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Feature

Sunit cleans up with in-vehicle computing

The company’s globally certified computers are also used by police cars, fuel transport vehicles, public transport, ambulances, fire engines, taxis, mining and forest trucks.Credits: : Sunit

The mobile innovations of this Kajaani-based company have been making waves worldwide for the past two decades.

In terms of on-the-job danger, which professions do you think represent the greatest risk of sustaining personal injury? Interestingly, in the United States solid waste haulers rank third on the list, behind fishing and timber cutting. In fact, garbage collectors are injured around five to seven times more than the average worker.

One obvious way alleviate this problem would be to remove any human contact between the truck and the garbage waste itself, right?

Well, then perhaps a leaf could be taken out of Australia’s book. Thanks to the help of Finnish in-vehicle computer innovators Sunit, local waste disposal company JJ Richards and Sons has already made such a change.

Some five years ago, no less.

Historical development

These days, hundreds of garbage trucks Down Under are equipped with Sunit’s fixed-mount computers, which help do the heavy lifting along with an innovative software programme from an Australian customer.

Amongst other things, the system can identify between various waste bins on the side of the road according to the allocated colour of their lids. Such is the efficiency of this approach that although drivers work unaccompanied whilst operating the hydraulic lifting arm, the company’s volume of collection has increased significantly since implementation.

“They collect 600 bins per truck per day,” states Esa Suutari, Sunit’s head of sales and marketing. “The client designed a very rapid system. The application also takes a photo of the bin, what’s inside. It sends the picture and invoice to the customer and then sends customer statistics to the community.”

This extensive innovation is just one of Sunit’s many success stories over the past 20 years. However, its business focus has not merely been confined to waste disposal during this time.

The company’s globally certified computers also tackle a wide range of applications tailored for the likes of fuel transport vehicles, public transport, ambulances, fire engines, police cars, taxis, mining and forest trucks.

Currently, Sunit has nine different multi-purpose models on offer. Alongside meeting the challenges found on-road, off-road, in urban environments and industry, one of the main strengths of its offering is durability.

“The medium lifetime is more than 10 years,” Suutari says. “It’s a very safe product, there is no risk for fire or personal injuries in case of an accident.”

Driving global growth

From its home base in the town of Kajaani, Sunit has consistently expanded its customer base over the past two decades. Alongside Finland and Australia, its customers can also be found across Europe, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Chile and Canada. Given the fluctuations of the international market, the company is constantly broadening its scope, with one common thread.

“We try to find customers who require special types of computers, mostly in the purpose logistic business,” Suutari explains. “This is a vehicle that does not know in the morning where it will end up in the evening.”

And, as Sunit continues its quest for attracting further business abroad, this doesn’t mean that it will be making compromises in quality – or price – any time soon.

“Our customers say, ‘you are good, but you are expensive’,” Suutari says. “But I say that, ‘yeah, but I’m looking for customers who are successful in their business.”

Given the company’s longevity, it’s fair to say that it has been well and truly able to find such.

“It’s better to have those kinds of customers, yes,” Suutari states. “They ask for quality and durability and they look for trusted partners.”

Hundreds of JJ Richards and Sons garbage trucks in Australia are equipped with Sunit’s fixed-mount computers. Image: JJ Richards and Sons
By: James O’Sullivan
07.09.2016