Bruno Valo, the founder of Valon Kone, couldn’t speak any foreign languages and had a limited education, but he was a technically skilled village blacksmith who developed innovative technical solutions for all sorts of problems. Besides debarkers, he designed and built various machines from snowmobiles to wood-gas generators for automobiles. Bruno also had very good business acumen, and he started the industrial-scale manufacture of VK debarkers in 1949.
The ”forefather of all VK debarkers” the VALO, was introduced. It was the first continuous operating debarker of Valon Kone.
Systematic product development of VK rotor debarkers began with the VK16ST as the first model. There was global interest in the machine, from South Africa to the Soviet Union, and it became the world’s best-selling debarker in the 1950s.
In the same decade, the cutter debarker VEIKKO was invented. It was the first product designed and manufactured from beginning to end by Valon Kone.
More than 100 VK debarkers were installed by the end of the 1950s.
VK saw further growth and became an international trademark. The export of VK debarkers began, with sales in Sweden, Germany, South America and Eastern Europe.
The building of a sales network was started, which meant that the small machine shop grew into a medium-sized engineering works.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviet Union became a significant export market.
Valon Kone stopped manufacturing conveyor solutions and focused fully on developing and manufacturing rotor log debarkers.
Valon Kone expanded to North America, Japan, Brazil, Asia and Oceania.
The first VK debarker for the debarking of eucalyptus, and a new generation series for high speed debarking (VK450, VK600 and VK800) was introduced.
As early as 1973 Valon Kone was awarded a prize for export achievements - among other Finnish companies - from the President of Finland.
A new modern industrial plant was built in Lohja.
The worldwide sales network was strengthened and new offices were established in Sweden and Germany, among other places. Operations in North America were expanded further by the acquisition and Valon Kone Brunette was then established.
New products were developed, such as a centring infeed conveyor and a lift ring debarker for the debarking of large logs.
Valon Kone launched a new debarker concept onto the market, where two or three rotors are installed in one machine frame (the Combi-concept). This new concept quickly became a great success. An essential part of this concept was butt-end reducing linked with debarking.
Valon Kone started a massive investment program to automatise the plant in Lohja, Finland. For example, fully automatic turning and machining centers were installed in the plant to operate together with an automatic lifting system.
VK was the first European manufacturer to bring pneumatically operating Air Seal debarking rotors to the market. Marketing began in North America, where new VK debarkers were sold under the Kodiak trademark.
A new cutter rotor debarker for the debarking of cedar was developed, primarily for the Japanese market.
A new office was established in Singapore to better serve the growing markets in Asia.
VK started to build an agent network in the Baltic countries and Poland. In the newly independent countries that had broken free of the Soviet Union, a new wood-processing industry started to grow, which meant business for VK.
By the end of the decade Valon Kone had grown to be the world largest manufacturer of rotor debarkers; over 5,000 machines had been sold worldwide.
Russia’s trade revived quickly after a quiet decade and Valon Kone was again actively involved in delivering machines to Finland’s eastern neighbor. By the mid 2000s Russia was established as one of the most important export areas.
Feed speeds increased and Valon Kone developed new, stronger VK infeed conveyor models – the VK52 and VK72.
The sales and service network was expanded and a new office was established in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The new VK5000 and VK8000 machine series started a new page in VK’s debarker history. For the first time, Valon Kone introduced completely modularised machine frames, which were designed to draw attention to improved manufacturing processes and usability.
A new office was established in Spokane, the USA.