User-oriented development work resulted in an award-winning forest harvester

CASE PONSSE SCORPION

Ponsse, a pioneer in forest machines, has a goal: to develop the best forest machines in the world. When it was time to remodel the machines, they chose LINK as their development partner.

The remodelling was based on two factors: easy to use and easy to service. Due to the challenging working environment, we listened to end-user needs carefully at all stages of the process.

Remodelling the driver’s working environment for efficiency

In addition to the remodelling at Ponsse, LINK was involved in the product design and development of the PONSSE Scorpion harvester. Since this design process was to have a significant impact on the efficiency and performance of the user, we began the project with a user survey.

The survey helped us to better understand the tasks and needs of the drivers. As the space is limited and the terrain uneven, the work is often physically straining. In the development work, we paid particular attention to what the users expect and what drives them, and our team included test users at all stages of the process.

Our design of the interior of the cabin and the controls focused on the efficiency, ergonomics and comfort of the harvester drivers.

We built a variety of prototypes of the control equipment that were then tested by drivers, and we made adjustments to the layout and intuitiveness based on the feedback we received. This kind of an iterative process is a fast and agile way to achieve a user-oriented result. Our extensive research and development of the control equipment and the cabin also included testing and development of elements up to the point when we were ready for serial production.

Recognisable yet modern design

The strong technological expertise of LINK come into its own in designing an entire family of products; our design work took into consideration the recognisable look of the products and, at the same time, we managed to lower the cost of the shape elements by 30% when compared to the previous product family. A winning design does not automatically mean expensive when industrial design covers the entire process from the beginning to serial production.

Our aim was to retain Ponsse’s recognisable design while creating an updated, modern and timeless design. At LINK, we investigated the factors in Ponsse’s recognisable design that spoke to loyal users of the brand and included these factors in the look of the redesigned collection. With PONSSE Scorpion, we transferred Ponsse’s brand identity to a harvester that is agile yet stable – and convincing. Our design of the technical features took into account the challenges of working in the forest; how to fit an ergonomic and efficient working environment in the smallest possible space.

However, our design is not based on the look; rather, our solutions are functional and always based on usability. While designing the harvester at LINK, we also considered the challenges of the environment; in the forest, branches will knock and scratch the machine, but with our design, we can make the sensitive parts more durable. We also made sure that parts can be replaced, with easy service in mind.

Results through design

LINK and Ponsse created a new kind of harvester with no compromises on productivity or ease of use or service. As a result, PONSSE Scorpion has set new records in logging, and ergonomics in the cabin have reduced neck and shoulder pain among the drivers. While we managed to improve the working capacity of the drivers through product design, we also managed to reduce the material costs – without compromising on quality.

We have been acknowledged for our customer-oriented design work on PONSSE Scorpion both in Finland and abroad. The Fennia Prize Grand Prix and the Red Dot Best of the Best awards indicate the same as our customer feedback: together, we created a harvester that places productivity and comfort at work in a class of its own.