The Team That Works on Building the Future of Logging Transport

Alucar’s product development team work in front of a screen, in the workshop with the mechanics and even in the forest, sitting next to the driver in the logging truck. Although they don’t drive the trucks, the team drives the sector’s future because it is on their computers that innovations to superstructures are designed and improvements to timber transport are made.

“Our product development is unique in this line of business. At Alucar, we are determined to make serious investments in it, because it allows us to better serve our customers and to be a step or two ahead of our competition,” says CEO Anssi Alasaari.

In the past, superstructures were designed in the workshop while building the truck. Back then, there were no standard parts in them, because solutions were invented on the spot as needed. For that reason, it was all but impossible to keep track of spare parts. Modern technology has saved the day: today, precise project images of the truck are drawn in advance and so all the spare parts needed are known down to the last bolt.
“We take our customer’s wishes into account as soon as we start designing their products, which allows us to carefully consider the desired equipment and where to place it. This makes installation much quicker and easier too,” Product Manager Leif Finne explains.

Alucar’s sales team are experts in logging trucks and they work in close cooperation with the company’s product designers, right from the bidding stage. The photo shows Dealer Julius Närvä and Product Development Engineer Anders Lundberg.

The two focuses of Alucar’s product development for the future are hydraulics and electrification. Finne remarks that at the moment, the hydraulics for the superstructure and the compatibility and adjustments of the crane are not performed properly anywhere.
“This is where our product development team intends to stick their finger into the pie. The joint action of the superstructure and crane are key for improving the ease of a logging driver’s work.”
“Our target is also to continuously improve truck electrification and to make it smarter. We have come far in this already, but will continue to work on it,” Alasaari adds.

The customer’s word is what weighs the most on a designer’s scale. The logging driver alone can say what works in the forest and on the truck, what doesn’t work, and where improvements are needed. Alucar’s dealers have contacts to hundreds of customers whose wishes and needs they collect and base their ideas for product development on. That is why the sales crew are a close part of the entire product development team, and an important one at that.

The customer’s word is what weighs the most on a designer’s scale. The logging driver alone can say what works in the forest and on the truck, what doesn’t work, and where improvements are needed.

Finne explains that, as well as functionality, Alucar always aims for a happy medium between light weight, costs and ease of installation in its product development. They also carefully consider the implementation of a single idea, as well as how well it can be duplicated in different markets.
“Our aim is to design standardised parts which can be combined and adapted to accomplish fully custom-made and individual solutions that meet the customer’s exact needs.”

What are the factors that influence a product development project then? Any changes that take place in the sector, and legislation too, reach the designer’s table first. Often the changes needed are intensive and have to be carried out
quickly. Both Alucar’s own crew and logging drivers continuously provide the company with new development ideas. Finne and Alasaari are extremely happy with their seamless cooperation with their customers, which is hugely important for successful product development. Because Alucar operates in a niche sector and is investing intensely in developing it, its customer relationships have become very close over the decades.
“Because our product development team cooperate closely with the customer, the designer is able to see exactly where changes are needed.”

Every member of the product development team plays an important role in the process: Product Manager Leif Finne and Product Development Engineer Jim Backull focus on the actual product development and designing new products, whereas Kati tietokoneruutuNurkkala designs product structures and participates in documentation and Anders Lundberg handles project and production planning and control. Thanks to the company’s highly professional product development, it is able to offer its customers comprehensive reports, plans and installation and operating instructions for the superstructures.
“In our catalogue, we also present our superstructures with exploded views,” Finne adds.

When the product development team gets hold of a new idea, they carefully consider its broader requirements and the possibilities for its implementation. If they decide that the idea is worthy of launching on the market, they start developing it by making the preliminary design. After that they purchase the materials required and build the first prototype, which is then delivered to the customer for a field test. In Finne’s opinion, the best part of the job is seeing the whole chain of the design process from an idea to a finished, functioning tool for a logging truck driver.
“Whenever something new is being tested, we go along to see how it works in the forest. This job is not just about sitting at a drawing board. Being able to go to the forest and see for ourselves that our solution really works and that the customer is happy, that’s the best reward of all!”