The small Estonian development company Meiren Snow and its creative use of SolidWorks is entitled to a lot of credit in the fight against this winters heavy snowfalls in Scandinavia.
The company’s snow plows has been taking part in ensuring that major parts of the Scandinavian roads and airports this has been cleared of huge amounts of snow. That way a lot more cars and planes has been able to reach their destinations.
SolidWorks plays a key role in the development of the company’s innovative solutions and is part of the reason that it in only a few years has managed to become an important and rapidly growing player in the Scandinavian market for snowplows.
The company deals mainly with product development and the main product is snowplows. Besides it also works with product and project development for other companies and furthermore it develops equipment for road maintenance. The production of the company’s products are placed with other affiliates of the mother company.
Focus on development
The development company is an intensive user of SolidWorks. The first five years of the company’s life, its focus was mainly on product development which took place in close cooperation with customers. The sales activities at that time had less attention but that has changed drastically over the last two years, explains CEO Toomas Uibo.
In 2009, the Estonian company got its first commercial breakthrough in Norway, and last year the company also managed to make a breakthrough in Sweden, where its market share is rapidly growing and, according Toomas Uibo already can be measured in percentages. The last two years the company has managed to triple its turnover.
Toomas Uibo describes Meiren Snow as “a relatively small company with a great potential»: “We basically work with innovation and SolidWorks plays a decisive role in our development efforts. The 3D CAD system combined with FEM-analysis and motion simulation in SolidWorks Simulation is crucial in both design and engineering of our products, he explains.”
Design and simulation
Tõnis Ots is a mechanical designer in the development department and a daily user of SolidWorks. He said the company today has a great number of different models of snow plows that are developed with SolidWorks. As an example he mentions the entire product family of high speed diagonal snowplows for mounting on trucks. Tõnis Ots says: “An assembly construction of a snow plow contains more than 1,000 individual parts, and many of these are designed as sheet metal parts. We use a lot of different configurations of our assemblies to show different levels of detail and the kinematic positions of the snowplow.”
Toomas Uibo explains that simulation with SolidWorks Simulation plays a key role in product development. This applies to both calculations of strength via FEM analysis and simulation of mechanisms and movements. Tõnis Ots: «We have made a large number of strength calculations. FEM analysis helps us to optimize the design of the individual parts of our snowplows and gives us an early overview in the development process of engineering properties with respect to for example stiffness and the overall strength of the plows.» He adds that the company also has performed FEM analysis for the development of other products such as conveyors, crane box girders, wind turbine foundations, platforms and stairs etc.
Toomas Uibo says: “We see a growing interest from Scandinavian companies to use our services in this area. Firstly we have the right tools, secondly we possess knowledge and skills and last but not least we can offer low project costs.” He adds that the company in some cases also have used SolidWorks Sustainability to make assessments of the sustainability of products, but this kind of analysis is as of yet not a part of everyday life with the company.
Reflections on PDM
Currently the development company is not using a PDM system, but Toomas Uibo reveals that PDM is among the subjects included in the considerations about the future development of the company: «We have discussed PDM. Our product portfolio is growing rapidly and so does the number of 3D-assemblies and parts as well as 2D-drawings, so it may be necessary for us on a longer term to implement a PDM system to keep track of all our technical information.» he says.