Ponsse Oyj

User-driven development and product family renewal

Ponsse, the forerunner in forest machinery, has a clear goal: to make the best forest machines in the world. When it was time for a model reform, they chose LINK as their design partner.

The starting points for the model reform were ease of use and maintenance. Due to the challenging working environments within the forest industry, end-user needs were carefully considered at all stages of the process.

Increased efficiency with operator environment renewal

In conjunction with Ponsse’s model renewal, LINK was also involved in the product design and development of the PONSSE Scorpion harvester. As this would be a design process for a machine that would significantly affect the work efficiency and well-being of its operators, the project began with a user survey.

The survey aimed at acquiring a better understanding of the tasks and needs of the operators. Because of the cramped space and uneven terrain, work can easily become strenuous. The drivers and expectations discovered were taken into account as much as possible in the development work, and test users were involved in the design process throughout the course of the project.

The control system and cab interior were designed with the efficiency, ergonomics and comfort of forest machine operators in mind.

Various prototypes of the control system were built and then tested by the operators, and both layout and system intuitiveness were further developed based on the feedback received. These kinds of iterative processes are quick and agile ways to secure a user-driven outcome. Extensive research and development of the operating equipment and the cab environment also involved testing the various components, as well as their preparation for serial production.

Recognizable but modern design

In the design of the entire product family, LINK’s strong technological expertise did us justice; the design ensured that the products would look recognisable while keeping the parts more than 30% less expensive than in the previous product family. Winning design does not necessarily equal expensive, especially when the industrial design process covers the entire project from the initial planning phase all the way to serial production preparation.

Ponsse’s recognisable design was kept but updated in order to achieve a more modern and timeless look. LINK studied the factors in Ponsse’s recognizable design that speak to brand-loyal users, and these factors were also implemented in the look of the redesigned product family. PONSSE Scorpion has Ponsse’s individual brand look brought to a forest machine that is simultaneously agile and stable – and also impressive. The technical specifications take into account the challenges of operating in a forest, as ergonomic and efficient working conditions needed to be realised in as little space as possible.

Appearance, however, is not in the limelight, but the solutions are always practical and designed with usability in mind. In the design of the forest machine, LINK also kept in mind the challenges posed by the environment; for example, dents caused by tree branches cannot be avoided, but the parts exposed can be made more robust. The easy replacement of the parts was also taken into account – without compromising the ease of maintenance.

Results through design

LINK and Ponsse created a new kind of forest machine that does not compromise usability, efficiency or ease of maintenance. PONSSE Scorpion has indeed set new logging records, and cab ergonomics have reduced operators’ neck and shoulder pains. Good design and product planning promoted the operators’ well-being at work while simultaneously reducing material costs, without compromising quality.

PONSSE Scorpion’s customer-driven design has been recognised both in Finland and abroad. The Fennia Prize Grand Prix and the Red Dot Best of the Best awards tell the same tale as the customer feedback: our collaboration has created a forest machine with world-class efficiency and comfort.

What we did