Issue Nov/Dec 06
Lillbacka’s lean machines
Manufacturing thousands of portable, benchtop and production model crimping machines each year, Lillbacka Powerco also produces hose cutting and nut crimping machines for customers across the globe.
Operating under the Finn-Power brand name, the company’s crimping machines have hundreds of potential applications including the hydraulic- and other hose assemblies, tube, pipe, wire, cable, plastic, and fibreglass industries.
The crimping process is a fast, safe, quiet and environmentally friendly material forming method. The crimped joints are extremely durable, with the wire tending to break before the crimped joint itself. Compared to other joining methods, crimping also has very low tool costs, with rapid tool changing and the possibility of manual operation.
Lillbacka has been involved in the manufacture of crimping machines since the early 1970s, although it began life as a subcontractor for machine engineering work. Jorma Lillbacka founded the company in 1969 under the name Lillbackan Konepaja, but in 1973 he took the decision to focus on developing improved ways of crimping hydraulic hose assemblies. Working under the Finn-Power trade name for its hydraulic hose crimping and cutting machines, its first product releases were an instant success, establishing the brand as a big name in the industry.
Focusing on the development of innovative processes, including automated die change systems for a range of connectors and fittings, the company grew rapidly to achieve global market leadership in crimping technology by 1980. In recognition of this achievement, the same year saw Jorma Lillbacka presented with an award from the President of Finland for outstanding success in Finnish export. In the 80s Lillbackan Konepaja expanded the production to sheet metal technology.
By 1994, both the crimping technology and sheet metal working technology divisions were experiencing tremendous levels of growth. The next year the crimping branch was renamed Lillbacka Powerco Oy, and seven years later the sheet metal working technology division was sold, allowing the company to devote all of its resources to the development and manufacture of its Finn- Power crimping machines.
While Lillbacka has remained an independent, privately owned corporation, its influence has grown beyond Finland, becoming renowned across the globe for high quality crimping technology and serviceable logistics. Today the company also includes a subsidiary in the US, which is responsible for sales, marketing and service of Finn-Power products in North and South America.
As a part of Lillbacka Powerco Oy Holding group, the company sits alongside Lillbacka Global, a specialist in logistics, transportation and expedition, Powerline sea transport, and the Power Park entertainment centre located in Southern Ostrobothnia. Lillbacka Powerco crimping technology is the key part of the group, with its Finn-Power brand a recognisable name across the globe.
With approximately 95 per cent of production exported, the company has developed a strong international distribution network from its Finnish facility. The closely integrated network offers global maintenance to its customers, with trained service technicians available to meet every service and support need. Through almost 100 dealers, positioned in over 35 countries, the network is based on long-term business contracts and personnel relationships, and has helped Lillbacka extend the influence of the Finn-Power range.
Offering a rapid, silent and safe production method to meet crimping, joining and forming needs, the high-tech products are based on customer specific needs. The company strives to meet every need and expectation in the design of new products, with several releases launched each year at international exhibitions. It continually searches for new, innovative solutions together with customers, using an advanced laboratory that offers a broad range of technical resources to verify exact product features.
Applied in a wide variety of different applications, the Finn-Power brand is used for crimping different hoses, tubes, pipes, wires, cables, ropes and electrical cables. Enabling the quick and accurate joining of metal with metal, rubber, fibre or plastics, the products are renowned for their accuracy, force, efficiency, durability, speed, safety and ease of use.
The Finn-Power range is split into a number of product categories that include service line, general production, side feed machines, nut and cable crimping, serial production and other machines. These classes mean that Lillbacka is able to cater for a range of needs, from small, portable units up to heavy-duty crimpers, while also offering hose cutting and tube pointing machines.
A particular focus for the company is industrial crimping in the automotive and heavy vehicle industry, where its machines are widely used by leading automotive component manufacturers. The crimping technology is used for connecting, forming and calibrating a wide variety of components, which include hose assemblies, exhaust systems, tube components, safety systems, suspension components, power transfer mechanisms, control cables, as well as a range of other solutions.
Hose assemblies in the automotive industry are often comprised of elaborate shapes and sharp bends, and as the traditional pass through head structure of hose crimping machines does not accommodate such shapes, Lillbacka designed a side feed crimping machine to allow the hose to be fed from the side. The result was the innovative Finn-Power SP100, SP350 and SP1200 machines, which are capable of crimping any irregular shaped hose assembly.
Able to offer high levels accuracy and repeatability, while being easy to install, use and adjust, the three machines are unique in the industry. They include a control unit that is mounted to a movable swing arm, an adjustable angle of crimping head and a special machine construction that together ensure the company is able to meet a wide range of demands.
Creating innovative solutions to solve customer problems is a key part of Lillbacka’s business strategy. The company emphasises the importance of focusing on the development, manufacture and supply of state-of-the-art equipment for radial forming, while enabling effective production for the users of its Finn-Power crimping machines. Highly valuing customer satisfaction and long-term commitment, Lillbacka strives for continuous improvement, as it looks to achieve its vision of being the leader in crimping technology.
Currently holding a reputation as one of the world’s industry leaders, Lillbacka Powerco attributes its success to a number of factors, including highly motivated and skilled personnel, its focus on customer support and R&D, and its high degree of quality awareness. These key areas have helped the company ever since its 1973 move into the crimping industry, and are set to extend its success into the future.
Products: Crimping machines
Sites: Härmä, Finland