The story of Woikoski began in 1882 when Knut August Palmberg, a young Finnish engineer, set up a carbon black factory at Koivuniemi, in Vehkalahti.
In 1888, as the demand for carbon black increased, Knut August purchased a plot of land with access to water in Tirva. A flourishing community grew around the factory, with a sawmill, a planing mill, the carbon black factory, a railway, workshops and housing for workers.
Knut August's son Bertil Palmberg came up with the idea of establishing a chemical factory in Tirva. The factory produced stearine and tallow for the candle and soap industries. The hydrogen required for hydrogenation of fats was produced by decomposing water into hydrogen and oxygen in electrolytic cells. Gases had previously needed to be imported to Finland, and they therefore soon became the factory's main item.
When the hydropower generated by the rapids at Tirva could no longer meet the needs of the growing gas production, Bertil decided to transfer the chemical factory to Voikoski in Mäntyharju. There, the factory started off with the same production programme as Tirva, manufacturing hydrogen and oxygen and hydrogenating fats.
In 1933, the first air separation plant was launched in Voikoski, using a distillation method to produce oxygen. Four years later, the first hydrogen peroxide factory in the Nordic countries also started operations. When production began in Voikoski, the triumphant advance of the gas industry had begun.
In the 1940s, Bertil’s son Sven Palmberg took over as Managing Director. Sven guided the company successfully through recession, war and the huge changes of the 1950s and 1960s. During this period, Woikoski built an air separation plant in Imatra, oxygen filling stations in Varkaus and Kotka, and a hydrogen facility in Espoo.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the family business managed to stave off takeover threats by a competitor. In 1977, Clas Palmberg took the helm as Managing Director and has since turned Woikoski into a provider of overall solutions in the gas sector.
We have continued to make strong progress in the 2000s. An air gas production plant and a hydrogen facility were built in Kokkola between 2013 and 2014. At the same time, Woikoski was building a hydrogen-based society for which Finland was not yet ready. In 2015, a filling station for special gas mixtures was built in Voikoski. Woikoski was awarded the Key Flag symbol in 2016 and the ISO 9001 quality certificate in 2017. Today, Woikoski is an innovative, forward-looking company and a reliable partner to many firms.