80 years of sealing: Digitization and modernization of production propelled international growth

Matti Arpiainen. Image: TT Gaskets

The family business torch was passed from Jussi Arpiainen to the next generation in the 1980s. Matti Arpiainen’s strengths in developing the company included precise financial management, modernization of production technology, and maintaining high and consistent product quality. Additionally, he introduced the concept of professional leadership, along with bold, far-sighted investments and export efforts.

By the time the 1980s arrived, the production of archive folders had evolved into a strong pillar for Tampereen Tiviisteteollisuus (now TT Gaskets), alongside the production of gaskets plus, disc and wire presses. Having become CEO of the company in 1987, Matti Arpiainen initially oversaw our folder production line and focused on developing production and marketing strategies. With a keen sense for financial aspects, Matti demonstrated mastery in managing economic risks. The factory, relocated to Janka, was rapidly modernized. The purchased piece of land included an expansion possibility adjacent to the main factory, which proved to be a justified act of foresight.

In a changing world, challenges were inevitable. In 1985, a severe fire destroyed finished products and raw materials. Fortunately, customers understood the force majeure situation, and new products were eventually sent out. Threats also emerged from the outside. The Swedish Esselte Group acquired folder factories across Europe and made a takeover bid for the Tampere facility. After careful consideration, the long-planned sale was eventually completed in 1987, shifting the company’s focus solely to gasket manufacturing. Our range of services later expanded to include design and testing.

Thriving exports through persistent legwork

Significant investments in production technology began at the turn of the 1990s. Digitalization became a part of the production process, reducing waste and leading to significant savings in production costs. Efforts were dedicated to exports, with Matti traveling as a sales representative across Europe.

The investments continued in the 2000s. Our production focus shifted to metal gaskets, supported by the acquisition of two large laser cutters and a high-capacity CNC lathe. The waterjet cutting environment was modernized with a new abrasive cutter.

The 2000s introduced new demands for working comfort: ergonomic improvements were made through specialized physiotherapist services, and fiber connections enhanced data transfer. New facilities and extensive renovations of existing spaces created a more pleasant work environment. We elevated our factory’s working conditions to a high level in line with the OHSAS 18001 certification, prioritizing employee health and safety. The principle of continuously adapting to changing needs and requirements for working conditions has always been a guiding factor in our company.

Image: Jukka Jokinen

Building upon the ISO 9001 quality certification achieved in 1998, we continued to advance our technical and operational quality, fostering a new level of trust with our customers. A few years later, we obtained the ISO 14001 environmental certification alongside the quality certification, enhancing our commitment to environmental responsibility. In 2016, we were honored to be chosen as the subcontractor of the year, recognizing our dedication and contributions.

Matti Arpiainen often said that ”a wise man wears both a belt and suspenders”.

Source: Kalle Mäkelä. Tiiviisti ajassaan – Tampereen Tiivisteteollisuus Oy 1943–2018.

Read from the next part of our history series how we plan to tackle the challenges of the future!