Valtra, the Finnish tractor manufacturer, recently held a press event in Suolahti, Finland to unveil its new S Series tractor models. However, the focus of the event was not just on the new tractors, but also on Valtra’s recent moves to secure its future as a key part of AGCO’s strategy. The company has made significant investments in its production line, including a €1 million investment and the commissioning of a new paint shop. These investments have led to the creation of 200 new manufacturing jobs at the Suolahti plant.
Valtra’s expansion and the transfer of production from France to Finland have been celebrated in the local papers, highlighting the positive impact on the community and the company’s commitment to Finnish manufacturing. With all Valtra tractors (except the A series) now being built at the Suolahti plant, the brand can proudly claim to reflect the Nordic character and the happiness of Finland, which is rated as the happiest country on earth.
The excess capacity being built into the production plant is seen as a vote of confidence in Valtra and has been welcomed by the local community. In addition to the new jobs in production, Valtra has expanded its design and engineering teams, which are currently outgrowing their office space in nearby Jyvaskyla. The company plans to move these teams to a historic building that was once a cannon factory and later housed the Valmet tractor-manufacturing company in the 1950s. This move will mark a full circle for Valtra as it returns to its birthplace.
The debate over alternative fuels for tractors has evolved beyond simply replacing internal combustion engines with electric motors. Kelvin Bennet, AGCO’s vice president of engineering, explains that the off-road environment and current battery technology make electric tractors impractical. He believes that any new system of delivering and storing energy for tractors would require a completely new infrastructure. Farmers also face the challenge of replacing their entire fleet of vehicles, including tractors, harvesters, and cars, if they were to switch to an alternative fuel. Bennet suggests that liquid fuels will continue to be the primary choice for tractors, and the core engine design allows for easy adaptation to burn different energy-carrying liquids.
AGCO has plans to unveil new ideas and concepts involving its new engine family at the Agritechnica exhibition in November. While the company has not revealed specific details, it promises to showcase innovations in engine displacements and provide insights into its future plans. Overall, Valtra’s recent developments and investments demonstrate its commitment to engineering and manufacturing excellence, as well as its role in shaping the future of the agricultural industry.