Headquartered in Vergennes, Vermont, the team at Country Home Products enjoys caring for the land, and take great pride in improving the place they call home. Since the 1960’s, when co-founder Lyman P. Wood changed the future of gardening by developing the first product, a Troy-Bilt Rototiller, Country Home Products has been manufacturing and selling tools that make outdoor work easier and more enjoyable. In 1985 the DR® Power Equipment brand was formed based on the belief that if you’re going to do a job, it should be done right , and the same goes for your tools. This explains DR’s tagline that ends all their TV commercials: “DR is Professional Power, DONE RIGHT.”
DR Power designs and builds durable outdoor power equipment for the do-it-yourself homeowner. With a talented team of six engineers currently, they focus on two missions . The first is to invent, design, analyze, prototype, test, and prepare drawings for new outdoor power equipment products. These designers focus on new and innovative machines.
The second is to evaluate and redesign existing products to improve manufacturability, availability, and cost and to address any field problems. These designers support existing products by reducing warranties and making enhancements to existing products . Averaging three new major machine design projects in a year, Country Home Products turned to CAPINC for their CAD tool to help design their projects.
Since 2001 the DR® engineering team has used SOLIDWORKS to help craft their new projects and enhance existing designs. Jeff Hartnett, a Mechanical Design Engineer at DR® Power Equipment explained how SOLIDWORKS has made designing, as well as sharing designs, that much easier for them.
“We use SOLIDWORKS for a variety of parts (e.g. sheet metal, weldments, castings, plastic). It’s easy to provide either drawing or models to vendors once complete. Explodes are used to create technical publications like user manuals.”
Along with SOLIDWORKS, Jeff uses Simulation for all their design analysis. Previously, they would preform physical testing of prototypes. But the cost and time spent on prototypes and in-field testing wasn’t practical for the amount of analysis they were looking for. Jeff see’s the many benefits that Simulation has had on their team.
“Simulation is very flexible. We can use it early in the process if we’re just trying to come up with just a general idea, working on conceptual stuff, it’s pretty easy and flexible to use there. And then it’s great for getting into the details and building complex assemblies. Using those to create drawings that we’ll send to manufacturers. It’s easy to convert files types for working with vendors, and it’s got a lot of flexibility with things like surfacing to make pretty complex shapes. We’ll work with industrial designers on the look of a machine and having all the features and functionalities that come with SOLIDWORKS allows us to make things that they come up with.”
With a dedicated design and manufacturing team, Country Home Products continues to produce high quality tools and equipment. One of their unique designs is the DR® RapidFire Flywheel Log Splitter, also known as a kinetic log splitter, which uses a heavy spinning flywheel to hold energy from the engine. When the handle is engaged, the flywheel instantly propels the ram, which pushes the log through the slit wedge, popping it apart in seconds. It’s a much faster log splitter design than hydraulic. The designers at DR® Power Equipment designed and tested these splitters using SOLIDWORKS and Simulation. Watch the video case study below to learn the details behind this great design, including the Premier K22 Model, which offers an electric or gas option.
With so many existing designs and documents being created, the manual revision control previously in place for file management was not ideal. The engineering team needed a secure and defined way to organize and manage their existing and future data. Jeff revealed how the addition of Enterprise PDM solved their data management dilemma.
“We’ve got six different engineers, all maybe at various stages of a project, and E[nterprise] PDM has a nice workflow so its standardized how we take care of all the files, assemblies, and drawings. It enforces revision control so if we’re really busy working on a project, it keeps us in line and keeps the documentation really clear, which is great for the sustaining engineers who have to go back and address problems later on down the line and work with vendors to address manufacturing issues and things like that. EPDM has been great in that respect.”
Recently, Dana Seero, president and owner of CAPINC invested in one of DR® Power Equipment’s RapidFire Flywheel Log Splitters. Watch and see as Dana enlists the help of a novice user to test out how the flywheel works for them.