Autodesk Digital Prototyping Software Helps Karcher Clean Up With Innovative All-in-One System

It’s a dirty world out there — and Karcher North America (Karcher) is doing its best to clean it up.

A leading provider of consumer, commercial and industrial cleaning equipment, Karcher has been named the Autodesk November Inventor of the Month for using Autodesk Product Design Suite to design the LANDA ECOS: a mobile “wash and reclaim” system that combines a hot water pressure washing system with an integrated wastewater recovery and filtration system — all housed on a tandem-axle trailer.

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As a fully self-contained mobile system, ECOS can go almost anywhere, providing contract cleaners, municipalities and other customers with an easy way to clean sidewalks, parking lots and other surfaces. After cleaning, the wash water is collected by the vacuum recovery system to be filtered and reused — or simply to be discharged in a different location — providing an environmentally friendly benefit.

“This is the first all-in-one trailer system on the market that has all the components — holding tanks, pressure washer, heating system, recovery system — fully integrated into its design,” said Shannon Taylor, senior engineering manager at Karcher. “Autodesk Product Design Suite played a big role in shaping its final form by letting us digitally prototype our ideas before anything was built.”

Working with Autodesk Platinum Partner KETIV, Karcher received the training it needed to take full advantage of the functionality within Product Design Suite. For example, by using the finite element analysis (FEA) tool within Autodesk Inventor 3D design software, Karcher was able to come up with a design for the frame of the trailer that reduced the overall weight by 30 percent.

Karcher used Product Design Suite to rethink internal components of the ECOS as well. To provide a more robust water-heating capability for the ECOS, the company designed its own oil burners in-house rather than purchasing them from a third party.

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Using Inventor software, the company designed the housing assembly of the oil burner to provide optimum airflow for a flame, and then shared the 3D model with its overseas manufacturing partner to easily communicate what was required and ensure they could manufacture it.

The advantage of digital prototyping across the entire workflow also extends to product documentation. Using Autodesk Showcase 3D visualization software allowed Karcher to provide photorealistic images of the ECOS trailer to the departments responsible for producing operator manuals, service manuals and manufacturing manuals — reducing the lead-time for creating these items.

“Product Design Suite is a big part of our workflow now,” said Paul Linton, senior engineering manger at Karcher. “From electrical line diagrams, to design and analysis of individual components, to final product documentation, it speeds up the process and gets our product to market faster with fewer errors.”

More details on Karcher’s use of Product Design Suite as a competitive differentiator can be seen in this video on the Autodesk YouTube Channel.