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Our alumnus Kalle Einola: Energy efficiency and sustainable development take centre stage

Published on 27.12.2021
updated on 27.12.2021
Tampere University
Ponsse Kalle Einola alumnitarina
For Kalle Einola, the decision to study engineering after upper secondary school was an obvious choice. As he was interested in mobile working machines, he specialised in mechanical engineering and, in particular, hydraulics and automation engineering. While studying at the then Tampere University of Technology at the turn of the millennium, Kalle served as the chairman of the student club Kavitaatio, led an active student life and took part in hydraulics projects and a variety of student events and trips. He formed a circle of friends, most of whom have also pursued careers working for domestic manufacturers of mobile working machines. Being the manager of technology, product safety & IPR at Ponsse’s R&D unit in Tampere, Kalle has maintained close ties with Tampere University.

“After upper secondary school, my decision to apply to study at the then Tampere University of Technology was clear. I specialised in hydraulics and automation engineering. At the MSc stage of my studies, I was offered the opportunity to join a research project funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and write my master’s thesis for Ponsse, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest harvesters. My master’s thesis explored the potential to improve the efficiency of harvester cranes through measurements and simulations,” Kalle Einola says.

After graduation, Kalle was offered a position at Ponsse. He started his career working in the company headquarters in Vieremä, Finland.  

“I was initially responsible for innovation activities and intellectual property rights, such as patents, and  continued working as a corporate patent attorney for multiple years. Gradually my role was expanded to also include duties relating to product safety and compliance.”

“I was later assigned to also supervise research and technology projects. Collaborating with universities and research institutions has been an important part of my work. Besides IPR and compliance management, leading my own team and bearing responsibility for early-stage R&D have been my main duties for more than a decade.”

Back to campus

In 2017, Kalle was back in a familiar spot when Ponsse Oyj and its subsidiary Epec Oy set up an R&D unit on the Hervanta campus of Tampere University. Kalle has headed the R&D unit ever since its establishment. The unit maintains close collaboration with Tampere University and a number of technology companies located in the vicinity of the campus. In addition to seamless collaboration with the University, the Tampere region, or more specifically the Kampusareena building on the Hervanta campus, has proved an excellent choice in terms of access to the right talent. The R&D unit has quickly grown to employ more than 50 people.

“Tampere is an ideal location for us. Our central location at the heart of the campus opens up avenues for research collaboration with the University and also gives us an advantage in the competition for talented young technology professionals.”

“The SIX Mobile Work Machines cluster launched in Tampere is an important collaborative network for Ponsse. The members of the cluster are dealing with the same technological challenges that can be effectively addressed by working together and collaborating with Tampere University.”

A career in an industry that is constantly in a state of change requires continuous learning and development. One has to be able to integrate the latest advances in digitalisation, automation and AI into the development of forestry and logging equipment. Energy efficiency and sustainability are now more important than ever before.

“To promote sustainable development, forest machines and mobile working machines will need to meet increasingly rigorous energy efficiency standards in the future. Currently, the majority of emissions generated over the lifetime of a forest machine comes from diesel fuel. It is great to be working in an industry that depends on a raw material that is fully renewable and effectively sequesters carbon. Timber could be used to replace massive amounts of concrete, steel and plastic, for example. In this area, Finland is a global forerunner.”

“Besides working, I am studying for a doctoral degree at Tampere University. My research focuses on the development of a hydraulic hybrid system for managing the timely consumption of stored energy during the work cycle of a harvester.” 

“Power transmission is largely based on hydraulics in modern forest machines, but as energy efficiency will become increasingly important in the future, I am sure we will see the emergence of other solutions, too.”

Working together with former fellow students

“I was raised on a farm and forest estate by Lake Näsijärvi in Aitolahti, Tampere, where I also built my own house on family land.”

“Ever since I was a child, I have been interested not only in machines and vehicles but also in nature and forest. In my free time I often go off-road cycling in the woods. I also enjoy fishing and boating on Lake Näsijärvi.”

Kalle values the friends he made at university, many of whom later became his colleagues working in the same industry.

“The Tampere region is a veritable hub of mobile machinery manufacturers. A large number of my friends from university work in industrial companies. I got to know many of them when I was an active member and later chairman of the student club Kavitaatio. I have fond memories of my time at the club. We published an online magazine and used the proceeds to travel to a couple of F1 Grand Prix races. We also organised visits to interesting mechanical engineering companies,” Kalle reminisces.

Here you can read other alumni stories

Photo Ponsse Oyj
Text Minna Puntila