Cleaning machines are among the few that are subjected to uncompromising treatment even before they are put to use. Right from the time they are conceptualised, prototyped, manufactured and launched, the cleaning machines are put to stringent and scientific tests at every stage to ascertain quality delivery. Clean India Journal team takes a tour of the Kärcher factory site in Winnenden, Stuttgart-Germany, to experience the tethering, battering and wrapping in the making of professional cleaning machines. Mohana M reports
Among the 24 production and logistics facilities of Kärcher, the Winnenden premises holds history of the first machines that were rolled out of this workshop, which is today one of the most modern factories in the world. Situated in Stuttgart where the famous Benz is housed, the Kärcher Winnenden factory is a self-sustained property with multiple facilities for employees and visitors. From workshops to warehouses, it completes end-to-end requirement of production and storage.
The facility is equipped with the superior technology and advanced manufacturing provisions, implementing the Kärcher standard processes in its production line. The Clean India team on a guided tour of the entire Kärcher Winneden facility witnessed the extent of research and development, inclusion of latest manufacturing methods, precision in the assembling, perfection through rigorous testing methods and finally packaging & stocking/delivering the cleaning machine.
The process of the making of a perfect machine begins with the best of the engineers at Kärcher conceptualising and viewing the machine in Virtual Reality as a design prototype. The VR-room offers an insight into the development efforts at Kärcher and how new products are improved, at an early stage through virtual simulations. To this end, a 3D-animation of a H&G or professional product is shown and examples from virtual flow, structure and injection moulding simulations are presented. It is at this stage that the whole machine is viewed, scrutinised and developed before getting on to making a prototype. This flow simulation enables to identify any possible faults or shortfall at an early stage of the design. Kärcher has the added advantage of all its components being manufactured at its facility enabling modification and customisation to attain the right results. Hence, more than 80% of the prototypes designed are the final product.
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“What sound does a private customer expect from his pressure washer? What requirements regarding noise levels does a cleaning device have to conform to if it is being used in a hospital? How to create a silent and pleasant sounding product? These questions, always with regard to target groups, are addressed in the sound laboratory. The sound of future Kärcher products is developed in this class-1 facility – in hundreds of small development steps requiring up-to-date measuring techniques and computer simulations.”[/box]
Following the simulation and design approval, the product formulation enters the prototype stage, where Kärcher’s creative team using the most modern techniques makes the machine a reality. All metal and plastic components and nozzles and parts are given shape using the laser sintering technology, one of the most expensive and quickest means of making a prototype.
Laser Sintering printer which creates tough and geometrically intricate components or prototypes uses a high-powered laser to fuse or sinter powdered thermoplastics. One key advantage is that as a part is made, it remains encased in powder. This eliminates the need for support structures and allows for complex geometries.
This machine can create complex and intricate prototypes in a single piece without the need to fuse together different parts to complete the whole design. The benefits of such modern techniques are that even the prototype when tested yields the same results as one expects of the final product.