Client: Gary Blenkinsopp
Location: Durham, UK
VinZero Partner: Cadline
Industry: Manufacturing & Data Management
Autodesk Solutions: Autodesk Fusion 360, Autodesk Moldflow, Autodesk Powershape, Autodesk PowerMill
Husqvarna is a Swedish manufacturer of outdoor power products including chainsaws, trimmers, brush cutters, cultivators, garden tractors, and robotic lawnmowers. Its UK headquarters are in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. At any given time, Husqvarna has multiple high-value and technically complex projects running all over the world. It is critical, therefore, that it delivers these projects in a timely fashion. If it is late on one project, then there can be a domino effect, with the other projects behind impacted too.
Husqvarna uses Autodesk® PowerShape® CAD modelling software for manufacture which it also uses for viewing and interrogating the designs. In addition, Husqvarna has in place the full Autodesk® Moldflow® filling analysis for plastic injection moulding. It has also just upgraded and implemented Autodesk® Fusion 360 with PowerMill® CNC machining software for manufacturing electrodes, turning modifications for manufacturing and engineering jigs and fixtures.
DESIGNING AND MACHINING TOOLS IN PLACE:
Gary Blenkinsopp, Technical & Tooling Manager at Husqvarna, said: “PowerMill is new for us. It is step on from the old-fashioned way of doing things where you work primarily with 2D drawings. Everything is now in 3D. We have one person who has recently joined the company who is experienced in Powermill and we have trained another two people up. We are keen to give them enough time on the software to become conversant with it.”
Husqvarna chose to work with Autodesk Platinum Partner, Cadline, to support it in using the Autodesk software and to provide training on the software. The challenge for Husqvarna was that historically it outsourced much of its tooling work to third parties, but it was running into delays with timelines not being met and the cost of outsourcing electrodes, including associated transport charges. All this meant Husqvarna was incurring significant expenses on an ongoing basis and the approach was also causing issues with project timelines. To address these concerns, it decided to invest in a Hurco VMX Series- 3 Axis Performance CNC Machine and to bring its tooling capabilities in-house.
GAUGING THE BENEFITS:
The use of Autodesk PowerMill itself brings a range of benefits to Husqvarna. The surface finish controls on the software are superb. Also, macros can be written and then batch processed for the components and the different variants of component, and then automated.
But beyond this, what are the benefits of Husqvarna doing a lot of the CNC work itself? According to Blenkinsopp, it comes down to time and cost. “We are limited in size in terms of what we can put on our machine,” he said. “Previously, if we had to send items out to the Midlands or to Yorkshire, for example, to be worked on, there would be a transport cost involved with it and sometimes a delay in getting the transport. This new approach, however, gives us the flexibility to pick and choose what we want to do.”
“If it is a quick turnaround, we can definitely opt to do it ourselves,” added Blenkinsopp. “We can have total control in-house of that workflow from inquiry right through to production. If there is a more complex, longer-term project, we can still subcontract it but that frees up our machine to do other work.”