How IRONCAD Has Helped Transform Husqvarna’s Outdoor Power Equipment Manufacturing Processes

Nov 28, 2017 | , , , , ,
Husqvarna Production Line

The Husqvarna Group, top producers of professional chainsaws, minesweeper saws, and trimmers, started using IRONCAD in 2004 for product development. Over the years, many other departments at Husqvarna have adopted IRONCAD as a tool for improving productivity and fostering collaboration throughout their organization. Just recently, Husqvarna decided to use IRONCAD to design its latest $1 billion plant devoted to manufacturing chainsaw chains in Sweden.

Husqvarna Discovers IRONCAD

For many years, Husqvarna AB had been using CATIA for the design and development of its products and had built an impressive library of components. One of their main production groups, however, remained mired with a 2D AutoCAD drafting system because they felt that CATIA was too expensive and complicated to use.

Husqvarna management knew it would be more efficient to use the existing library of 3D components as the basis for all new tools development. Therefore, they needed an easy-to-use 3D solution to manage their library of components and assemblies. In 2004, after a long evaluation, they decided to deploy the IRONCAD Design Collaboration Suite because they could kick start their design process with catalogs of predefined shapes that can be easily modified to create working geometry.

Making Data Available Throughout the Organization

IRONCAD offers the ability to import and export all standard CAD file formats so Husqvarna designers could easily leverage their legacy data and collaborate across platforms. Their CATIA 3D files were easily imported into IRONCAD catalogs including both CAT-Product (assemblies) and CAT-Part (individual part files).

Many of these files now use IRONCAD Smart eBehaviors, which add intelligence to assemblies, parts, and features. These control position, orientation, and sizing, and can even contain user-defined behavior.

Because IRONCAD’s Unified Design Environment lets users create multiple parts in a single file, the Husqvarna production team completely eliminated their data management issues. Once imported, the files were easily adapted using specialized IRONCAD tools such as handles, which can modify geometry in almost every aspect of the design environment. Other tools include the IRONCAD TriBall™, which plays an integral role by enabling positioning of any component or assembly within a 3D scene. Furthermore, the imported 3D geometry can be easily modified in IRONCAD without the need of traditional CAD history.

Use of IRONCAD at Husqvarna has grown over the years. Multiple departments within Husqvarna have adopted the solution, including the QA lab, which now uses IRONCAD for quality control. Even the foundry and manufacturing department use IRONCAD to solve layout and production issues.

“We have the great benefit of IRONCAD in production at Husqvarna and are quite satisfied with the functionality, training, and support,” said Åke Lindholm, IT Coordinator NORDIC, the Husqvarna Group.

Using IRONCAD to Design a New Factory Production Line

Recently, Husqvarna decided to establish its new chainsaw production line in a factory previously used for the manufacture of sewing machines. The design of the new production line was based on the floor plan of the premises in a 2D DWG drawing which had been updated and corrected with laser-scanned dimensions.

Drawing on their familiarity with IRONCAD’s ability to move between 2D and 3D and make legacy data available and usable, Husqvarna effortlessly imported the 2D drawing into the IRONCAD 3D environment and then supplemented with walls and other architectural details.

In this way, Husqvarna designers had a “blank canvas” of about 10,000 square meters to start planning the new manufacturing lines replete with production equipment. Using the flexibility that’s built into IRONCAD, various layout proposals were easily manipulated and optimized during the all-important concept phase.

Using IRONCAD’s 3D design environment, they first created a production line in broad terms answering such questions as:

  1. Which elements and processes need to be managed?
  2. How can production roadblocks be prevented?
  3. What are the cycle times at each station and where are the bottlenecks?
  4. Can trucks pass?
  5. What does the material flow look like?
  6. Are ergonomics considered at each work station?

For the final design and layout, IRONCAD easily imported contractor CAD files despite the fact that these 3D files were delivered in different file formats.

The team found it easy to simplify many of the highly detailed and unwieldy machine assemblies. The designers were able to easily place the various 3D components into the virtual factory layout to ensure all of the requirements were met such as checking clearances, distances between cells, and identifying potential bottlenecks.

IRONCAD’s flexibility in working with and modifying imported data allowed Husqvarna to fully envision the factory layout before any physical components were introduced into the factory. The final design included all transport lanes, racks, tools, wagons and other production resources.

Furthermore, Husqvarna engineers were delighted to discover that IRONCAD’s flexibility made it possible to make unexpected changes quickly and without any problems — a feature that is unique in the world of 3D CAD but absolutely vital for design creativity and productivity.

IRONCAD Benefits for Husqvarna

Lower investment costs for:

  • CAD licenses
  • Support agreements
  • Education

Time saving, efficiency:

  • Faster, free dynamic approach to design
  • Support throughout the entire concept phase
  • Easier design reuse
  • Time-saving catalogs that kick start the design process
  • Multiple parts in a single file. No more data management

Communication with the outside world:

  • Import CATIA, SWX, Solid Edge, Inventor, Creo, UG/NX, and AutoCAD
  • Modify imported geometry directly
  • Create renderings and animations