History

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1970
Einari sets up a factory

1970

Einari sets up a factory

Einari receives encouraging feedback on the Ponsse Dino from forestry company Tehdaspuu , and decides to set up a forest machine factory in Vieremä. However, prior to starting the building work, help is required by the municipality of Vieremä.

In April 1970 Einari visits Hannes Hirsimäki, the municipal manager of Vieremä, explaining that he would like to establish a forest machine factory if the local government builds him a factory hall for the purpose. A meeting is held by the municipal council, and they vote on the matter. Finally with a majority of a single vote, the council approves the proposal to start building a factory hall that is to be let out to machine entrepreneur Einari Vidgrén. The hall is completed already at the end of 1970, and Ponsse Plc is established the same year.

1971
Engineer from Salo

1971

Engineer from Salo

Before the first factory-made Ponsse machine is manufactured, an engineer is needed at the factory. Einari places an ad in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper to recruit a production manager to Vieremä.

An application by Jouko Kelppe, a young engineer from Salo, attracts the most attention. In February 1971 Jouko and Maritta Kelppe travel 600 kilometres to Vieremä for a job interview. After a short interview it becomes clear that Jouko is to be hired as the first ever engineer in the history of Ponsse.

First machines sold

The manufacturing of the first machine is started in the spring of 1971, but the company has no customers. At that time, however, forest machine contractor Eero Vainikainen is in the process of acquiring a forest machine.

The forest company makes a recommendation to purchase either Volvo or Valmet machines, but Metsäliitto's Iisalmi area supervisor Sauli Piispanen strongly urges Vainikainen to buy a Ponsse forwarder manufactured in Vieremä. Vainikainen visits the factory, which at the time has only two beams and a Valmet motor lying on the floor. However, Vainikainen is very impressed by Dino, a prototype machine at the logging site that comes highly recommended by both Einari and Sauli Piispanen. The deal is closed and the machine is sold for FIM 120,000.

The first machine

The first machine was produced at Vieremä factory. Eventual it was on transfer condition in the autumn of 1971.

Through the first ever Ponsse is driven out of the factory, the driver Einari with customer Eero Vainikainen.

1972
Evening gatherings at Marttisenjärvi

1972

Evening gatherings at Marttisenjärvi

Every year Einari organises common gatherings for his employees and customers. The turnout is always good. People enjoy sauna, swimming and games in the summer house on the shore of Lake Marttisenjärvi.

During the first years a skiing competition is often organised and Ponsse is represented by a strong company team, even though many of the participants are not in proper skiing condition. The main objective is to enjoy the common spirit and leisure-time activities.

1974
A trip to Germany

1974

A trip to Germany

Ponsse premieres in the international markets in 1974. A massive storm hits Germany, knocking down trees everywhere, and a large amount of foreign equipment is needed for harvesting the trees felled by the storm.

Einari finds this out and hears that the job is well compensated, and goes to check out the logging site with Olavi Kauhanen. Olavi, the loggers and Ponsse travel to Germany. The machine is transported on a pallet to the harbour and by ship to Travemünde, but nobody has remembered to book transportation to the German logging site more than 70 kilometres away. Olli and some other Finnish contractors and their machines wait in the harbour. Because no means of transportation is available, Olli mounts his Ponsse and sets off along the German motorway while the others follow. This is an unusual sight - the forest machines slowly chugging along the edge of the road, one of them actually carrying a Finnish sauna in the load space…

It's in the game

The national pastime of Ponsse employees - Laistokatko card game.

This noble card game has maintained its role as regular coffee break entertainment for decades.

1980
Ponsse S 20

1980

Ponsse S 20

A new robust forwarder, the S 20, is introduced; approximately 50 machines are manufactured in 1980 – 1983.

Manufacturing of the S 20 forwarder ends as a new, lighter model S 15 is introduced to the market. As mechanised harvesting increases in the early 1980s, the treadmarks left in the woods by the heavy machinery become a talking point. The public starts to demand lighter and more eco-friendly machines.

