Edge computing starts new era of intelligence in forest harvesting

A pioneer in the manufacturing of forest harvesters and forwarders around the world, Ponsse was recently exploring new ways to enhance their data collection capabilities to improve the servicing and maintenance of their machines. Following the recent launches of the company’s other data-capability solutions, Ponsse turned to Solita to develop and launch a fully functional data management structure and data stream for Ponsse’s next-generation telematics unit for all new forwarders and harvesters. The result has provided Ponsse with the ability to efficiently collect substantial amounts of data from their machines and convert that data into improved servicing solutions, not only for Ponsse but also for their customers.

A leader in the production of cut-to-length forest machines, Ponsse is a global manufacturer for the forestry industry, dating back to 1970. They are headquartered and rooted in the countryside of central Finland, with a focus on key markets, including the Nordics, mainland Europe and the Americas.

Benefits of Ponsse Connectivity Unit for telematics

  • New era of data collection capabilities
  • Improved accuracy of machine usage data gathered between services
  • Optimised service procedures to prevent under-maintaining and over-maintaining
  • Less downtime for Ponsse machinery and equipment
  • Improved machine quality resulting from real-time data throughout the lifecycle

2021 opens a new era in forest machine monitoring

Ponsse had previously turned to Solita as the partner of choice in helping to develop a new data platform and more recently a manufacturing execution system (MES) for its organisation. In recent years, Ponsse has been progressing into an industry pioneer when it comes to modeling themselves as a truly data-driven service business, benefitting their customers globally.

The newly introduced Connectivity Unit for telematics is now available for all Ponsse forest machinery in the market since early 2021, providing Ponsse, their forest machine operators and customers with the capabilities to extensively monitor their machinery and operations. This Azure IOT Edge-compatible unit has been developed by Epec Oy, a technology company fully owned by Ponsse.

IoT architecture provided by Microsoft Azure data platform and edge computing

Many of the forests around the world where Ponsse’s harvesters frequently operate are in remote locations, where digital connectivity is limited at best, and in many situations non-existent. In some cases, these locations can be hundreds of kilometers deep in the forest.

As one of many new benefits coming from Ponsse’s new remote access Connectivity Unit, edge computing capabilities enable Ponsse harvesters to be self-dependent. Edge computing is done at or near the source of the data, to save on bandwidth and improve response times, rather than relying fully on the cloud. With Microsoft Azure IoT Edge computing being behind the architecture, harvesters with this technology built-in can download critical service software remotely, providing opportunities to save on cloud infrastructure and bandwidth costs.

"This is yet another example of how Solita is helping us at Ponsse to further innovate and develop our own digital services. It's been a truly collaborative partnership, which also included our very own Epec — developers of the telematics unit."Miika Soininen, Director, Digital Services and IT, Ponsse

Not only is the new Connectivity Unit being developed into all-new Ponsse machines, but this innovative telematics technology can also be retrofit into earlier Ponsse machinery models.

The IoT edge computing solution developed by Solita in partnership with Microsoft has given Ponsse the capabilities to centrally-develop their advanced analytics while shifting task events and temporary storage of device data to forest machinery and equipment. This shifting of data significantly reduces the connectivity dependencies required by the cloud.

The edge computing capabilities and IoT architecture of this new remote access telematics unit offer new advances for Ponsse and their customers. Edge computing offers the capability for the machines to be less reliant on service and maintenance schedules. Instead, they now have the intelligence built in to download and install software updates to the machines themselves. With this approach, computational tasks and interim storage of device data are moved near the equipment, eliminating the need to take all data back to the cloud infrastructure. Instead, edge computing is done on the machines themselves.

"Together with Microsoft, Ponsse and Solita are paving new paths to some of the latest and most powerful IoT solutions in the world."Miika Soininen, Director, Digital Services and IT, Ponsse

Collaborative IoT effort and first-of-its-kind approach

The data collected with the Connectivity Unit for telematics helps to ensure both operators and contractors can more easily advance their services while improving the efficiencies and control of their harvesting operations.

The valuable data stream being outputted from the telematics-based solution has been a successful and first-of-its-kind result for Ponsse and Solita. Ponsse acquires a custom-tailored solution for the unique needs of their forestry machinery that has an immediate impact on them and their global customers. For Solita, the result is an introduction of their IoT capabilities, expertise and know-how, all while collaborating with Microsoft Azure data platform and edge computing throughout.

“This is yet another example of how Solita is helping us at Ponsse to further innovate and develop our own digital services. It’s been a truly collaborative partnership, which also included our very own Epec — developers of the telematics unit. Together with Microsoft, Ponsse and Solita are paving new paths to some of the latest and most powerful IoT solutions in the world.”
Miika Soininen, Director, Digital Services and IT, Ponsse.

“Working closely with Microsoft’s IoT and edge computing specialists, Solita has provided Ponsse with another successful cornerstone solution in data collection capabilities, helping reduce their global harvester downtime, while streamlining service and maintenance needs for operators and service providers.”
Marko Suojasto, Client Director, Solita.

Reduced downtime and more reliability throughout the lifecycle

Significant reductions in Ponsse machinery and equipment downtime are key advantages of the data management structure and data stream that are used as the framework for Ponsse’s Connectivity Unit for telematics.

With the reality of remote locations being time-consuming and challenging to service and maintain Ponsse harvesters and forwarders, downtime reductions are helping machine operators decrease their costs and the challenges that go into servicing their machines in remote locations.

Collecting data on forestry machine performance, movements, locations, and operations, the Connectivity Unit provides the capabilities and development, helping fleet owners and maintenance providers to access machine data remotely and provide solutions to forest machinery.

Analysing machine operations with this data enables Ponsse forestry machinery to be more reliable throughout their lifecycles, as services can be optimised, reducing over- and under-maintaining.

Interested? Contact us

Marko Suojasto

Client Director


+358 405 027 977