Metso sets course for exciting crushing & screening future

Crushing Static & Mobile / July 1, 2024
By Guy Woodford
The Lokotrack LT400J jaw crusher is one of Metso's first two Lokotrack EC Series range products. Pic: Metso

Metso is growing fast. A big recent announcement on the Finnish quarrying, mining and recycling equipment manufacturer's future Finnish machine production and R&D plans coincided with the unveiling of the first two products from Metso's new Lokotrack EC Series range. Guy Woodford travelled to Tampere to get the inside track.


Metso is investing €150 million in a modern technology centre in Tampere, Finland. The global industry giant will gradually move its operations in Hatanpää, Tampere, to a new Lokomotion technology centre built in Tampere's Lahdesjärvi district. In the future, at the new Lahdesjärvi facility, Metso will design, test, and manufacture technologies, equipment, and components for the production of aggregates and sand.

Lokotrack gala
Unveiling the Lokotrack LT350C cone crusher at the Lokotrack EC Series gala dinner launch event in Tampere. Pic: Guy Woodford


Acquired by Metso in 2021, the Lokomotion Technology Centre site covers 23 hectares. It will host over 900 Metso employees. The initial total building area of the centre is about 66,000m², of which the first phase will be about 34,000m². The investment in the first phase is about €150 million, spread over three years. Construction started in July 2024 and will include assembly and testing facilities for manufacturing mobile crushers and storage facilities for components and materials used in aggregate equipment. Investment in 2024 is estimated at around €30 million. Production of the track-mounted crushing plants, Lokotracks, is scheduled to start in Lahdesjärvi during the third quarter of 2027.


According to the plan, the crusher factory, research centre, maintenance workshop, and office facilities will move from Hatanpää to Lahdesjärvi later. The new technology centre is expected to be fully completed by the mid-2030s.

Tech Centre
An artist's impression of Metso's planned €150 million modern technology centre in Tampere, Finland. Pic: Metso 


The Lokomotion project aims to develop and build a new modern technology centre for sustainable manufacturing operations. The centre will provide an environment and facilities to meet the most demanding sustainability and environmental objectives. The project has applied for BREEAM certification with a "very good" rating. The City of Tampere has also defined a green factor in the land-use plan for the area, which will guide the design and implementation of the project in terms of climate resilience and nature-based solutions.


Metso's current site, Lokomo, focused on the aggregates business, is located in Hatanpää, Tampere, and it has had industrial activities for more than 100 years. Metso owns approximately 17 hectares of land and buildings in Lokomo. The company intends to move all Metso's Lokomo activities in a phased approach to a new technology centre in Lahdesjärvi, and then to close down and leave the Hatanpää site and buildings.


"Tampere is a very important location for Metso, and with our long presence in Lokomo, we are also an important part of the city's industrial history. We are very pleased to be able to implement the Lokomotion project, which is a significant project for Metso and will allow us to continue our operations in the area in a new state-of-the-art technology centre and production facility. The project involves a number of partners and will have a significant employment impact in the area," says Markku Simula, president of Metso's Aggregates business area.

Pictured left to right in front of the Lokotrack LT350C cone crusher at the Metso Lokotrack EC Series range launch event are Eeva Sipilä, Metso CFO and deputy CEO, Markku Simula, Metso Aggregates president, Heikki Metsälä, Metso president Consumables BA, Jarmo Vuorenpää, director of new Lokotrack EC Series rane, and Renaud Lapointe, senior vice president Metso Products business line 


The aggregates produced by Metso's equipment are used, for example, in constructing roads, railway tracks, and other infrastructure, for building foundations, and as a raw material for concrete. The equipment can also crush construction waste to be recycled and produce industrial sand to replace natural sand for concrete production.


Simula gave Nordic and international trade media an overview of the Lokomotion Technology Centre during a special Metso diesel-electric Lokotrack EC Series range launch event in Tampere from 14 to 16 May 2024. 


The new EC range's first two products, which were unveiled at an event, are the Lokotrack LT400J, a 68-tonne mobile jaw crusher that primarily crushes hard rock and recycled aggregates, and the Lokotrack LT350C, a 50-tonne mobile cone crusher for secondary and tertiary crushing.


The trade media heard that Metso posted sales of €5.4 billion in 2023, with the company investing €73 million last year in research and development. Renaud Lapointe, senior vice president of Metso Products Business Line, highlighted recent sustainable technology developments from Metso during the trade media press conference. These include the Nordberg HP350e Series cone crusher, the NW8HRC—the first portable HRC 8 crusher for manufactured sand, and the Remote IC Lokotrack process control app.


Speaking to Aggregates Business after the press conference about how Metso sees the current and medium-term global quarrying machinery market, Simula said: "If you look ahead over the next few months, uncertainty is likely to continue. Inflation will be slightly lower, but interest rates will likely remain high. Everyone has a lot of inventory across our industry, whether in manufacturers' or distributors' backyards. The rental machine business is busy but is not converting [to increased rental orders]. Part of that is down to market uncertainty and is linked to high interest rates. From our perspective, the worst time is behind us. However, we are not back to normal or a busy time.

Lokotrack EC Series range
New Metso Lokotrack EC Series range machines at work. Pic: Metso


"If I take a three-years-or-more perspective, I think uncertainty will reduce, and inflation will not likely be as big an issue. Interest rates will also be a bit lower. What will be important is that inventory from everyone's backyards is back to normal levels. It will take a year or two before that happens. When all these factors are in place, I think there will be healthy unit demand in many places."


Simula is buoyed by the likely positive impact of long-term megatrends on the global quarrying equipment market. "Urbanisation, electrification, and sustainability are favourable to us. The ways that people are fighting global warming are favourable to us."


In March this year, Aggregates Business reported that Metso's 2023 annual report had revealed a big rise in Planet Positive-linked sales. The Finnish quarrying and mining equipment major's Planet Positive-related sales were worth €1.447 billion in 2023, up from €1.225 billion in 2022. Metso's Planet Positive initiative helps customers cut their CO₂ emissions and achieve their other sustainability priorities, such as reducing pollution.


The Planet Positive portfolio already includes over 100 Metso products, and the company aims to have a Planet Positive product for every part of a customer's value chain. To achieve this, all Metso's R&D projects must have sustainability benefits, with a target of 80% of R&D spending on Planet Positive product and service offering development by 2030.

Markku Simula, Metso Aggregates president, says Metso is well positioned to meet evolving quarrying and recycling equipment market needs. Pic: Metso 


Simula stresses that some of Metso's new crushing and screening plant solutions are well-suited for recycling applications. "They are ideal for recycling concrete to recover good quality stones and sand that can easily be reused. There is also an even bigger potential long-term gain from recycling cement. Revitalising it for reuse would be hugely significant environmentally. There are 700kg of CO₂ emissions for just one tonne of cement. I did some rough calculations on this, and if you can recycle the cement with one of our plants, the carbon credits you receive would pay back the investment in the plant in just a couple of years."


Simula said the Metso Lokotrack EC Series range launch event had highlighted another key industry trend. "I've been having many conversations with customers, and many say that [machine operation] data is increasingly important to them. How we can create useful data for them that they can utilise will be increasingly important.


"One corporate customer told me that when their company had a big CO₂ reduction target, they found that by looking at their [machine operation] data, they could make their production 20% more efficient, which delivered practically the same in terms of  CO₂ reduction. Automation, digital tools, and data will give us benefits we don't realise today."

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