1983
S 15 forwarder

1983

S 15 forwarder

Ponsse becomes a nationwide phenomenon in 1983 with the new S 15 forwarder. This new forwarder is in a class of its own with regard to its cross-terrain performance.

 

 

 

The treadmarks of this lightweight machine are less noticeable than those of its competitors. The machine weighs approximately 10 metric tonnes but has a carrying capacity of 12 tonnes, and its tractive power of 14.1 tonnes is comparable to that of larger machines. It also permits harvesting on soil with poor bearing capacity.

1985
H 520 harvester head

1985

H 520 harvester head

The company launches grapple processors and later on grapple harvesters. Several types of grapple harvesters are put to the test at Einari Vidgrén's logging sites, and since a satisfactory model is not found, Einari states: "We'll make it ourselves."

Manufacturing of the new H 520 model is not completely trouble-free, as problems are encountered with the grapple operation. Ponsse faces great challenges after about 30 grapples are sold to the customers. Due to these problems, flexibility is required from the employees and work is carried out non-stop so as to repair the harvester head malfunctions. Learning from the experience, Ponsse develops a new harvester head, H 60, at the end of the same year.

1986
Measuring devices for harvester grapples

1986

Measuring devices for harvester grapples

The harvester grapples need measuring devices and Ponsse acquires these from Kajaani Automatiikka Ky.

The very first machine with a functioning diameter measuring device is delivered to contractor Voitto Muikku in Puolanka. The harvester grapple marks an important step in the expansion of the product family ranging from forwarders to harvesting machines.

1988
Ponsse ownership changes

1988

Ponsse ownership changes

On 16 December 1988 Ponsse’s entire share capital is transferred to the industrial company Interpolator Oy, of SKOP Group.

This makes Ponsse part of the Norcar Group along with some earlier company acquisitions. Einari becomes a member of the Board of Directors at Norcar, and Esa Vidgrén is appointed as the Managing Director of Ponsse Plc.

1990
Kajaani 2000 loader control system

1990

Kajaani 2000 loader control system

The computerised Kajaani 2000 loader control system is years ahead of its time and represents the latest trend in the product development of forest machine control systems.

Kajaani 2000 provides a solid base and knowhow for the development of the current control systems.

1992
Recognition for groundbreaking work

1992

Recognition for groundbreaking work

Ponsse introduces a lightweight eight-wheel forest machine chain, the HS10 harvester and the S10 forwarder.

Einari receives the Finnish National Inventor Prize awarded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in recognition of his persistent work in the forest machine development.

 

Ponsse is awarded the Pro Finnish Design, an honourable mention of Finnish design for the industrial design of forest machines.

1993
Ponsse repurchased

1993

Ponsse repurchased

A group of investors led by Einari purchase Ponsse back from SKOP Group in February 1993.

Kajaani Automatiikka Ky, a company manufacturing information systems, is merged with Ponsse.
Ponsse Opti, the most innovative measuring and information system on the market, is launched. Ponsse is the first forest machine manufacturer in the world to introduce a PC-based measuring device system.

1994
Quality certificate

1994

Quality certificate

The Finnish quality is rewarded when Ponsse becomes the first ISO 9001-certified forest machine manufacturer in the world.

The first subsidiary, Ponsse AB, is established in Västerås, Sweden.

1995
Ponsse 25 years

1995

Ponsse 25 years

Ponsse receives a Certificate of Honour from the Association for Finnish Work.

Public quotation of Ponsse Plc shares on the Helsinki Stock Exchange OTC list begins.

 

 

 

 

Subsidiaries are established in the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

The 25th anniversary festivities are held in Kuopio Centre of Cultural Affairs in the autumn of 1995.

1996
New harvesters

1996

New harvesters

Ponsse product development invents two new harvester models, Ergo HS16 and Cobra HS10.

