Established in 2016, Welement Factory is brand new and it is unlike any factory you'd expect to see in a Baltic Country.
This strikes you as soon as you get to its entrance.
On the factory floor, Welement sports cutting-edge technology in a quasi-sterile environment... but on the outside, it looks like a beautiful modern home.
The entrance to Welement Headquarters is indeed the best setting we've seen so far in a house factory.
The vertical larch cladding is a perfect example of what this Company is set to accomplish: creating beautiful wooden buildings.
Stepping inside keeps up with the expectations.
The reception desk and the furniture in the main corridor are made out of massive timber.
This space feels warm and well designed. Although minimalistic, it screams quality and attention to details.
The way Welement presents itself is nothing short of spectacular.
We step into the main meeting room with the CEO, Lauri Tuulberg. We are eager to learn more about the story of this your factory and its potential.
Lauri explains that Welement was born as a spin-off of the construction giant Rand&Tuulber, to support and allow expansion of their construction activities. (Rand&Tuulberg is one of the largest construction Companies in Estonia).
Rand&Tuulberg backs up Welement with extensive, multi-decade, know-how in the construction industry.
The company invested a considerable amount of capital to create a factory massive potential to serve the European Market.
Welement factory was designed and built from scratch and it implements modern semi-automated German equipment.
Video Tour of Welement Factory
In the following we review the main features of Welement Factory and the Services offered by the Company.
For additional information visit http://welement.ee
Factory Review - Welement AS
Table of Contents
- 1. Vision
- 2. General Info
- 3. Type of Product & Ideal Customer
- 4. Certifications
- 5. Capacity
- 6. Services
- 6.1. Technical Assistance
- 6.2. Design
- 6.3. Production
- 6.3.1. Material Supply
- 6.3.2. Painting
- 6.3.3. Impregnation
- 6.3.4. Cutting
- 6.3.5. Element Assembly
- 6.3.6. Element Handling
- 6.3.7. Packing & Loading
- 6.3.8. Quality Monitoring
- 6.3.9. Time Monitoring
- 6.3.10. Planning & Logistic
- 6.4. Shipping
- 6.5. Assembly
- 6.6. Additional on-site Services
- 7. Team
- 8. Management & Shareholders
- 9. How to Get There
“To us, it is not just about the quality of the timber elements but helping our partners find the appropriate level of prefabrication and dealing with the whole process of offsite construction” - Lauri Tuulberg, CEO
2. General Info
Welement factory is located in Tartu, Estonia.
The factory premises occupy an area of approximately 6000 m2.
The Company employs an average of 33 employees.
Welement is a very young Company as it was established just in 2016 and operational since spring 2017. However, it is part of Rand&Tuullberg Group (http://randtuulberg.ee), which is one of the largest construction Company in the Country.
Highlight: Welement factory is one of the most technologically advanced factories in Estonia.
3. Type of Product and Ideal Customer
Welement produces components for custom-made prefabricated buildings, mainly in elements and modules.
Welement serves primarily Business Customers (B2B).
Private Customers (B2C): NO
Business Customers (B2B): YES
Despite its young age, Welement already invested in obtaining two important certifications.
ISO 9001 (Quality): YES
ISO 14001 (Environment): NO
ETA (European Technical Approval): NO
SINTEF (for Norway): NO
NB: all these certifications are voluntary. The certification shows that the Company has a system in place to execute the processes covered by the certification. However, the certification itself does NOT guarantee the quality of the product or of the services rendered.
During its first year of activity, Welement factory has been running at minimum capacity.
m2 of floor space produced in the last three years: NO DATA (established in 2016)
m2 of external wall elements produced in the last three years: NO DATA (established in 2016)
m2 of floor space per year: 20 000 - 30 000 m2
m2 of external wall per year: 80 000 m2
NB: figures are provided by the Manufacturer and reported as they come.
Welement renders the following services as part of its standard business model:
Technical Assistance: YES
Architectural Design: YES
Engineering Design: YES
Packing and Loading: YES
Foundation works: NO
On-site Assembly: YES
Technical Installations*: NO (only plastic pipes for electricity preinstalled in wall elements)
Interior finish: NO
Supply of additional material**: on demand
* electricity, ventilation, heating, plumbing, ...
** parquet floors, tiles, kitchen, stairs, ...
6.1. Technical Assitance
One of Welement objectives is to provide guidance to its Clients in order to achieve a cost-effective implementation of their projects.
Sales, Design and Project Management Departments participate in rendering the service of technical assistance.
Welement has its own Design Department which takes care of developing the engineering drawings necessary for the production.
Welement does not offer services of architectural design and it requires its Clients to present their own architectural plans.
Engineering design is developed using HSBcad, an AutoCAD based software with 3D capabilities.
Once ready, the design can be digitally transferred to the machines on the factory floor that will take care of cutting the necessary timber parts to measure.
6.3. Production Process
Welement production is one of the most advanced in Estonia.
It relies heavily on machines and automation and there are 18-20 workers on the factory floor.
The Factory Manager supervises the production process from his office located directly on the factory floor.
6.3.1. Material Supply
Materials used in production are sourced locally by distributors operating in Estonia (Welement does not import materials on its own).
All material used in production are CE marked, with exception of cross-laminated timber which is purchased mainly from Latvia.
Among the major suppliers of wood: Stora Enso, Raitwood, Puidukoda, Pinska, Palmako, Peetri Puit.
