It was only in February, but it seems like a lifetime ago that Glenn and I joined Ghislaine on a trip to see the Finnish authorised dealer of Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV (HCME), Rotator. Fingers crossed that the ‘you-know-what’ will diminish to the extent that we’ll soon be able to resume our international content marketing work abroad.
Rotator had lined up three of their valued customers for us to visit over three days, six flights, two hire cars and three hotels. It was an incredible experience to travel across some regions of this beautiful and friendly country that we’d not encountered before, as well as see some old friends!
A Remanufactured component
Our first port of call from an overnight stay near Helsinki Airport was a two-hour drive to the west to meet up with Kone-Kostamo Oy. The Hitachi customer had purchased a Remanufactured component from Rotator/HCME, and we were there to find out why they had bought it and if they would buy a part from this successful programme again.
Our location for the day was Saramäki quarry, near Turku, where we were made to feel very welcome by the company’s Foreman, Karri Mäenpää, as well as Miko and Marko from Rotator.
Two rental machines
On day two, we travelled in the other direction and ended up in the east of the country at the Russian border near Vaalimaa. It was an incredible experience to go behind the scenes and see how the Finnish Border Guard manages security with a border zone in place between the two countries.
A key part of the operation over the winter months is the work carried out by our host, Maanrakennus Mikko Oy, to keep the 44 hectares of car and truck parks free of snow, using two rented Hitachi wheel loaders. Unfortunately, Finland was having its mildest winter for many years and so there was no snow to be cleared on this occasion, but we still enjoyed meeting Juha Husu and his team, and our host Ari from Rotator.
The latest mining excavator
After an overnight flight and a cross-country drive across ice and snow – that clearly shows why the Finns develop some of the best rally drivers in the world – we reached the Terrafame mine near Sotkamo in the centre of the country. Our guide, Sami from Rotator, introduced us to Marko and Asko, who were most hospitable in escorting us deep into the mine to view one of Hitachi’s new mining excavators.
Glenn and Paul had original visited the mine more than 12 years before, when it was then known as the Talvivaara mine, not long after the first Hitachi excavator and dump trucks had begun operating at this remote site. It was not only a privilege for them to see the latest technology at work, but also to reacquaint themselves with the spectacular surroundings and see how the original fleet was still operating in the toughest of conditions.
A huge thank you to everyone at Rotator for their time, help, translation skills and enthusiasm, not only for their Hitachi products, service and customers, but also for their amazing country. We rounded off our journey with an epic drive south to Kuopio and a fantastic Viking experience in a local restaurant… reindeer anyone?
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