2000
30th anniversary and Mercedes-Benz engines for machines

2000

30th anniversary and Mercedes-Benz engines for machines

Ponsse's 30th anniversary party is organised on board the Viking Cinderella, and the guests are taken by surprise when a completely new 2001 product family with Mercedes-Benz engines is launched.

The latest addition to the product family is the Beaver harvester.

 

 

At the same time OptiControl, a digital control system created as a result of Ponsse's own development work, is launched.

Retailers open in Canada, ALPA New Brunswick / Lacroix Quebec.

2001
Einari receives a golden medal for merit

2001

Einari receives a golden medal for merit

The Finnish Forest Association grants Einari a golden medal for his special and long-term contribution to the forest industry in Finland.

The Finnish Forest Association gives the following reasons for the selection: "Einari Vidgrén is awarded for his unique entrepreneurship, as a result of which one of the world's leading manufacturing companies of forest machinery has been established in Finland. When Einari noticed that the machines manufactured by others were not satisfactory, he decided to build one himself."

2002
BuffaloDual introduced in Liperi

2002

BuffaloDual introduced in Liperi

A new machine, BuffaloDual, was introduced in Pärnävaara, Liperi. 

2003
New product line

2003

New product line

Ponsse receives an honourable mention in the Fennia Prize 2003 design competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Einari's 60-year celebration tour, the Ponsse Road Show, travels through ten different locations across the country in the early spring.

The 3,000th forest machine manufactured by Ponsse is handed over to Kone-Korpi Oy in Tolosenmäki, Kitee in March.

 

 

The new 2004 product line is launched in Aittokoski, Sonkajärvi in November. In connection with the new line, Ponsse introduces Remote Service, the first ever real-time remote service connection in the forest machine industry.

2004
President awards Ponsse for internationalisation

2004

President awards Ponsse for internationalisation

Mrs. Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland, awards Ponsse for its achievements in international business operations.

The award is received by Ponsse’s Chairman of the Board, Einari Vidgrén, at the presidential residence.

Subsidiary established in Russia in December

Ponsse decided to establish a subsidiary OOO Ponsse in Russia. Retail agreement with Zeppelin Russland in Russia.

Epec Oy transfers to Ponsse ownership

Ponsse becomes the main owner of Epec Oy, a company in Seinäjoki manufacturing machine control systems.

Hydromec becomes a retailer

Retail agreement with Hydromec in the Quebec region.

Ponsse Ladies

Ponsse Ladies is founded. The significance of the spouses of the forest machine contractors in the family enterprises is recognised and the spouses are invited to participate in the operations. Ponsse Ladies begins operating at Metko in 2004.

2005
Ponsse 35 years

2005

Ponsse 35 years

Ponsse’s 35 years of operation are celebrated at the Vieremä factory extension with 2,200 guests.

Einari receives the "Vuoden metsäteko" award in recognition of his contribution to the forest sector.

Einari is rewarded by Nordea Bank and the Society of Finnish Professional Foresters for establishing a foundation that increases the appreciation of mechanised harvesting, and for his involvement in setting up a scientific fund.

Road to renewal

The factory extension, including an assembly hall and a customer service centre, is completed.

The new facilities of the Iisalmi Service Centre are completed.

 

 

Erkki Tarvainen, Einari's first ever employee, retires in February 2005.
Ponsse Latin America is established in Brazil in April. Ponsse acquires 92% of the shares of Lako Oy.

Einari Vidgrén Foundation established

Einari establishes a foundation bearing his name in April.

The purpose of the foundation is to make the entrepreneurship related to wood harvesting better known and to make the mechanised harvesting sector more interesting as an employer, especially among the young.

New sponsorship contracts

Ponsse announced the sponsorship contracts with javelin thrower Tero Pitkämäki, WRC-driver Mikko Hirvonen and the hockey team KalPa.

2006
Heavy-duty machinery for international markets

2006

Heavy-duty machinery for international markets

Retail agreement with Chadwick-BaRoss, Maine.
Retail agreement with Babcock Africa, Republic of South Africa.

