Edge computing starts new era of intelligence in forest harvesting

Case Solita and Ponsse: Edge computing starts new era of intellingence in forest harvesting

Ponsse was 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 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.

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.

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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.

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

Case Solita and Ponsse edge computing quote
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

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.

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.

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