Ville Nurminen is well-known in the BEWiSynbra family with his team in Porvoo and Etten-Leur where he leads the Research and Development department.
20 years ago, Ville graduated as a chemical engineer with a masters in technology from Lappeenranta university. He did his master thesis on thermoplastic elastomer. It was his introduction to the polymer business.
Ville started his carrier with the company in 2003 as R&D engineer but soon became a pilot hall manager, responsible for pilot activities and production scale trials.
In 2007 and 2008 he spent two periods as a plant manager in our former Kokemäki plant. It was roughly equal size to the Porvoo factory back then, with a capacity of 60,000 tons of EPS. When the plant closed in 2009 Ville came back to Porvoo to work as a Research and development manager.
What has happed in the development of EPS during the time you worked here?
EPS is basically the same as it was when it was introduced in the 1950’s. However, there have been a lot of changes in production and we’ve become constantly more and more cost-efficient. We aim to minimize delays in production and try hard to optimize all the small details. All factors combined this makes the product quality much higher now compared to when I started in 2003.
Also, the introduction of Grey EPS has been a big change. Even though it existed back in 2003 it has become a commodity that is used everywhere now.
But the biggest change, of course, is the focus on the environment. One of the first projects I was involved in 2003 was the development of low pentane grade that would decrease the pentane emissions into the atmosphere. It was the first step towards sustainability and taking responsibility for the environment. Still, it was quite small compared to now.
Does EPS have a future?
EPS is a perfect product in many applications. In floor insulation, to give an example, it is the best in the market, most cost-efficient, really good insulation and great compression properties.
There is nothing else with the same properties at the same price. And in environmental terms – if you are using fossil raw materials it is like the mining industry. You take something out of the ground and put it back in a different form. In that stage, you have consumed only energy. The big question is what do you do with the material after it becomes waste. If it is recycled and handled in the right way, then I would say that EPS has a long future.
What do you like the most about your work?
Chemistry is wonderful. If you think about what happens in chemical reactions and processes it’s amazing. My job description is really wide and I have quite big freedom in my work. Mostly I lead my R&D team or other working groups and try to get them to develop new products, improve processes and be more cost-efficient. Hopefully, I’m able to give also my contribution to projects. Moreover, exhibitions, conferences and customer events are more and more important in my daily work. I have become one of the public faces to represent BEWiSynbra RAW and the whole BEWi group. That’s really hard work. I have to be sharp and focused all the time and remember that I’m at work pretty much immediately after I step out from my home door.