Lauri Vähälä Oy: The V-Slider now also transports stilted cargo compartments


The V-Slider, which operates hydraulically and couples to semi-trailers, is developing in to an even more diverse tool. At the beginning of this year, the first V-Sliders first equipped with tailgate lifts and Vähälä Oy’s stilted cargo compartment sliders were produced at VAK.

VAK’s closed V-Sliders have already been used at Lauri Vähälä Oy for some time for the transportation of general cargo and groceries. However, since the company’s operations are mainly based on interchangeable cargo compartments, in which case the idea of a V-Slider that could also be used to change a stilted cargo compartment emerged. Thus, there would be access to a tool, which could be used to transport very diverse cargo, both between terminals and directly to customers.

“We began to draft a stilted cargo compartment slider, and we showed the draft to Lassi Virtanen. We were already previously aware that VAK has a superior design department and strong production, which is capable of producing complete products in accordance with our needs. It was only a few months after the first design meeting, that we were able to deploy the stilted cargo compartment slider,” says Ari Karjalainen, Vähälä Oy’s Procurement Manager.

The new cargo compartment slider allows for a 76-tonne articulated vehicle, where the weight of the load is evenly distributed throughout the length of the articulated vehicle. Karjalainen estimates that in case of certain transports, such an articulated vehicle produces advantages for its users.

“The V-Slider that transports stilted cargo compartments allows us to combine the production of trailer and semi-trailer combinations in a completely new way. The first trailer has now been in use for a few weeks, and we have been very satisfied with it.”

Innovators succeed

The structure of the customised stilted cargo compartment slider is an applied version of the standard V-Slider. The chassis runs through VAK’s production with other slider chassis, and even servicing it takes place in a familiar manner. Lassi Virtanen promises a service life of more than ten years for the V-Slider, if it is serviced well.

VAK Huoltopalvelut Oy’s nationwide network is previously familiar to Lauri Vähälä Oy’s drivers.

“We operate as part of the Schenker network throughout Finland. Our own terminals are located in Jyväskylä, Oulu, Ylivieska, Rovaniemi and Kemi. Thus, we operate on Finland’s longest consecutive connection routes, and for this reason a branded maintenance network is an important service for us,” states Ari Karjalainen.

As a family business, Vähälä-Yhtiöt prefer to recommend other domestic family businesses, such as VAK. Vähälä-Yhtiöt is celebrating their anniversary: the company shall be 80 years this year. Family businesses are aware that only innovators and unprejudiced developers within the industry will make it in the highly-competitive logistics industry, where customers’ needs constantly change.

“Competition advantage must be sought in even the slightest differences. Therefore, we seek and develop tools and innovations that are even more customised for the work duties, which best serve our business operations. In this work, VAK is an excellent partner, because customisation and customer-specific products are VAK’s speciality,” praises Ari Karjalainen, Vähälä Oy’s Procurement Manager.