Friday, June 2, 2017

Swedish Modular Factory One-Ups the World

Lindbäcks, one of Sweden’s leading residential and commercial modular factories is building a new 54,000 sq ft warehouse to store finished modules and operated entirely without the help of humans.

Lindbacks factory 1.jpg
Their current factory
This fully automated warehouse should be fully operational by December 2017, the same time their new 450,000 sq ft modular factory opens making it the largest in Europe.


They are striving as much as possible to imitate a highly automated car factory. Lindbacks  has developed customized handling equipment with a fully automatic electric forklift that will work with the finished housing modules.

When a module is completed in the factory, an automatic truck will load the module and place it in a specific location in the warehouse. When the module is ready for shipping it will be loaded onto a truck without human interaction. The electric lifting equipment will work in direct connection to the truck that will take the modules to the construction site.


They will use automated equipment similar to what is used for shipping containers
The new special purpose trucks will be able to handle the modules with much more care than a regular truck. There is always a risk of damaging a module with a manually loaded truck, but now they have taken away the risk entirely, said a company spokesperson.

No people will also be in the warehouse except for routine maintenance of the equipment. This is rather unique. They have construction in the factory already, but Lindbacks wants to take it up one or two levels.

The electric hoisting equipment will be powered by large solar electricity array it plans to build on the roof. They hope the investment will pay for itself quickly because there is no need to have someone manning the station. The hoisting equipment will travel to the electric docking station when is needs recharged.

A challenge to the solution has been the variety of housing modules.

Since the modules are very different in size and shape and weight, that means the automated equipment must have a very broad range of what it can handle.

Many modular companies are locked into their current activities and can not think freely while Lindbäcks has been able to paint with broad brush strokes and has a solution that is energy efficient, never has to take a lunch break, go to the bathroom or take a smoke break. Plus all the finished modules are stored in a closed environment.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coach,

Just a few comments from someone who knows not a lot about this company other than looking at their website.
1) They build apartments
2) They are in Sweeden which most likely means they are government subsidized/funded and have a very limited number of people in the work force.

Why this is of limited value to us in the US.
1) Americans generally will not live in high density, multi-story apartments. We have lots of land and wealth, so we don't have to.
2) Americans generally demand customization. I'm not a factory mechanization expert, but I would guess this company's automation only works when they build repetitive modules.

This company may be a template for future housing demand in the US. There would have to be a huge shift in market demand for this to make sense.

Devin Perry, NAHB's Building Systems Councils said...

If you are interested in learning more about the new Lindbäcks production facility, the Building Systems Councils is hosting a free webcast with a number of high ranking executives from the Swedish modular manufacturer this December. For more details including the exact date and registration information, email Devin Perry at Dperry@NAHB.org.