Sofi Filtration, which was established in 2011, has developed a water filtration technology that is extremely precise. Sofi Filter, the company's main product, is an industrial water filter that is capable of treating large water streams from the process industry. The solution is based on the innovation by its founding member Pertti Rantala. With the help of it, it is possible to separate suspended solids from process and waste water faster and more accurately than before.
The company's core clients can be found in the mining, enrichment and metallurgic industries. Among the largest potential market areas for the product are traditional mining countries and China. Also other industrial sectors, for example the oil industry in Canada, use a lot of production methods that are water intensive.
– Even though we focus particularly on the mining and metallurgic industries, the product interests other sectors also. In Canada, for example, we have had discussions with companies operating in the oil and gas sectors. However, our first international contact took place in Germany, where our technology aroused the attention of the car industry. So there are growth opportunities in many directions, estimates Ville Hakala, Sales Manager of Sofi Filtration.
Self-cleaning filter keeps the processes going
With Sofi Filter, water is treated so efficiently that production plants can recycle their process waters. This speeds up the plants' processes and provides for them opportunities for significant economic savings.
– Usually, suspended solids are filtered by settling, for example in settling basins, but in spite of that the finest part is not treated. One of the trump cards of our method is the very small separation size, 0.2–20 microns. A typical separation size of the competing solutions is around 40–50 microns. The filtration complies with the requirements of even very strict environmental legislation, as its end result is clear water free of suspended solids, Ville Hakala explains.
Sofi Filter, having a simple structure, is durable and economic for the client to use. The size of the filter is sufficiently small to make it easily a part of a company's existing process.
– Other companies offer bag or cartridge type filters for the same purpose. Our solution is an automatic micron-level filter, which is self-cleaning and maintenance free. The client benefits, as there is no need to stop the production process for the maintenance of filters. The supervision and monitoring of the product can also be managed from a distant office, Hakala orients the listener.
Tekes funding secured product development
Sofi Filtration has three full-time employees, and the company's turnover in 2013 was about € 100,000. Ville Hakala explains that the years 2011–2012 were spent exclusively on product development.
– Our innovation has been developed to a product with the help of a Tekes product development loan and private funding. Without Tekes's funding instruments, a small company would not be able to put such a strong effort on research and development, Hakala expresses his gratitude.
The company has received help also from Finpro for client segmentation and value proposition, as well as agents to open up international channels.
– Sofi Filtration is a so-called "born global" company, but the recently-established company's own resources might not be sufficient to embark, alone, on internationalization. Now the conditions are much better for that, Ville Hakala points out.
Sales Manager Ville Hakala
Sofi Filtration Oy
tel. 040 704 9290
***Source: Finpro InFront 4/2012
Author: Jukka Holopainen, Pohjoisranta Burson-Marsteller