Wooden windows used in production come mainly from Viking or Nordan.
Welement does not paint parts inside its factory.
Painting of all the colored parts is performed by a third party at the moment of sourcing of the materials (primer + first hand of paint).
A final layer is applied by Welement in the factory once the element is fully assembled.
Welement bears full responsibility for the quality of the painted surfaces and their conformity to the requirements set by the Customer.
Available painting solutions:
- water paint
- oil paint
Welement does not impregnate parts inside its factory.
Impregnation of all the impregnated parts is performed by a third party at the moment of sourcing of the materials.
Welement bear full responsibility for the quality of the impregnated parts and their conformity to the requirements set by the Customer.
Available impregnation solutions:
- green impregnation
- brown impregnation
- oil-seed deep impregnation
All parts for the assembly of elements are cut beforehand according to the detailed engineering design.
Minor cosmetic cuts are performed directly on the elements on the assembly line.
Cutting of beams
All beams are cut automatically with an automated saw.
The saw, a Weinmann WBZ160, is operated by one man and it cuts parts according to the engineering design prepared by Welement designers before production.
All parts are numbered and labeled as they are cut.
Cut parts are then moved to the assembly area.
Cutting of boards
All boards (gypsum, chipboard, ...) are cut manually on a cutting bench operated by one man.
Cut parts are then moved to the assembly area.
Cutting of excess cladding from the elements can be performed using a multifunctional bridge (see below).
6.3.5. Element Assembly
Elements are assembled on 2 parallel production lines.
Frames are assembled manually by 2 men.
Once the frames are assembled, additional layers and insulation are installed. Then the elements proceed to the multifunctional bridge where men install the boards.
The main functions of the bridge are:
- nailing of cladding, chipboards, gypsum boards (with screws);
- cutting of excess cladding or boards;
- marking of lines for eventual manual operations.
The bridge guarantees a constant and optimal quality of the product. The bridge is programmed by Designers to install screws/nails or to perform precise cuts or markings.
6.3.6. Element Handling
The two framing lines and the multifunctional bridge line have automatic belt system for moving the elements along the line.
The framing lines are equipped with butterfly tables that allow moving one element from one line to the other, flipping it on its back.
This way workes can install layers of both sides of the elements without the use of a crane.
After assembly, elements are moved out the production line with a "trolley" operated by just one person.
The trolley can drive the element to the area where windows are installed or to a temporary storage.
Trolley operations are extremely efficient in terms of time and resources.
In fact, moving the elements with a crane takes more time and it usually requires 2 or more men.
6.3.7. Packing & Loading
All elements and materials that need to be delivered to the construction site are packed with plastic film and plastic ropes.
Packages have a wooden base to avoid the elements being in direct contact with the ground.
The packaging is weather tight and packages can be left outside for days without any risk of damage to the content.
Packages are planned following the scheme assembly scheme for the on-site operations.
This way, elements that will be installed at the same time are most likely found in the same package.
Each package comes equipped with shipping list indicating its content and weight.
Important: delivery trucks are loaded inside the factory. This gives additional protection from exposure to bad weather.
6.3.8. Quality Monitoring
The quality of the elements produced in the factory is constantly monitored by registering the measures of each element or part assembled. Moreover, each layer has its own quality marks.
Measures and additional quality marks are inserted into an application that logs them for further reference.
In addition to that, workers are trained to control the product every time it is given over to another workstation.
Finally, at each workstation, the work executed is documented with a photo.
6.3.9. Time Monitoring
Time monitoring is executed in parallel with quality monitoring, by the means of the logging Application.
The analysis of logged times provides an accurate picture of the efficiency of the production process.
The Management uses these data to make strategic decisions to improve the efficiency of production.
6.3.10. Planning & Logistic
The sequence of production of elements, packing, loading of trucks is planned by the Production Manager in the Factory Office.
Planning takes into account availability of material, design, deadlines, interference with other projects.
Shipping is organized by Welement as per terms agreed with the Client during the Sales process.
Generally Welement ships its goods DAP.
Welement allows Ex Works delivery for Clients who want to provide their own transport.
In any case, trucks are loaded by Welement at the factory.
Welement offers on-site assembly of its own elements and modules.
Generally, the assembly foresees all the works necessary to have the structure completely weathertight and finished from the outside.
Details of the assembly service shall be agreed during the sales process.
To perform the assembly on-site, Welement relies on specialized partners.
6.6. Additional on-site Services
At the moment, Welement does not provide additional on-site services.
The Company is currently working to set up agreements with Building Partners in Sweden.
Welement Team is composed of young and ambitious people.
Given the high level of automation, the production process can be run by less than 20 people.
8. Management & Shareholders
Daily activities are managed by the CEO, Lauri Tuulberg.
Welement has a Management Board composed of 3 persons who actively participate in shaping the vision and the strategy of the Company.
All the important decisions at Welement are taken considering the input of the entire Team.
Rand&Tuulberg owns the majority of shares and the managing partners own the rest of the shares.
9. How to Get There
Welement address is Klaasi 14, Tartu, Estonia.
The location can be quickly reached by taxi from the center of Tartu.
A taxi ride from Tartu Bus Station to Welement Factory lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.
Tartu can conveniently be reached from Tallinn by bus.
The bus leaves approximately every 30 minutes and it can be boarded either from Tallinn Bus Station or Tallinn Airport.
The bus ride Tallinn-Tartu lasts 2:30h.