Katko Oy is a Finnish family-owned company that exports most of its products. The company's history reaches back over 70 years. The company's core business was then repairing car engines. Its current business got its start in a rather interesting way in 1946. The Ministry of Supply asked Katko to manufacture load breaking switches. There was a need for the product, but no manufacturers. Katko Oy set out to develop its own switch products from a blank slate.
The demand for a new safety switch that can withstand high temperatures was created by smoke extractor fans. During a fire, smoke extraction must remain functional and receive electrical power as long as required. The need for this kind of product originated in the Middle East, but now the new product has entered the domestic market, too, for example the smoke extraction systems of Länsimetro.
Katko Oy and VTT Expert Service started cooperating years ago. VTT Expert Services was chosen as the tester of this product, too, because performing tests with an already familiar organisation was a natural continuation to the cooperation.
Testing included in the product development
When designing a new product, Katko Oy's product development faces the challenge of finding a suitable plastic material and structure for the product so that it can withstand high temperatures. VTT Expert Services participated by developing testing procedures for the product that allowed Katko to ensure that the temperature requirements would be met already in the product development phase.
VTT Expert Services and Katko jointly created a testing procedure based on the smoke extractor fan product standard EN 12101-3. The purpose was to base the product requirements on the requirements set for category F smoke extractor fans. The objective for the new product was 300 ºC heat endurance and suitability for installation with category F300 smoke extractor fans. Heat endurance in conditions matching category F300 was verified in a test oven.
The tests allowed Katko Oy to ensure that the correct choices were made during design work before the product was taken into production, and there were no surprises during the final tests leading to the approval of the products. The heat endurance of the switch was ensured through the special high temperature test.