At INFACO the next generation hand power tools for agriculture are designed and manufactured. To speed up product development, the French company relies on modern technologies like Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
Almost 40 years of expertise
In 1984 the first electric scissors were invented by Daniel Delmas, the founder of INFACO. Almost 40 years later, the company based in Cahuzac-sur-Vère in south-western France has become the global market leader for electric pruning shears and other battery-powered hand tools for agriculture. Among INFACO’s 120 employees is Valentin Vergnes. The technician works at the R&D office and is in charge of prototyping and testing.
“INFACO is a company with the label ‘origine France garantie’ – this means that our products are designed, tested and developed on our premises with mainly French components”, Valentin Vergnes says.
Employing modern technologies
With emphasis on in-house production, saving valuable time during research and development is of the essence. To that end, INFACO uses modern manufacturing methods.
“Thanks to additive technologies in particular, we can create complex prototypes very fast, test the designs and make changes before the pieces then go into production”, Valentin Vergnes explains.
While the final plastic parts are injection molded, 3D printing has become an indispensable rapid prototyping tool for the French company.
Achieving key material properties
At INFACO’s test lab, prototypes of shear casings, mounts, and covers are created with the help of 3D printers.
“We started with the FDM technology but quickly realized that we needed more resistant pieces that had properties similar to the injection molded parts”, emphasizes Valentin Vergnes.
Especially for conducting field tests with electric shears, close to realistic material properties are crucial. INFACO therefore decided to venture into the realm of selective laser sintering (SLS) and invested into a Sintratec S2 system at the beginning of 2022.
Developing the next-gen shears
Soon after installation, the benefits of SLS became evident.
“The mechanical properties of the PA12 material are ideal and by means of the Sintratec Polishing Station we can achieve a great surface finish”, Valentin Vergnes says. For the development of INFACO’s latest electric scissors – the F3020 – his team relied heavily on the Sintratec S2. “The assembly and all the plastic pieces of the F3020 were prototyped rapidly and only by means of the S2”, Vergnes points out.
Once the design was thoroughly tested and adjusted, this 9th generation of Daniel Delmas’ invention successfully launched to the market recently. After about 8 months in operation, Valentin Vergnes is convinced by the Swiss SLS system.
“The Sintratec S2 is undoubtedly a great machine for us, delivering parts with great quality at an exceptional speed and thus allowing us to develop much faster at a lower cost”, he summarizes.
For the technician it is certain that INFACO will continue to rely on SLS in future projects.
Text: Janek Huschke
Find out more about INFACO at infaco.com.
For more information about Sintratec, please visit sintratec.com.