Ponsse celebrated two important milestones recently. The biggest extension project in the company’s history has reached the topping-out phase, and the factory has produced the 13,000th forest machine made in the Vieremä facility in Finland.
PONSSE machine number 13,000, a PONSSE Ergo 8w, was delivered to the company’s German customer FoWi GmbH & Co. This also marks the beginning of Ponsse’s and German distributor Wahlers Forsttechnik GmbH’s jubilee year: 25 years have passed since Ponsse and Wahlers signed their contract on distribution and service collaboration in the German-speaking regions of Europe. The seeds of this collaboration were sown already in the early 1970s when Einari Vidgrén, Ponsse’s founder, was logging on storm devastation sites in Germany.
The current production facility investment is the biggest in Ponsse’s history: the factory will expand from the current 2.7 hectares to 4 hectares. Most importantly, the investment contributes to ongoing improvement and development of quality, flexibility, safety and productivity of Ponsse’s operations. The extension of production facilities enables the company to respond to changing market situations with more flexibility, and to tailor machines to customer requirements more efficiently in a serial-production environment. The new facilities in Vieremä will be completed by the end of the year.
“Our strong focus on the development of cut-to-length forest machines requires constant development of our production operations. That is the only way we can fulfil the needs of our customers and stay at the forefront of technology in the demanding forest machine market. A safe, modern factory is also an important investment in our employees,” says Ponsse’s President and CEO Juho Nummela.
The Ponsse factory in Vieremä currently employs 570 employees, 390 of whom work in production tasks. All PONSSE forest machines are made in Vieremä, Finland.
New assembly lines and storage facilities housed in the new extension will be phased in gradually during 2018. Relocation to new facilities starts in March with warehouse operations. New smart warehouse technologies make production warehouse logistics more efficient and increase the degree of automation considerably. Warehouse automation covers 15,500 storage slots for small items and components and 3,900 pallet positions.
After the warehouse relocation, a new harvester head assembly line will move to the new facilities. A new assembly line for base machines will be in operation by the end of the summer, and by end of 2018 cabin and crane assembly lines will also be renewed. The amount of production-time testing used to support quality control will increase in all production lines.
Starting with earthworks, most of the factory extension has been built by local companies. The massive project was split into several smaller parts to enable local companies to offer their services. The main contractor, construction company U. Lipsanen, delivered the factory extension project that was started one year ago to Ponsse today.