Our story

This is Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy, Part of Oilon Group Oy

Founded in 1983, Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy is one of the pioneers in the Finnish heat pump industry. These days, the company is a subsidiary of Oilon Group Oy. Oilon Group acquired the majority of the company’s shares in 2019. As a result of the transaction, the business activities associated with the Oilon and Lämpöässä brands were joined together. Today, both Oilon and Lämpöässä products are produced in the same facility in South Ostrobothnia and delivered for both domestic and export sales.

The company specializes in the design, production, and marketing of ground source heat pumps for single-family homes, terraced houses and apartment buildings, offices as well as for other kinds of properties and agricultural and industrial applications. The company’s domestic dealer network covers the entire Finland. International sales are handled by local distributors. Our products are universally marketed under the Oilon and Lämpöässä brand. Get a closer look at our history below.

Oilon offers the most extensive range of heat pumps in the market

The Oilon and Lämpöässä ground source heat pump offering includes solutions spanning from single-family units to systems for large properties. Beyond this, there are the Oilon ChillHeat industrial heat pumps which can produce up to 100 °C flow temperatures for district heating from sub-zero outdoor air, a feat not many heat pumps can accomplish.

Global warming is a megatrend that has increased the demand for Oilon technology around the world. Countries and power companies have ambitious goals for reducing CO2 emissions, which further increases the demand for heat pumps. To reduce their carbon footprint, industrial operators are looking for rational solutions for heating and cooling. Further reading: https://oilonlampoassa.fi/lampopumppu-on-merkittavin-ilmastotekosi-ja-kannattaa-myos-taloudellisesti/

60 years of Oilon in brief

From a garage to the top of the Finnish heat pump sector in 60 years

In the course of 60 years, Oilon has grown from a two-man garage operation into a global forerunner in clean energy technology with 370 employees across four continents. In 2020, Oilon’s turnover amounted to approximately EUR 70 million. The company offers some of the most advanced combustion and heat pump technology in the world. Read our anniversary article: https://oilon.com/en-gb/warmth-comes-from-the-heart/

Oilon’s story had its start in the suburbs, just like Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka. The company was founded in 1961 in a garage in Maunula, Helsinki. The founders were Urho Lehto, Sirkka Lehto, Jorma Manssila, Juhani Paatelainen and Keijo Oilio. Ossi Leiwo soon joined the team. Read more about the company history here: https://oilon.com/en-gb/oilons-history/

It didn’t take long for the company to move to Lahti. Oilon’s business idea was to design and manufacture heavy oil burners for heating buildings. “In those days, yards in Lahti were full of piles of firewood,” reminisces Ossi Leiwo, the company’s father figure in our anniversary article. Read the article here: https://oilon.com/en-gb/from-a-garage-to-a-global-pioneer/

Gradually, the piles of firewood disappeared, as oil replaced wood as the primary source of heating. The next step were light oil burners, which soon became the primary driver for Oilon’s growth. Initially, the company sold imported models, but due to quality problems, Oilon started making their own burners.

In 1965, Oilon exported the first burners to the Soviet Union. Next came Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Germany. Oil burners were soon joined by gas burners and, later, heat pumps.

Ossi Leiwo took over as the CEO in 1974. This was also the year when Oilon became a family business. Ossi ran the family business for 35 years, until his retirement in 2009. He was succeeded by his daughter, Päivi. Päivi served as the Chair of the Board until 2020, after which her husband Kjell Forsén took over.

When Oilon was founded in 1961, nobody had any notion of climate change. People used to think that the environment would clean itself. Today, in 2021, we know better, and Oilon is committed to being part of the solution. The company invests heavily in renewable energy technology and offers solutions for the climate problem with a range of products that allow customers to reduce their emissions without compromising the quality of life. Oilon heat pumps are part of the solution, reducing huge amounts of CO2 emissions every year. Clean energy technology is in high demand. Oilon started to make their own ground source heat pumps for households in 2002.

The history and story of Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy

1983 – Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy is established

The story of Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka begins with three men out of job. Jorma Saksi, Antero Mäkitalo and Timo Pihlajamäki had a technical background and, perhaps most importantly, strong faith in the future of ground source heating. Having previous production and maintenance experience of Geotherm-branded heat pumps provided a solid foundation to build on. This is another company that has its beginnings in a 12 square meter room – this time, in Jorma Saksi’s newly-built house in Lapua, Finland.

“We recognized that heat pumps were such clever gadgets that they must have an industrial-scale future as a heating option,” says Timo Pihlajamäki, one of the company’s three founders.

In its first year, the company sells around twenty heat pumps and spare parts and provides maintenance and servicing. Even though the first year is short of a full year, the company’s turnover amounts to 600,000 Finnish marks (approximately EUR 230,000 adjusted for inflation). For the trio, this is a very reasonable result.

