In 2016, Hiab, which is part of Cargotec, presented HiVision, a revolutionary new system for operating cranes that became a game changer in the load handling industry. Now, two years later, Hiab has sold cranes equipped with HiVision in over 10 countries and received several innovation prizes.
In addition, the control system has been approved by the European vehicle inspection company Dekra and certified by TÜV Rheinland, a leading international provider of technical services. Now Hiab is seeing customers return to invest in additional HiVision cranes for their fleets.
HiVision is a brand new way of thinking about crane operation. You can sit in the truck cabin and operate the crane, through the use of 3D VR goggles and cameras. You gain a perfect overview of the work area whilst comfortably and safely seated. In forestry crane operation, it is common practice to sit either in a top seat or a cabin mounted directly on the crane column. The workstation has been unchanged since the high seat was first introduced under Hiab's JONSERED brand in 1961, although it was enhanced by Hiab's introduction of cabins in the late 80s. With the launch of HiVision at Bauma 2016, Hiab was the first in the industry to present a new innovative solution for operating forestry cranes that improved safety, ergonomics and productivity.
"For us, the development of HiVision was all about improving the work environment and safety of operators. In addition, we sought productivity benefits that would bring financial savings to our customers' businesses. This solution was radical, but we believed in it because it provided an opportunity to move the operator from a risk environment to the safest and most comfortable work environment during loading, which is the truck cabin. Besides, the weight savings offered the chance to add more payload," says Toni Ahvenlampi, Product Manager HiVision, Forestry and Recycling Cranes, Hiab.
The launch of HiVision
When the first commercial HiVision movie was released in 2016, the film quickly went global via the social media just before the world premiere at Bauma 2016. At the subsequent trade shows, HiVision received enormous attention wherever it was exhibited. After 2 years on the market, HiVision has received a total of four awards; the KWF 2016 innovation award, the "Trophée Sécurité Encouragement" 2016, the Owl of Rogow, 2017 and Forest & we 2017, an award for the most innovative product. In addition to winning awards, the system was approved through Dekra in 2017 and certified by TÜV Rheinland 2018.
At IAA 2016, Hiab announced that it was ready to take orders. In February 2017, the system's first customer in the world, Mattias Ackesten, received his HiVision crane.
"We view ourselves as pioneers in the load handling industry; we have a pioneering spirit in our company and a long history of bringing new innovative solutions to the market that eventually become industry standards. However, what we learned during the launch of HiVision is that we are merely providers of innovative solutions. It is our customers who are the real Pioneers, that take this new technology into use and create value for their businesses in new and innovative ways. They dare to do things differently and we are very proud to have such customers," continues Hans Ekman, Vice President, Forestry and Recycling Cranes, Hiab.
Success all over the world
The international breakthrough of this solution is a fact. The HiVision has been sold in over 10 markets, and in addition to Hiab's core markets, customers in countries such as Denmark, Scotland, Norway and Slovenia have invested in the solution.
"What is interesting to see now is that some of our customers are returning to invest in another HiVision crane for their fleet. Maik Ungefroren in Germany is one of them. When he invested in his first HiVision crane, he stated that he was preparing his company for the future. To him the key benefits of the investment were the comfort and safety of the operator, increased productivity and becoming a more attractive employer. Investing in the first HiVision was such a success for his business that he decided to invest in yet another crane," says Jukka Soini, Product Business Manager, Hiab.
James Jones in Scotland has also invested in a second HiVision crane. The notion that this is the future of crane operation is even strengthened by the fact that many customers realize that they have to improve their working environments to become attractive employers in the midst of a labour shortage. This may well be the right strategy, given that the Finnish school, Savon koulutuskuntayhtyma (SAKKY), has invested in a HiVision truck and an additional HiVision simulator for the training of tomorrow's timber truck operators.
Every new HiVision customer is closely followed up by Hiab and their feedback is recorded and assessed as part of a continuous process. "Our customers' involvement and openness about their use of the system and their experiences are extremely important to the product development process. In addition, because HiVision is very new on the market and there are no similar solutions for benchmarking, we really have to rely on this level of trust in order to continue improving HiVision," says Lech Mytnik, Senior Manager, R&D, Hiab Forestry and Recycling Cranes. His point of view is echoed by Toni Ahvenlampi, "Together with our customers, we are continuing to develop HiVision and working to change and improve the system in a highly dynamic process."
Next steps in further developing HiVision
New developments are forthcoming as a result of this close cooperation. "We will launch the True Detachability and Remote Service at IAA exhibition in Hannover, Germany, in September. Continuous work is being done on the hardware and it goes without saying that, when upgraded VR goggles meeting Hiab's high standards are available on the market, they will also be made available as part of the HiVision system. Additionally, a great deal of work is being dedicated to continuously improving the options for personalizing the customer's workspace".
"We view innovation as a continuous process. We are never satisfied until our customers are happy. The important thing is to embrace the future and work hard to improve our customers' business. If we can provide tools that make their everyday work safer and easier and their business more profitable, then we have achieved our goals," Hans Ekman concludes.