Innovation: Aluminium lighting columns developed through collaboration22/11/2023
Modern lighting columns, which appear to be a combination of steel and wood, illuminate the roads and pedestrian walkways in Loviisa’s Housing Fair area. However, the material that looks like oak is actually aluminium.
Lighting columns made of galvanised steel or wood are a familiar sight in Finland. Sähkö-Jokinen Oy, a company specialising in the development and manufacture of outdoor lighting products, wanted to bring something new to the traditional products: a pattern-coated steel column that would be both durable and attractive.
“We had taken a liking to Decoral and wanted to finish our new column model with this solution. We started discussing the solution with Mäkelä Alu years ago,” says Ville Nieminen, Sales Director at Sähkö-Jokinen Oy.
“We came up with some solutions that could work, but the Decoral coating is not the best and most cost-effective solution for use with steel. However, the customer was determined to use Decoral,” says Mäkelä Alu’s Sales Specialist Janne Kohonen.
“We then asked if the column profile could be made of aluminium. This was the starting point for the development of column models made from aluminium profiles,” he adds.
A solution developed together with the customer
The lighting contract for the Loviisa Housing Fair area was awarded to Sähkö-Jokinen through a public tender organised by the City of Loviisa.
“Their aim was to build an attractive area featuring wood or a similar material. They also had an idea of the colours they wanted for the area. Together with Janne, we started to plan possible solutions. We drew sketches, thought about materials, and specified dimensions. In the end, we came up with the solution we set out to offer,” says Ville Nieminen.
The smaller columns illuminating the pedestrian walkways in the area are made entirely of aluminium and are also coated with Decoral.
“If you look at urban areas and coastal roads, for example, there are a lot of stress factors such as humid, salty sea air, traffic, exhaust fumes, and dogs, all of which contribute to the performance of the coatings and appearance of the columns. The materials and solutions must be of the highest quality to withstand the stresses and strains of the outdoors,” says Ville Nieminen.
Aluminium: A sustainable and environmentally friendly choice
Wood is a traditional material for lighting columns, but its life-cycle cost is often higher than that of other materials.
“In public buildings, the best solution is to use weather-resistant materials that are virtually maintenance-free. This frees up resources for maintenance. Aluminium is an excellent material for these applications,” says Ville Nieminen.
Lighting columns made of aluminium have had a bad reputation in Finland due to the common assumption that aluminium is not durable. In the past, the best solutions were not available, but alloys, techniques and knowledge have evolved considerably since the 1970s or 1980s.
“Aluminium is used in the manufacture of lighting columns in other Nordic countries as well,” says Janne Kohonen.
“Mäkelä Alu has extensive expertise in aluminium products. They have found alloys that are sure to last on lighting columns. We have a great deal of confidence in the use of aluminium in these products,” says Ville Nieminen.
Both companies strongly believe in this joint innovation and look forward to continuing the cooperation.
“We plan to expand this into a product family in the near future,” says Ville Nieminen, contemplating Sähkö-Jokinen’s future plans.
INFO Sähkö-Jokinen Oy
- 55-year-old family business in Noormarkku, Pori
- 26 employees
- Exports around 20% of turnover, mainly to the Nordic countries, England, and the Baltic countries
- Notable innovations, including collision-resistant KAPU® poles, which either bring vehicles to a stop in a controlled manner or give way to vehicles safely in the event of a collision.