In 1973, Antti Nelimarkka, the creative engineer behind Neles range of valves, came up with an idea that was fine-tuned until production commenced in 1975. For the valves to be more reliable in demanding conditions and applications, Nelimarkka thought of using a metallic seat ring instead of a rubber one—and the game-changer was born.
At first, factory workers wondered what that metal thing was all about, but the increasing demand quickly indicated the value of the innovation. NeldiscTM was the first triple eccentric metal seated butterfly valve in the world and was to become the norm in the industry.
Kalle Suurpää, Vice President, Valve Controls, discusses past and future innovations in flow control.
"Without a doubt, our valve product portfolio is built on remarkable innovations. It is not a coincidence that Neles is known for its quality products. Our in-depth knowledge of industry and applications combined with our offering of valves, actuators and valve controllers allows us to innovate not only in mechanical valve features, but also in advanced digital diagnostic features. We have developed automation since the 1990s, diagnostics and connectivity especially in the 2000s, and now we are reaching to industry 4.0 with the latest digital tools and technologies.
Our history is based on valve innovations, but as the opportunities and need for intelligent solutions grew, we were at the forefront of developing those also. The latest innovation in digital solutions is the Neles NDX, which brings digital valve controllers to the next level, continuing the great success of the Neles ND9000. Further, digitalization enables more efficient data exchange between Neles and our customers. Opportunities with new technologies, such as 3D-printing, allow us to also go back to the core of our products.
The atmosphere of innovation will take us to new areas of operation
We like to take into consideration the full scale of innovation opportunities, ranging from new product features and digitalization to product quality and reliability as well as ease of manufacturing. After all, for an innovation to born, there needs to be a new point of view, just like Antti Nelimarkka had.
The atmosphere in Neles is highly innovative and the work on innovation is growing. Within the company, we have organization-wide collaboration to share the best practices and tools. We also work closely with universities and research institutes, which has offered us another chance to focus on different angles of product development. Material research is one such example.
In 10 years, I am certain that Neles will still be recognized for its high-quality products and solutions that best meet the customers' needs. Our roots are in pulp and paper applications, but we have grown to be a major player also in the oil and gas and other process industries, and I think we will continue to broaden the number of industries and applications we serve, similar to today."
Text originally published in 2019, and slightly updated in April 2022, due to the company name change to Valmet.