Tent supplier unique with in-house production

Besides renting out tents for events, tents are used increasingly often as a semi-permanent alternative to new-builds of storage areas and business premises. Kontent Structures Group in Alphen aan de Rijn has operated in this market since 2000. Earlier this year, the Group set up a new production facility, KS Metal Works, and that makes it the first production company in the Netherlands for the commercial sale of tent accommodation. The welding-robot system already requires expansion in order to comply with the strongly growing demand in the Netherlands and abroad.

KS metal works

In the area of rental, leasing and sales of tents, Kontent Structures Group provides a wide programme, ranging from pagoda tents and aluminium halls to polygonal tents and semi-permanent spaces. A large number of those products require tent flooring and frame structures with the necessary couplers. Owner Arno Regtvoort of KS Metal Works said “In the new factory we only make the steel floor frames and components such as couplers and base plates. This process is dominated by sawing and cutting sections, composing complete frames and couplers and welding those pieces.”

Use of a welding robot

“As we were not new to metal working and as this concerned standard products, we were able to optimise production to best effect,” continued Arno Regtvoort. “It was clear from the start that manufacturing the anticipated numbers would mean that the floor frames would have to be welded with a robot and that the tubular sections would be cut with a tube laser. For the welding-robot part we started talking to welding-robot integrators. The reach of the welding robot for the 5.0 x 2.5 m large floor frames required a robot in a suspended construction. Valk Welding came up with a concept where this could be solved with a Panasonic welding robot with a reach of more than 3 m without requiring a suspended construction. After everything had been worked out on ‘paper’, we were able to set up the production area by the end of 2018, install the machinery and the welding-robot system and start up production within just 2 months.”

Welding robot with exceptional reach

Cees Wieringa of Valk Welding said “Panasonic developed a welding robot with an exceptional reach of 3281 mm. This model, the HH-020L, has been developed specifically as a cost-saving alternative for set-ups that previously required 2 welding robots or a welding robot on a suspended construction. As KS Metal Works wanted to weld floor frames and small components on the robot, we put this welding robot on a 13-metre long Track-YX-RL-FSNM system. Over this length, the welding robot moves along 2 workstations with the option to expand with workstations on the other side of the track.”

By using the welding robot, we are saving time, costs and space.

Arno Regtvoort

Capacity quickly expanded

Arno Regtvoort explained “We had set up production with a forecast of 700 floor frames in the first year. We had already exceeded that number after six months. We were already talking to clients about orders for several hundred units, and we needed to expand our capacity quickly. So we had a workstation positioned on the other side of the welding-robot’s track where we can weld floor frames of twice the size with dimensions of 10 x 2.5 m. With the welding robot, we can weld a complete frame of 5 x 2.5 m in 43 minutes. After a little fine-tuning of the programme we can cut that time even further. If you included the changeover times, the welding robot provides a complete floor frame every hour. Manually this would take us much longer and we would need more welding stations and welders. By using the welding robot, we are saving time, costs and space.”

Trend continues

Arno Regtvoort expects that the demand for semi-permanent accommodation for business and industrial purposes will continue to grow. “We are seeing a rising trend in Germany and Poland and steadily in the Netherlands too. Our strength is that we can provide engineering, production and assembly in house and that we have 13,000 m2 of storage, so we can deliver quickly. We would be able to sort out an insulated hall as a temporary solution for a metal company within a month.”

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