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11/29/2023|Brunvoll AS 

High Availability of Parts for Shipbuilding

As early as the beginning of the 20th century, Brunvoll Motorfabrik, which was founded at that time, produced the first diesel engines and propellers for fishing vessels. Based on an idea of the Gjendemsjø brothers, two local fishermen, the company began developing and manufacturing tunnel thrusters in 1964 – still a common principle of marine propulsion. 

Brunnvoll is also one of the partners in the Sea Zero project
In addition to Hurtigruten, Brunnvoll is also one of the partners in the Sea Zero project, the goal being to build a completely zero-emission ship by 2030.  

Today’s Brunvoll Group, based in Molde, Norway, stands more than ever for powerful marine propulsion systems, reliable gearboxes and innovative control electronics. Around 520 employees at five production locations ensure smooth processes from development to production and on through to service.

Innovative marine propulsion systems with a service life of over 25 years 

From fishing boats to cruise liners – marine propulsion and control systems from Brunvoll are in use worldwide. “There are currently over 10,000 units in operation,” explains Magne Gøran Lyngstad, Vice President Process and Production Engineering, describing the wide-ranging applications of the important ship components. 75 percent of production is destined for export and the product range is constantly undergoing further development. “70,000 hours a year are spent on the development of innovations.” The reliability of the propulsion systems is so high that their service life exceeds that of the vessels themselves. “Over 25 years is typical,” adds Kjetil Hoem, Supervisor Investment Projects. This means that in addition to development and production – which is carried out almost entirely in-house – service is also of great importance at Brunvoll.

Two unattended shifts per day thanks to intelligent automation solutions 

“We guarantee high availability of spare parts because short response times are crucial,” says Kjetil Hoem, explaining the high level of service readiness. “Our wide range of products requires an enormous variety of parts, from small to large. Mostly we are talking about batch sizes of less than 15 parts.” This requires a high degree of production flexibility. Magne Gøran Lyngstad names one solution: “With intelligent automation solutions, we can run two unattended shifts a day in addition to the conventional shift and significantly increase our capacity.” Previously, Brunvoll had primarily used automated machining centers and mill-turn machines. “A recent investment involved the production of complex turned parts for the first time.” This is exactly where DMG MORI came on the scene.

Automated 6-sided complete machining including the Vision system 

The machine tool manufacturer’s automation solution is based on the modular MATRIS system and includes an NTX 3000, a conveyor system for Euro pallets and a FANUC robot with automatic change of grippers. Seven can be accommodated in the cell. With the aid of a 3D vision system, the robot picks up workpieces from the Euro pallets and transfers them into the machine. An interim storage station allows the robot to grip the workpieces. Finished parts are removed, cleaned in a wash station and then replaced on the pallets. “Depending on the size of the components, we can load the workpieces on the pallets in several tiers using intermediate wooden shelves. In this case, the robot also handles the shelves,” says Kjetil Hoem. The entire process is controlled by the userfriendly MAPPS controller. The whole system is also prepared for automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which Brunvoll plans to use in future for the supply and removal of the pallets.

NTX 3000: High-performance turn-mill machining with 130 Nm spindle 

Brunvoll chose the NTX 3000 to machine workpieces having diameters of 45 to 400 mm. The maximum length of the parts, which weigh up to 120 kg, is 400 mm. The versatile turn-mill center even ensures 6-sided complete machining of complex components. In addition, milling operations are possible, comparable to those on a machining center, thanks to the powerful compactMASTER turn-mill spindle with over 130 Nm of torque. The tools used are equipped with a Balluff chip, so that the correct tool data can be read into the machine at any time.

Kjetil Hoem, Supervisor Investment Projects, Brunvoll AS
Kjetil Hoem, Supervisor Investment Projects, Brunvoll AS

The MATRIS system on the NTX 3000 enables us to manufacture a wide range of different components fully automatically and reliably. And it does so for batch sizes of less than 15 parts, incl. gripper and chuck jaw changeover.

Kjetil Hoem, Supervisor Investment Projects, Brunvoll AS

Maximum flexibility through automatic chuck jaw changeover

The extremely diverse workpieces also require extremely diverse workholding . “With this manufacturing solution, it was essential that the robot could also change the chuck jaws”, said Magne Gøran Lyngstad describing one of the challenges. For this purpose, DMG MORI equipped it with a special gripper and integrated a rack system in the cell with space for 60 sets of three jaws. The robot can handle the jaws into the robotic cell via a feed area and either store them or use them immediately. The clamping system developed by DMQP (DMG MORI Qualified Products) partner Schunk is designed explicitly for such automatic changeover. The jaws, as well as the gripper hands and pallets, are identified by an RFID system to ensure absolute process reliability. The reason Brunvoll commissioned DMG MORI to design and install the automation solution was partly because everything came from a single source – with one contact person who coordinated everything. The competitive price was another key factor. A team in Japan was responsible for the design of the manufacturing solution. “We also carried out the preliminary acceptance there in order to be able to make any subsequent improvements easily,” recalls Kjetil Hoem. The automated NTX 3000 has been operating extremely reliably since its final installation in Molde.

Automation enables greater focus on research and better service 

The Brunvoll AS plant in Molde, Norway.
The Brunvoll AS plant in Molde, Norway.

The increase in capacity due to unattended production at night and during the weekend is just one argument for Brunvoll to focus on automated production systems. “The fact that we are now using this approach in turning as well compensates for the shortage of skilled staff and personnel bottlenecks”, commented Magne Gøran Lyngstad, justifying the use of such solutions. “We are utilizing the potential of our well-trained employees for research and service rather than for comparatively simple machine setup.” Although Brunvoll has a good training program with currently 40 young employees, the increasing use of autonomous production enables more independent and flexible planning. “Automation solutions help us remain competitive and grow sustainably.”


  • Founded in 1912 for the manufacture of diesel engines and marine propellers in Harøya, Norway, located in Molde since 1918
  • 1964 Development and manufacture of innovative tunnel thrusters
  • 5 locations in Norway with over 500 employees for the manufacture of marine propulsion gearboxes, incl. control and automation systems

Industrial Automation Solutions for Marine Propulsion Systems | Brunvoll AS, Norway

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