The young entrepreneurs believe that besides their use as space heaters, heat pumps could be used as dehumidifiers. The first condensing dehumidifier is built at Jorma Saksi’s home and sold to an apartment building in Seinäjoki, where it serves in the building’s laundry drying room. The company continues to make dehumidifiers well into the future. The sales are low from the start, but even a small order volume is an important complement to the company’s sales.

In the fall of the first year, the company makes a big sale that will have a major impact for years to come. The Town of Lapua intends to build a new school in the village of Ruha, and awards Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka with a contract for a ground source heating system. This is the first educational building in Finland to get its heating energy from the ground. The Ruha ground source heating system has enough capacity to provide heating for ten single-family homes.

In 1984, the company moves to a larger 170 m2 production space. This is a quiet period for the company, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel: in the fall of 1984, the Ruha school ground source heating system is commissioned. The Town of Lapua launches a year-long program for monitoring the building’s coefficient of performance with weekly visits from the town engineer for taking measurements. The young entrepreneurs have faith in their products and believe that this COP program will eventually boost sales, but they would still have to wait for a year for the results.

1985 – Own production facilities and more publicity

The company had reached a turning point and decided to build their own production facility. The first phase, the construction of a 500 m2 production hall, is completed in 1985. Naturally, the company decides to use ground source heat pumps for heating.

This is one of the first industrial buildings to utilize ground source heating, a solution that would later become very popular among industrial operators. There are some hurdles to overcome; the plot is in an area designated for district heating, and obtaining a permit for using ground source heat pumps instead requires some talks with municipal authorities. At the end, the permit is granted.

In the fall of 1985, around the time construction starts, the Ruha school COP monitoring program, which started in the previous year, is finally finished. The results are published in a press conference, with excellent attendance by the press. For Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka and the company’s products, the results are very flattering. Town of Lapua’s chief executive praises the Ruha school ground source heating system for its excellent coefficient of performance. Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka receives its first dose of nation-wide publicity, a precious asset for a newly founded company.

“The results from COP monitoring served as an excellent foundation for marketing our ground source heating solution, and we continued to use the Ruha school project as a reference in our sales activities for years to come,” Antero Mäkitalo says.

Moving to its own, fully owned production facilities is a big evolutionary step for the company. This is a period of strong positive development. The company’s initial growth targets have finally materialized into something that the world can see and appreciate. For the trio, after years of hard work and numerous obstacles to overcome, this accomplishment is naturally rewarding.

The Ruha school project shows just how important publicity is for marketing. The company needs visibility, and in the following year, the company takes the next step along this path by attending in a local trade fair. As an experiment, Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka will have their own stand for showcasing their products. The company makes a positive impact and, as a result, decides to gradually develop their exhibition activities.

1986 – Heat pump sales and special products

The company introduces another specialty product to sell alongside its condensing dehumidifiers: a heat pump package specifically developed for fish farms. The package includes a heat pump and three heat exchangers. The system allows fish tanks to be heated at a low cost, increasing the reproduction of fish and speeding up fish growth.

This special product is first showcased at a fish fair in Kuusamo, Finland. The product is a hit with high strong initial sales. Each system is built around a high-capacity heat pump, and in the following years, there is enough cash flow from the new product to cover the bulk of the new production plant’s building costs.

1986 also happens to be the first year for the company to share a booth with a borehole drilling company at a construction fair. Already at this stage, boreholes turn out to be a good solution for ground loop installation, even tough this becomes a popular option only much later.

With the inauguration of new facilities, the company’s number of personnel increases to six, and its turnover surpasses 1.7 million marks (approximately EUR 560,000, adjusted for inflation). Orders keep coming in, keeping everyone busy.

1991 – First exports

The company reaches an agreement with trading company Fexima Oy, with the purpose of selling heat pump packages to fisheries in Russia. A lot of work goes into minimizing the risks of export sales. The effort pays off, and the company manages to start exports without any problems.

1992 – Shift in the attitude towards ground source heating

The public remains largely unaware of the benefits of ground source heating. People find it hard to believe that frozen, cold earth can provide enough energy to heat up an entire house. On the other hand, those who have heard about the technology think that ground source heat pumps are a thing of the past.

“Whenever we attended a trade show, every now and then a visitor would pass by and remark that oh, are these still a thing. It was frustrating,” Antero Mäkitalo reminisces.

After years of reactionary attitudes towards ground source heating, there is finally a glimpse of promise in Mäntsälä. This is the first year the company attends the Finnish Housing Fair. It’s a big hit. One of the single-family homes built on the fair grounds features a ground source heating system supplied by Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka.

Upstairs, heating is provided by an underfloor pipe coil with fluid circulating inside. This new method of distributing heat through the floor further increases the interest in ground source technology. For display purposes, the underfloor heating pipes are left uncovered.

Visitors are eager to know more, and the demand takes the company by surprise. Many of those interested in ground source heating leave their contact details, and, after the fair, the company has a long list of names on their hands. The list proves to be a useful tool for direct sales for a long time, supplementing sales made through dealers.yyjien kautta, myös suorilla kontakteilla ostajiin.

