HUSQVARNA BRASTAD FACTORY
by Christian Behrens-Thomsen on May 19, 2022
In Brastad we find Daniel Carlsson, a toolmaker at one of Husqvarna's factories. Together in the maintenance department, they make sure that Husqvarna's machines and production tools work properly. Their daily work includes everything from servicing old tools to creating new tool parts, which involves a lot of prototyping. To take the next step with 3D printing in their business, they purchased a Mark Two from Markforged - so they can create high-quality parts that can be put into production right away.
That 3D printing is something that benefits the Brastad factory is by no means new to Daniel. It acquired its first 3D printer about five years ago. And the benefits of the technology have been clear ever since. Daniel explains:
- When it comes to a new part going into the factory, at first you don't get much more than a drawing. And you have all the measurements there - but visually it's a bit difficult to take in what it actually looks like. How much bigger is it than the old one? So we thought that if you could print out, say, a crank rod, you could take this printed crank rod and check with existing tools if it would really fit.
Saves a lot of time
By then being able to get a clearer sense of whether a new part fits or not, before it goes into production, they save a lot in time in particular. Because once the need for a new tool arises - they save a lot of money by being able to produce something quickly. In addition to size fit, there are other factors that come into play before the tools can go into the machine. Daniel continues:
- 'Before, it was just a measurement on a drawing, and some measurements become so diffuse. All our tools are very tight - it can't slip around in certain places. But like on a grinder we have, it has to be able to move to some extent in a fixture. Not too much, and not too little. But with 3D printing, we were still able to determine that earlier. Before that, we couldn't check things like that until the product arrived.
Required parts for end use
Although Daniel and the rest of the maintenance department had been more than satisfied with the first printer, the idea was formed to produce more useful parts that could be put into production. Daniel got in touch with 3DVerkstan because he was curious about Marforged's X7 - a printer from their range of larger industrial printers, which is on site at another division at Husqvarna. After discussion and evaluation, the choice finally landed on a Mark Two.
- Since we're a smaller factory here, we felt that as long as we can print in the Onyx material and can reinforce it with carbon fiber, it doesn't really matter if the printer is a desktop variant. And when it comes to finished prints, it's night and day difference compared to our old printer. The leap we've made now is huge in terms of quality.
A big plus for internet-based software
With a Mark Two, the Brastad factory can print end products such as gripper claws for machines - something that is otherwise extremely time-consuming to print. The clone consists of very many small parts, which can now be printed in dozens in one go. The components can also be replaced more often, without Daniel having to spend more time producing new ones each time. The fact that the print area is smaller than that of an X7 is not a concern for Daniel:
- It's not that big stuff we're printing. And since they're proprietary products, we have to try to stay within the size limits. Sometimes it can be tight, you have to tinker, but we have very talented people who know 3D and CAD and can customize new parts.
Something that the Brastad factory has printed a lot of are so-called shims - a tray that is designed according to all the parts that go into a machine when you change from one variant to another. Contours are created after each piece to be included, making it easy to see if anything has been lost. Daniel concludes:
- We tested a lot and printed out useful parts in the old 3D printer too, and it worked to a certain level. But it's not as good as the Mark Two. The Markforged printer has been easy to get started with, and a big plus is the internet-based Eiger software. Then, thinking about the next step in the future, it would obviously have been to print in steel - but for now, we're very happy with what we have.
Picture.(Left) Inbana - This is an extension of a conveyor belt with built-in sensors to start and stop the conveyor belt. It ensures an even flow into the machine that will process the parts. Designed and drawn in CAD by Bo Persholm at the Brastad factory. Right. fixture for measuring machine - designed with a screw to expand the head and clamp the inner diameter drive.
Grip jaws - Prototype for a new grinding machine. Used to find a good shape and get as stable a grip as possible in a robot that will load the part into the machine. Designed and drawn by Bo Persholm.
Setting trays - designed to make it easier to keep track of parts going in and out of a grinder during changeovers. Printed as fast as possible with the highest layer height and lowest groove with hexagon pattern, as in this case the surfaces do not matter so much. Designed and drawn by Bo Persholm.
Brastadfabrik's Mark Two printer.