Dometal has strong roots in soil

Dometal from South Western Finland has a strong growth rate. Resources are devoted to the core of the business which is in designing and manufacturing high quality agricultural machinery. Dometal invests heavily in not only product development and testing but also in modern production technology such as robotics. The company’s business strategy is always to provide the customer with a modern, high-quality and competitive solution made from the best available materials. Supporting services such as documentation, technical calculations and risk management rely on the partnership with Comatec.

Dometal has grown from a million in turnover to nearly 20 million euros over a 20-year period. In recent years, there has been brand renewal, acquisitions and new machines launched.

– The company tries to function with a small number of employees, we multitask a lot. In the last few years, we have made a couple of major acquisitions, renewed our brand and additionally we launched our next generation of seed drills last September. These have effectively employed our small group of staff. After a short breather, the next projects are already in sight, says Vesa Mäkelä, Dometal’s Product Development Manager.

Following the acquisition of the seed drilling business from Vieskan Metalli, development investments have been recently focusing on seed drills where we see a large potential for growth.

A seed drilling machine is a complex technical machine

There are many types of seed drilling machines available from simple, mechanically operated machine to a highly technical, fully electric seed and fertiliser adjusting machine.

– We have a basic seed drilling machine that is as mechanical as possible, which has no electricity besides the lights. The other extreme is where the machine is fully controlled and automated electronically. At best, data is collected from the field and saved to a virtual cloud space which allows the amount of fertiliser and seeds to be adjusted, says Vesa.

– Farmers sows between 30 to 40 cycles throughout their working life. So you need to invest a lot in sowing seeds as the success of the farm depends on it.

– Of course, the success of the harvest is based on several other factors of which sowing is only one part. Crop production, fertilization, harvesting and weather conditions are all contributors to success, explains Vesa.

– Our Multiva Method ensures that sowing is successful. In addition to the seed drills, other Multiva products also include tilling machines and trailers. We have the expertise to design a machine and a practical perspective on it because we are famers ourselves – and so are many of our employees, Vesa added.

– We can test the machines on our own fields. We are not only designing machines that can successfully sow but we are developing a cultivation method.

– In Central Europe they generally use just seed drilling machines. The Nordic countries since the 1960’s have been sowing and fertilising at the same time because the growing season is short. This way the fertiliser is placed close to the seed, which utilises the fertiliser quicker allowing a quicker growth to the seed.

– The new seed drilling machines are entirely our design. We have been able to add solutions which farmers value. This can be seen in the fact that production was sold out as soon as the product was launched in Autumn, announced Vesa.

High Quality Machines, High Quality Documentation

The cooperation between Dometal and Comatec started small in 2007 but has expanded over time to its present state.

– We noticed that we could not do everything alone, so we decided to utilise Comatec for a risk management and safety study, Vesa recalls from the early days of the cooperation.

– Expanding our product line to a whole family of products has increased the requirement for documentation. It used to be Word-based which was very cumbersome, Vesa declares.

– We are a growing business and the number of countries we are exporting to is growing, so it’s been important to translate the instructions to more and more languages. Each product in the line has a 100-page document, which needs to be translated into multiple languages. Our Word-based system could not cope with this demand.

– The CMS system development work started at Comatec and seemed like a perfect solution for us. Today, all our new project documentation is in a structured form based on Comatec’s CMS system, Vesa disclosed.

– Our cooperation with Comatec started with a six-month documentation task regarding one of the seed drilling machines. It has since grown to its current levels. Now, the third product is in the process of documentation and the benefits of structured documentation are emerging.

– Comatec provides all the documentation for us on a turnkey basis, as we have no additional resources. We have not yet implemented the system for our own use, although we can do it at any time if we wish, since everything was designed for us in that system.

– So far, we are focusing on designing the machinery, which is our expertise. We commission all the risk management, technical calculations and documentation to Comatec. Comatec is a flexible partner and it is a one stop shop for us.

Finally, Vesa explains “The largest benefit for us with Comatec’s documentation is that it’s of high quality, understandable and easy to read. I am very satisfied with the language of these documents”.

The background of Dometal

Dometal is a family-owned company founded in 1997 which manufactures high-quality agricultural machinery in Loimaa, Finland. The company is now owned by the CEO and three brothers whose father established an agricultural machine workshop in the 1980’s. The company has strong roots in agriculture.

The company has grown considerably both organically and from acquisitions. It’s consolidated turnover this year will be around 18 million euros with approximately 100 employees. The growth continues to strengthen as the company has made significant acquisitions in recent years. In 2013, Potila Tuotanto was acquired from Kiikoinen, which now has another factory. In 2015, the seed drilling machine business of Vieskan Metalli was acuired, so recently the focus has been on developing a new generation of seed drilling machines.

Thanks to its agricultural background, the company’s product development is very practical. The products and solutions can be tested in their own fields because many of the employees and owners are also farmers.

Dometal’s CEO Mikko Mäkimattila is also a partner who brought his expertise in exports. Dometal currently exports to 20 countries which accounts to about half the production. Harrows and seed drilling machinery are the main product featuring technology that stands out from the competition. It  also has clear export potential. Dometal has a distributor in Finland and a subsidiary in Hungary. The other countries of operation have importers and resellers.

TEXT Taina Syrjänen
PHOTOS Dometal and Taina Syrjänen