The new Bear harvester and Elephant forwarder are introduced in the Metko exhibition.

2007
International Road Show

2007

International Road Show

In January, the International Road Show tour starts from Einari's home farm Mäkelä in Vieremä.

 

 

 

 

More than 700 customers are invited to a night show to witness the first show of the tour. The tour introduces the new PONSSE Bear harvester, which is demonstrated in Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Austria, France and the UK. The tour ends at the Elmia fair in Jönköping, Sweden at the beginning of June.

Cooperation with Moscow State University begins

Ponsse begins cooperation with the Moscow State Forest University. The goal is to offer extensive training in the cut-to-length method in cooperation with the biggest forestry university in Russia.

 

 

Ponsse wants to be actively involved in the development of the business in Russia, and it sees the Moscow State University as having an important role as a developer and future builder of the Russian forest and harvesting industry.

Subsidiary in China

In November, Ponsse establishes a subsidiary in China.

 

 

 

 

The company will especially support wood harvesting mechanisation operations on Stora Enso China’s eucalyptus plantations in southern China.
The company headquarters are located in Beihai.

Ponsse 10w

Ponsse launches a 10-wheel forwarder in October.

Ponsse has been involved in the development of wood harvesting technology for soft peat soil together with the Finnish state forest enterprise Metsähallitus and the Finnish Forest Research Institute. During the project, a prototype that permits profitable and environmentally friendly harvesting on soil with poor bearing capacity is developed. The concept is based on a 10-wheel, five-axle forest machine and a supporting track solution, which together significantly reduce the surface pressure imposed on the ground as compared with conventional solutions.

2008
At FinnMetko

2008

At FinnMetko

Almost 30,000 forest machine industry visitors are gathered in the Metko exhibition at the beginning of September.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Ponsse exhibition booth you will meet old acquaintances and see heavy-duty work exhibitions of all machine models.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years, internationalisation has become an increasingly important part of the exhibition – this year, customers from Russia, Germany, Canada and all the way from Brazil visit the stands.

 

Economic recession

The global economic recession and financial crisis put a strain on the forest industry and forest machine manufacturers.

Due to the weakened demand and future prospects for the forest machinery, Ponsse Plc gives summons for employee cooperation negotiations in October.

2009
Einari receives a doctorate

2009

Einari receives a doctorate

Einari Vidgrén is awarded the title Honorary Doctor of Technology by the University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology.

A total of 20 honorary doctorates are awarded in the main ceremony of the doctorate conferment of all faculties of the University of Oulu, on Saturday 16 May 2009.

PONSSE Fox becomes a member of the harvester family

The Ponsse Road Show introduces the PONSSE Fox soft terrain harvester and PONSSE H6 harvester head.

Other new products, such as the PONSSE Buffalo ADS forwarder and PONSSE Ergo 8w harvester, are also presented in some of the tour locations.

2010
Open house at the factory attracts a record audience

2010

Open house at the factory attracts a record audience

The celebrations of Ponsse’s 40th anniversary continued with an open house at the factory on Friday 13 August 2010. The sunny day attracted approximately 1000 visitors to get acquainted with the factory and Ponsse people. The Martha organisation prepared 1500 pancakes in the steaming hot weather, and the factory tours and logging demonstrations were crowded. 

 

We were delighted to see that many families with children took part in the day. The pony ride and the pedal car track, in particular, were big hits with the young ones. The simulator also proved popular, with long lines all day. Nine-year-old Antti Säisä was one of the many Ponsse people putting in long hours during the day. Antti worked as a trainer for the simulator, instructing the young machine enthusiasts in how to use the simulator. Antti had been eagerly practicing the use of the simulator during the summer. “I had never driven a harvester simulator before this summer, but I have driven a real harvester, “ Antti explains.

40th anniversary celebrated with 1700 guests

Ponsse’s 40th anniversary was celebrated in a relaxing atmosphere in the spirit of the 1970s at Einari’s home farm in Mäkelä, Vieremä. The atmosphere was warm and friendly.

