Robit equipped for growth built on product quality, service efficiency & partnerships

Finnish quarrying, mining and construction drilling tools manufacturer Robit aims to continue along a growth path in 2023 after a successful 2022.
Breaking, Drilling & Blasting / January 24, 2023
By Guy Woodford
Robit CEO Arto Halonen

The company’s January-September 2022 sales of €85.8mn represented a 15.2% increase (74.5mn) on the same nine-month period of 2021. Orders received were also up 9.2%, while EBITDA profitability improved by 42.5% totalling 8.5mn (5.9mn in 2021).

Top Hammer drilling tools remained the biggest Robit growth driver during the January-September 2022 period with that business segment growing by 24% to 50.1mn (40.4mn in 2021). Delivery capacity was said by Robit to be at a “good level”, enabling strong growth. Meanwhile, the Down the Hole drilling tools business grew by 4.6% totalling 35.7mn (34.1mn).

Matias & Arto
Robit's Matias Eskelinen (left) and Arto Halonen at the company's Finnish HQ factory


All Robit’s geographical trading markets experienced growth during the first nine months of last year. Growth was particularly notable om the Americas market area, where sales grew by 42% due to good demand. The Asia and East market areas also grew strongly in January-September 2022 achieving growth of over 15%.

Speaking recently to Aggregates Business, Arto Halonen, who succeeded Tommi Lehtonen as Robit CEO last year, said: “We have grown well over the past two years and are in a very strong position within our industry. We have brought new products to the market and introduced new distributors. We have also strengthened our sales channels to better serve our customers.”

Commenting on Robit’s product and services offer compared to its market peers, Halonen says: “Generally, the market has been good for all of us and Robit is one of the leaders when it comes to rock drilling tools. I think we stand out in a couple of ways: high quality products that deliver good performance while offering the best value for money. We are only focused on rock drilling tools. It is the business we live and breathe every day. I also think we respond at speed to our customers’ needs. When they work with Robit, they get answers to their enquiries quickly. They also get their delivers fast and on time.”

Robit quarry
A Robit expert working with a customer at a quarry site 

Halonen, employed as Robit’s chief financial officer and chief operations officer after joining the company from Metso Minerals in early 2020, has a strong background in quarrying and mining equipment. Between 2018-2020, he was Metso Minerals vice president crushers, having previously served as Metso’s vice president strategy and business development, and at Metso Minerals from 2015 to 2016 as vice president global sales and marketing.

Focusing on Robit’s distributors and customers, he says: “We are looking to build longstanding relationships, accelerating growth by expanding our distribution network. It is vital that our customers get knowledgeable service close to where they are.

“We work across the mining, quarrying and construction segments, and one of the key focuses for us is being stronger in North America. It is a big market for our industry. There is also a lot of development in the Middle East market, creating commercial opportunities. Europe, our home market, is also very important to us. There is also an interesting aggregates and construction focus throughout West Africa where we work with BiA, a very strong [distributor] company in that region.

“While we mostly work with distributors partners, we still primarily sell directly in Finland, Australia, South Africa, and Peru.”

Halonen says Robit has been impacted only in a “limited” way by supply chain disruption linked initially to the coronavirus pandemic, and, since 24 February 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent war between the two nations. “The sustainable partnerships we have built on the supply chain side have helped us a great deal. When you do things for the long run, like we do, you have a committed network of suppliers. You get through different market disruptions as people share the same goals and targets.

“I will say, though, that in today’s geopolitical environment, you do need to closely look at where your supply base is located. You need to ensure that you have alternatives in place if things out of your control happen in certain parts of the world.”

Turning his attention to Robit’s current and potential future product line-up, Halonen says the company has a “strong and solid” research and development pipeline. “We are always looking to innovate and there will be some exciting product news for the market in 2023.”

A company with over 270 employees (72% based outside Finland), four factories and eight offices worldwide, selling to customers in more than 100 countries, Robit’s growth trajectory was significantly boosted in 2018 by the opening of its state-of-the-art manufacturing factory and adjoining sales offices in Hwaesong, South Korea. The last 18 months have seen further major investment in increasing the firm’s Lempäälä, Finland factory’s top hammer drilling tools production capability.

Robit South Korea factory
Robit's factory in Hwaesong, South Korea

“The last year and a half’s investment in our Lempäälä factory is the second biggest investment programme in Robit’s history, with the investment in the original greenfield site for the [Hwaesong] South Korean factory the biggest,” says Halonen. “We have seen particularly strong growth in the top hammer drilling tools side of our business, and, as it stands today, our production capability is very good, leaving us well geared up for growth.” 

In September 2021, Robit committed to new sustainability KPIs (key performance indicators) and asked its stakeholders to do the same. As Halonen notes, the company’s ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) roadmap focuses on four key areas: sustainable partnerships; CO emission reduction in the value chain; healthy and happy workplace; and efficiency throughout product lifecycle.

Robit aims to have a minimum of 90% of its supplier spend coming from suppliers who have committed to Robit’s supply chain policy. The result at the end of 2021 was already 79%.

A first step towards Robit’s CO emissions reduction was building a calculation tool to recognise Scope 1 and 2 CO emissions caused by Robit’s operations.

Robit workers
Arto Halonen believes that part of Robit's success is due to the speed with which it responds to customer needs


“We want to half our CO₂ emissions from a 2020 baseline by 2030,” explains Halonen. “We have drill masters that visit customers and help them to perform their rock drilling in an optimal way. As an example, there is one quarry in Finland where the drill masters calculated by how much their work with the customer on optimised rock drilling had reduced the customer’s CO₂ emissions. It turned out that if you replicated that optimised rock drilling 35 times, you would save in emissions the equivalent of Robit’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO₂ emissions in a year. That gives you an idea of the scale of what we can achieve with customers.”

What satisfies Halonen most about his leadership role? “The greatest satisfaction comes at the end of the year, when you stop for a while and look back to see you’ve managed to change and achieve something. When you work day to day, you don’t always realise how many steps forward the company has taken. There’s a sense of, “Yes, we did it!’”

And his biggest frustration? “I liked it when Harri Sjöholm, the chairman of our management board, told me some wise advice he had heard about the need to ‘learn to love problems.’ Many of us are impatient and want things to happen quicker, but that can’t always happen.”

Looking ahead, Halonen says Robit must continue to evolve to meet the challenges of the future marketplace. “There continues to be many growth drivers in our markets. The megatrends of urbanisation and electrification will remain, and we are in a good space from that perspective. I think automation in rock drilling will increase, which will set new requirements for rock drilling tools, such as needing to last longer. Due to this market trend, and to improve safety, two to three years ago we launched a range of diamond-coated button bits for top hammer drilling.

“Our target is to be Number One in focused rock drilling consumables. We currently have a 5% global market share and the next step for us is 10%. When we achieve 10%, we would very likely become the Number One company in our market sector.”



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