“The core goal of our expansion project is to ensure quality for our customers. We will now be able to modify our production more flexibly and assemble and move larger loads and assembled entities on the production line more safely.”
Heikki Selkälä, Production Development Manager, at Ponsse Plc
Ponsse Plc is a company specializing in the sales, production,service and technology of forest machines designed for the cut-to-length method. Ponsse’s domicile is in Vieremä, Finland, where the company was established in 1970. The family of founder Einari Vidgren, who started off as a forest machine entrepreneur, is still involved in Ponsse’s daily operations. Globally, the company has nearly 1,700 employees, of which approximately 600 work in the factory complex in Vieremä.
Ponsse’s main market areas include Finland, Sweden, Russia, Germany, France, North America and Latin America. The company has 12 subsidiaries and 32 retailers. All machinery is manufactured in Vieremä. In 2018, the company’s turnover was €612 million. Close to 78% of turnover comes from exports.
Before the factory expansion, the forest machinery assembly line in Vieremä had mostly wall-mounted jib cranes and EOT cranes (electric overhead travelling). The components to be lifted had to remain small in size, and limited lifting height restricted movement. Some lifting had to always occur at a specific phase on the line where there was little room to lift.
Ponsse’s goal was to make manufacturing more flexible by unifying their crane equipment using the most advanced crane technologies available today. The assembly line was broadened through rearranging production, and the expansion of more than one hectare planned by Ponsse was unique in scale for the Finnish manufacturing industry.
There was a need to extend the lifting height and operating area of cranes and make the attachment of objects more versatile. Lifting an object with multiple cranes needed to be more flexible to facilitate the assembly collection of preliminary lines so that lifting large loads and entities would be easier and safer.
In the extensive crane renewal project, Ponsse carefully compared the solution proposals of several suppliers. Konecranes was a strong contender from the beginning. The decision on the crane supplier was made based on the overall solution. “The Konecranes solution was carefully thought for the long term, so it was the best option for us,” Ponsse’s Method Designer Antti Haapalainen summarizes.
Along with the cranes’ technical solutions and quality, a very important criterion in the company was maintenance to ensure the lifting devices’ reliability and safety. A service technician who is available quickly is a great advantage when production depends on the cranes, and possible problems must be solved with professionalism in a short time. This is one of the cornerstones of Konecranes service, and it has managed Ponsse’s crane maintenance for years.
Konecranes delivered more than 60 different types of cranes – from workstation lifting systems and CLX, SLX and NEO cranes to industrial cranes offering Smart Features – to Ponsse’s production line. As a special solution Konecranes also supplied wall console cranes, which considerably improve production flexibility. The lifting capacity of the supplied cranes varied from 250 kilos all the way to 10,000 kilos. Nearly a kilometer of new crane track was built in the expansion.
Renewing the cranes is an essential part of Ponsse’s larger expansion and renewal project of approximately three years, and this was also taken into consideration in the scheduling of crane deliveries. The schedule was tight, and flexibility was required on both sides when it came to crane installations, but solutions were found thanks to good cooperation. Information flowed well in both directions and the installation project was completed in an excellent manner.
- The new crane solutions of the expanded factory enable production operations that are ever safer and more reliable. This enhances the factory’s ability to produce top quality for its clients.
- Thanks to the unified and efficient lifting equipment on the assembly line, production can be modified more flexibly than before.