Delivery times greatly reduced
Those able to deliver products quickly have a big competitive advantage. That is why since recently the grids manufactured by Las-Pers in Oss, Netherlands, have been welded using the Valk Welding welding production cell. The new process is 60% faster and of higher quality than the previous, very outdated cell. Company manager Antwan van Keulen: "This has made it possible for us to sharply reduce the production time and - accordingly - the delivery times of our grids. And that's what the market wants."
Las-Pers, whose tailor-made grids are found mainly in industry, utility and home building and in the transport sector, had already automated its production process at an early stage. Antwan van Keulen: "When the time for replacement arrives, that presents an opportunity to make improvements. As well as shorter cycle times we wanted higher quality, the ability to process various sizes at the same time and a higher level of user-friendliness. It had to be possible for employee to operate the cell without any specialist knowledge. Right from the orientation phase on Valk Welding and us were off to a very good start. And the relationship has grown even stronger throughout the process. Their slogan ‘The strong connection’ is a good match for the DNA of Las-Pers.”
Handling and welding in a single production cell
Antwan van Keulen: "Valk Welding produced a clear concept and summarised it in a sound offer that clearly specified all of the parts." The proposal was for a Panasonic TL-20000 WG3 welding robot that welds a raised edge on the grid and a Panasonic HS-165F handling robot that takes the basic grids from a stack and places them on the work table and then stacks the welded grid again. The positioning is carried out by an automatically adjustable jig support system supplied with the roller tracks by third parties. The cell is protected entirely in conformity with the CE standard and comes with an extraction system supplied by Lemtech. www.lemtech.nl
Easy one-man operation
Grids of various sizes are given an edge in the cell. An edging line positioned next to the welding production cell delivers the edges cut precisely to size and in the right order to the worker. The worker prepares the grid and the welding robot then carries out the finishing. The handling robot ensures that the next basic grid is always placed on the worker's table so that he can continue to work in one place. "What this amounts to is that the robots work together with the workers, and in a completely safe way."
Various sizes simultaneously
"Each order involves grids of various sizes. The welding production cell is now able to process them all at the same time. The sizes of the both the grid and the edges are taken from the ERP system. Valk Welding has worked in partnership with Techtron in Veenendal for the communication between the cell and our ERP system. Valk Welding has ensured that the welding robot always welds the right position of each grid size. We don't even need to program anything ourselves", explains Van Keulen.
Example for sister companies
"Sister companies from all over Europe are now visiting us to see how we have tackled this. Even though manpower costs much less in Eastern Europe, it is not possible to reduce the delivery times there. Manual welding takes over 3.5 minutes, but we are now able to do this 2 minutes faster per grid. We did of course have to invest in our welding production cell, but the shorter delivery times make it possible for us to keep our order portfolio full. We would now be able to produce an urgent order for 200 m2 of grids in a single day", concludes Antwan van Keulen. www.las-pers.nl
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