JK’s lighter and stronger containers maximize payload
In 2001, ZPUH JK Milosz Kiedrowski, a container manufacturer located in northern Poland, started to closely collaborate with the Swedish company ILAB Container AB, thus gaining access to the Scandinavian market. By 2008, when JK launched the production of light containers made from high-strength steel, the company needed a new steel supplier. For JK, the obvious choice was SSAB.
JK’s production facilities are situated in the middle of a serene landscape in northern Poland. In five huge, modern halls, six-meter-long steel sheets from SSAB are transformed into light containers through a process of cutting, bending, welding, blasting and painting. Next, they are transported over the Baltic Sea to Scandinavia, where they are used mainly for the collecting, transporting and recycling of waste.
From the very beginning, it was clear to the management of JK that the steel they used must be produced by SSAB due to its superior quality and because a majority of Scandinavian customers expected containers made from SSAB steel.
“The plates are thinner and weight less. We use nearly 100% of the plates in order to keep the price the same as that of a standard container.”
The initial challenges in the collaboration between ILAB and JK was understanding the new material and learning how to take advantage of all their benefits and building the containers properly. From the start, SSAB specialists were on hand to provide excellent support and assistance.
The main steel grades that JK buys from SSAB are Strenx™ 700 CR, Strenx™ 700 MC, Hardox® 400 and Hardox® 450. In order to handle the new steel grades, JK purchased state-of-the-art machines for cutting and bending, as well as new welding trucks. Some of the trucks are semi-automated.
Scandinavian customers quickly realized the benefits of the new containers. They are lighter and stronger than the other makes and can take up to one tonne more per load. Along with their more streamlined shape, they offer fuel savings during transportation of around 14%. Thus the profits are both environmental and financial.
Today 90% of all containers manufactured by JK for the Scandinavian market are light containers made from SSAB high-strength steel. The Polish company is also a member of the two SSAB customer programs: Hardox® In My Body and My Inner Strenx™.
For JK, the idea had always been to sell new light containers for the same price as the traditionally heavier ones. And it worked out well: the high-strength steel is slightly more costly but on the other hand less steel is needed to build a container and involves a simplified production process.
CEO and owner Milosz Kiedrowski had been with the company for five years, when his father, Janusz Kiedrowski, who established the company in 1988, unexpectedly passed away in 2016. After the tragedy, he had to take over leadership of the company immediately.
He has managed well. Production has risen from 11,000 containers in 2015 to 15,500 in 2017, but still cannot keep pace with demand from both Polish and foreign customers.
About ZPUH JK Milosz Kiedrowski
CEO and owner: Milosz Kiedrowski
Location: Byslaw, northern Poland
Number of employees: 580
Turnover in 2017: PLN 150 mln (EUR 36 mln)
Main products: Various sizes of containers. Ninety per cent of all big containers are light containers made from high-strength steel manufactured by SSAB.
Main grades of SSAB steel: Strenx 700 CR, Strenx 700 MC, Hardox 400 and Hardox 450.