The production complex of Estonian metal machining company Radius Machining isn’t just a simple turning and milling site, but a modern wonderland full of top-tier technology, where not a single move is made without computers or programming.
Radius Machining are a key player in the field of CNC, where computer numerical control machines process pieces of material to meet specifications by following a coded programmed instruction and without a manual operator.
Radius Machining consider the willingness to take on special projects and assignments as their core strength and unique selling point. “We’re really not that comfortable with telling our customers “no” or that this particular task is impossible, because it’s always possible to achieve the desired result somehow,” explains the company’s founder Veljo Konnimois. “In very simple terms, our advantage is the preparedness to invest in technological solutions when more clients are faced with a similar challenge. Otherwise, they’d have to acquire the special equipment themselves, but if we can find 3-4 clients with similar demands, then it’s feasible for ourselves to carry the burden of the investment.”
Speed and flexibility are major advantages on international markets and thus Radius Machining exports 40% of its production overseas. “Our decision-making processes are very quick and we can solve all problems and challenges within a limited timeframe, sometimes even in just a few hours. This efficiency is immediately reflected in our delivery times, which are very short compared to our main competitors – while on some major markets it can take up to 12 weeks to deliver the product to the customer, we take pride in delivering the same result in just four weeks,” stresses Konnimois.
The company’s client portfolio spans 360 degrees, ranging from the medical industry to agricultural machinery and including sectors such as food processing, heavy machinery and even space. Konnimois explains that Radius have made a conscious decision not to focus on any particular industries or sectors and this has granted the company a comfortable level of stability. “We are not dependent on trends in different sectors and this widespread diversification gives us a degree of independence, because I personally believe that specialization can pave the path to laziness,” Konnimois explains his philosophy. Radius Machining’s main clients are major international corporations with very high quality standards and demands, such as Skeleton Technologies, Cleveron, ABB, CERN and others.
One of the more distinguished companies in the company’s portfolio is the Japanese Bronto Skylift
corporation, making the world’s tallest lifts for rescue and high-altitude access and maintenance
services. “Bronto Skylift has become one of our top clients, but it is the result of a 10-year effort
and just goes to demonstrate that perseverance and dedication are the key qualities for achieving
success on international markets. We also subcontract for Koenig & Bauer and specifically for their Germany-based production lines.” Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland form the core of Radius Machining’s focus markets. While the delivery radius of metal processing companies is usually limited to about 500-1000 kilometres due to transportation costs, then Radius has successfully expanded its reach beyond this area, partnering with Swiss and Swedish companies in serving the train industries in those markets. “Client references and testimonials play a pivotal role in our industry – we were able to take on the Finnish market thanks to some kind words by ASSA ABLOY, who introduced us to their partners as the “crazy Estonians who are able to create feasible solutions to almost impossible problems”. But often we’re called in to fix issues and problems left behind by other suppliers,” notes Konnimois.
Besides providing quality subcontracting to other enterprises, Radius Machining are eager to invest their time and know-how in projects that excite or inspire them. “At least once every month we’re approach by someone with a near-impossible mission to produce an important detail or component.” And one area constantly expanding the limits of possibility is the final frontier – space.
Though Radius may not always know the final product to include the bits and bobs manufactured by the company, the aim is to be included in projects with a higher mission. NASA is clearly an organization that every manufacturer dreams of partnering with and Radius has achieved this already. Another major scientific organization to subcontract components from Radius is CERN in Switzerland, lending additional credibility to the highest quality standards that the company is committed to. The company’s milling and turning capacity is estimated to be at about 11,000 hours per month, but in case of new and exciting orders it’s possible to increase production volumes by 50 per cent without increasing staff numbers. “I am convinced that the one value setting us apart from some competitors is our integrity and honesty, because we can afford to turn down client requests as well. We simply make it very clear from the beginning whether we are able to complete the requested task in time and on the terms stipulated by the client. We stand by 99 per cent of the delivery times promised by us, thanks to our state-of-the-art manufacturing management software.”
The Estonian machining industry is closely following the success of the Estonian IT sector and is quick to adopt new ideas and approaches from there. Konnimois claims that this is a trend that he hasn’t witnessed anywhere else. “Our partners are dumbfounded by our white walls and clean floors when they come to visit us. Industrial companies in Estonia are very cultured and high-tech and most importantly – incredibly conscious about the environment.
We simply need to be attractive to avoid losing the brightest minds to start-ups and other tech companies. That’s why we work closely with schools and students to secure progeny in our field, to inspire young people to consider the machining industry as an employment opportunity. After all, we are witnessing another industrial revolution happening before our very eyes,” stresses Konnimois. Radius Machining is happy to host overseas customers at their Estonian facility for business travels. “Estonia is a unique place, where we have managed to seamlessly blend pristine nature with an unrivalled high-tech IT environment. Our international partners come to Estonia, have some meetings with professional people who don’t like to waste time on small-talk, and then they are free to enjoy the peace and quiet of our beautiful nature,” smiles Konnimois. The whole economy of Estonia is moving towards digitalisation and Estonia’s experience in e-governance plays a huge role in driving the entire country.
Most companies in Estonia got their start only in the early 90s and have developed faster than their international counterparts, skipping several development obstacles on the way. Respecting employees comes naturally for employers, and this is evident in Estonia’s very low ranking in international lists on the probability of strikes. “We hardly have any force majeure incidents, don’t indulge ourselves in long summer holidays and keep working hard all year round. We are open and honest in our communication
with our clients, invest in product development and keep educating ourselves even further by engaging in prototype ventures. Therefore, I believe that Estonia has great potential for becoming
an industrial hub between Scandinavia and Central Europe,” Konnimois is convinced
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