Speeches were given by Juho Nummela, President and CEO, and Seppo Kääriäinen, Deputy Speaker of Parliament. Ismo Apell, who acted as a presenter, interviewed Einari and Jouko Kelppe, the first ever engineer at Ponsse. Jaakko Teppo was also seen at the site. Jamppa Kääriäinen, Kaukolasipartio, Agents and Paula Koivuniemi took care of the evening’s entertainment.

 

During the party, the winner of the sideburn competition was also selected. The finalists came to the stage and Marita Kelppe, the former hostess of the Ponsse Club, selected the winner. The competition was indeed hairy, but in the end Petteri Härkönen’s bushy ‘burns took home first prize.

The 7,000th PONSSE forest machine

The 7,000th PONSSE forest machine was manufactured at the Ponsse Vieremä factory on Friday, 27 August 2010. Koneyhtymä Randelin Oy received the new PONSSE Ergo 8 w harvester at the FinnMETKO Trade Fair on Friday, 3 September. The machine has equipped with gold-plated exhaust pipe.

Einari Vidgrén has passed away

Einari Vidgrén, the founder of Ponsse Plc and Chairman of the Board of Directors, passed away suddenly at the age of 67 years on 26 October 2010. The Board of Directors of Ponsse Plc reorganised due to the sudden loss of the chairman. Juha Vidgrén was unanimously elected as the new chairman of the Board. Jarmo Vidgrén acts as the company's sales and marketing director, Janne Vidgrén as area director in Central Europe, and Jukka Vidgrén as a member of the Board of Directors. The family Vidgrén is the company's primary shareholder with its share ownership of more than 60%.

The values and operating methods set up by Einari Vidgrén for Ponsse lay a strong foundation and a firm set of values for the company's operations, also in the future.

2011
The Kajaani-based unit of Epec Oy is transferred to Ponsse Plc

2011

The Kajaani-based unit of Epec Oy is transferred to Ponsse Plc

The Kajaani-based forest machine application and product development unit of Epec Oy, a subsidiary of Ponsse, is transferred to Ponsse Plc, enabling an even stronger development of information system products for PONSSE forest machines.

2012
The 8,000th PONSSE forest machine

2012

The 8,000th PONSSE forest machine

PONSSE forest machine number 8,000 was manufactured at the Vieremä factory on 6 February 2012. Wood Roack & Roads AB, a Swedish harvesting company, receives the new PONSSE Ergo 8w at the factory.

Model Series 2012

Ponsse presents its Model Series 2012 at the FinnMETKO exhibition, introducing new easy-to-maintain frames and the new PONSSE Comfort user interface.   

Upgraded Service centres

Upgraded service centres are opened in Tampere and Mikkeli.

President visits Ponsse

Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, visits Ponsse.

Ponsse Ladies

Ponsse Ladies is established in Sweden.

The new PONSSE ElephantKing

PONSSE ElephantKing, the new 20-ton load bearing category in forwarders.

2013
A new logistics centre

2013

A new logistics centre

A new logistics centre in Iisalmi.

New service centers

New service centers are built in Pitkäranta in Russia and in Laukaa in the Jyväskylä region.

The new PONSSE Scorpion

The whole new PONSSE Scorpion harvester is introduced at the Wood Elmia exhibition in Sweden.

2014
Model Series 2015

2014

Model Series 2015

Ponsse launches Model Series 2015, where the focus is on efficiency, structural endurance and ease of maintenance and use. The new EU Stage IV engine technology and the improved hydraulics have enabled extending the service intervals from 600/1,200 hours to 900/1,800 hours.  The model series also includes the new PONSSE Buffalo ActiveFrame cabin suspension system for forwarders.

2015
10,000th PONSSE machine

2015

10,000th PONSSE machine

Ponsse's 10,000th forest machine was handed over to Karttulan Metsätyö on 31 January.

2020
Ponsse 50 vuotta juhlakiertue

2020

Ponsse 50 vuotta juhlakiertue