In the 1960s VTT grew to become Finland’s biggest research institute. By the mid-1960s there were already 26 laboratories staffed by a total of more than 400 research scientists. It was not until the Finnish economy started to internationalise and develop rapidly that the importance of technical research was more widely appreciated.
New sawmill technique saves wood and improves the finish of sawn timber
The need for further development was noticed in the sawmilling industry among others. The sawmilling techniques being used in Finland at that time had been developed before the war and the technology was clearly well behind the times. The Wood Products Laboratory started to study woodworking methods and equipment. For instance, the Laboratory developed a new method that reduced the size of the saw-cut. This not only conserved raw material but also improved the finish of the sawn timber.
Results of corrosion research applied in cars and ships
VTT invested in its own activities by procuring a great deal of new equipment. For instance, the Laboratory of Metallurgy acquired the Quantovac device from the United States. This piece of equipment was able to determine the contents of test specimens and even to reveal the microscopic structure of metals. This kind of knowledge was needed to learn more about material and corrosion phenomena. Extensive corrosion studies were made at VTT in the early 1960s. The knowledge thus obtained was applied in both cars and ships.
Malting and industrial processes studied in test brewery
Completed in 1962, VTT’s test brewery enabled the study of industrial processes and the properties of yeasts and grains. Amongst other things, the Laboratory clarified the quality and characteristics of oats. The studies revealed that the quality of Finnish oats was so good that it was even sold to Scottish whiskey distilleries.
Gas chromatograph reveals the effects of freezing food
In 1964 the Food Industry Laboratory acquired a gas chromatograph. In the 1960s the freezing of food had become the most important method of preservation. The Food Industry Laboratory used the new research equipment to study the effects of freezing food and the characteristics of the machines used for freezing. In this way it was possible to find out, for instance, how well frozen berries retained their vitamins.