1996 – Environmental values take the stage

As the years go by, the media starts to take an increasing interest in environmental issues. From the outset, ground source heat pumps have stood as the winners of this trend. For years, Suomen Lämpöpumppu has showcased the ways with which renewable solar energy stored in the ground can be utilized. It is only now that the message starts to gain traction among both developers and private clients.

“On the other hand, new competitors appeared in the marketplace, and it looked likely that competition would increase over the next few years. It was high time to start reinforcing our position; this would allow us to stay ahead and exploit the growth in the sector by increasing our production,” Jorma Saksi says.

The change starts with a strong commitment to product development. Being the most prominent heat pump supplier in Finland, Suomen Lämpöpumppu is invited to participate in the RAKET initiative, a nationwide research project focusing on the use of energy in buildings. The company’s goal for the project is to develop a better ground source heat pump and heating system. Many major players are involved in the initiative, such as VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology (TTKK), power company Imatran Voima, Danfoss Oy and Akvaterm Oy.

Immediately after the RAKET initiative is complete, the company starts their own extensive research and development project. The partners from the RAKET project continue on board, and additional funding is received from National Technology Agency (TEKES).

In addition to this major project, the company is involved in various other development initiatives. In another project, TTKK conducts measurements on the coefficients of performance for different heat pumps. Of the heat pumps compared, the monovalent Lämpöässä ground source heat pump developed by Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka turns out to be the best. After years of middling sales, this result gives a welcome boost, pushing the company’s turnover up to 3.6 million Finnish marks (approximately EUR 450,000 adjusted for inflation). In 1998, the company’s business continues to grow at an even higher rate, and the turnover is nearly doubled.

1998 – Finnish Heat Pump Association SULPU is foundedPU) perustamassa

The ever-increasing popularity of ground source heating and the superb growth expectations in the field foster the idea of establishing an association that would promote the sales of ground source heating and heat pumps. Suomen Lämpöpumppu participates in the initiative from the start, becoming one of the founding members of Finnish Heat Pump Association SULPU. The association is off to a good start. Membership grows rapidly; the association attracts not only heat pump manufacturers, but also importers and well boring companies. The association’s mission is to advance the heat pump industry overall.

1999 marks the first year that Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka brings in a CEO from outside the company. Juhani Malkamäki takes charge of the company and, with Malkamäki in the lead, the company develops a new strategy with ambitious growth targets. Implementation starts with an extensive product development and design project. It is decided that the company will focus on monovalent heat pumps, where the heat extracted from the ground is utilized as efficiently as possible.

The company moves into a new facility and quickly doubles the number of employees. Company turnover is doubled yet again. In exports, the future looks bright.

2001 – Long period of strong growth before change in ownership

The company’s turnover continues to grow. Others start to take notice of the purpose and determination with which the company develops their business. In the fall of 2000, Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka is awarded with a regional business award as a recognition of their success.

The company drives development with further reforms and reorganizations. Through networking, the company starts to delegate part of the production to subcontractors. From this point on, the company’s own production facilities will be reserved for assembly and product development. As the company continues to grow very rapidly and with such great prospects ahead, the company soon outgrows their production facilities.

In June 2000, Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka strikes a deal for a new production space. The Town of Lapua sees that the company is on the verge of very promising growth and supports this momentum by buying the company’s old factory.

Being able to move into a new facility enables further growth. The company hires new employees and reorganizes its operations. As a result of the increased growth, the company decides to let their dealer network take over heat pump sales. The company revamps their management system and assigns clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each department.

In November 2002, the company receives further recognition, as the Town of Lapua presents Antero Mäkitalo, Jorma Saksi and Juhani Malkamäki with traditional bear claws for their contribution to the town’s business life. “After years of hard work, it felt great to receive recognition. “We had been working towards our dream of success for twenty years, often having to tighten our belts and work long hours,” Jorma Saksi and Antero Mäkitalo reminisce.

2019 – Oilon Group Oy acquires a majority holding in Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy

In 2019, Oilon Group acquires a majority holding in the company. At the same time, the business activities associated with the Oilon and Lämpöässä brands are joined together. Both businesses will be managed from Oilon’s headquarters in Lahti, while the heat pumps will be produced in Lapua. Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka’s production facilities receive an upgrade. Both brands’ heat pumps start to be produced under the same roof.

This corporate arrangement supports the strong growth of Oilon’s heat pump business, which goes back to 1984 and the company’s first industrial heat pumps. Household heat pumps have been part of the Oilon portfolio since 2002. Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy is a leading manufacturer of ground-source heat pumps in Finland and has been an industry pioneer since 1983.

As a result of the transaction, Suomen Lämpöpumpputekniikka Oy, part of Oilon Group, becomes the largest heat pump manufacturer in terms of the number of heat pumps already installed, for example. Already at the start of 2020, as many as 50,000 Oilon and Lämpöässä heat pumps had been installed, the oldest of which are about to turn 40. We know the land have a firm grasp of technology. Ground source heating is the right way forward.