equipment, and training. Another employee of Heatmasters took over the responsibility for activating the business operations within Poland soon after.
The company recruited two heat treatment trainees, one of whom is still employed by the company after 25 years. Operations began with practical training and construction of heat treatment furnaces in the premises leased from the Fakop factory.
In 1996, Fakop was acquired by the American company Foster Wheeler and the new partner was renamed Foster Wheeler Fakop. The building of customer relationships started from square one in May of 1996, as the last Finn left the Fakop factory.
For almost the entire first year of operation, the company used an office space of approximately 18 m² inside a site container. The container later remained as a heat treatment facility when the offices moved to a two-room space near the furnaces. The responsibilities of Finnish Heatmasters as a trainer and participant in practical work ended in December 1996. The company's operational activities were taken over by the local CEO. Operations continued with a focus on furnace and local heat treatment services, with the main customer being Foster Wheeler Fakop.
Time for Change
In 2001, Foster Wheeler Fakop announced a change of premises. The facilities used by Heatmasters were demolished. However, the company was assigned a new space for operations outside the plant site right away. The same thing happened again a few years later. The transfer operations required constant flexibility from the company as the largest furnace which had to be moved was 3.5 x 20 m.
In the mid-2000s, the board of directors of Heatmasters was informed of a building being auctioned in the immediate vicinity of the factory. The building was offered at a minimal price and ownership was transferred to the company.
By 2005, the company had grown from two heat treatment specialists to 15 heat treatment specialists as heat treatment projects continued to come in. Finnish Heatmasters made a trip with Polish colleagues to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Heatmasters Poland. Celebrations happened in the Tatra Mountains with activities such as horseback riding.
Enjoying a ride down the Polish side of the Tatra Mountains with a chairlift during the 10-Year anniversary celebrations.
Expansion of Operations
Business operations continued to be busy and in 2006, the company built the first gas furnace. The customer base expanded and in 2010 the company signed an agreement with Stama Sp. z o.o., to start furnace operations at their factory. A 1.4 MW furnace with a floor area of 20.0 x 5.8 m was built at Stama's premises.
The 1.4 MW furnace at Stama’s premises.
In 2010, as Foster Wheeler Fakop expanded its operations, space became an issue and the search for new facilities/premises began. The new facilities were found about 7 kilometers away, from the town of Będzin. Remodeling of the new premises was completed in 2012.
First facility in Będzin
In 2018, facilities were moved once again within Będzin. The new, modern facilities were within the same industrial area, but allowed us to better serve customers with not only heat treatment but also blasting and painting. Operations in Będzin continue, and the future looks bright!
Heatmasters’ Będzin facilities.