Offline programming and modular concepts
Currently, the line in Choceň operates in two shifts. The three-shift operation has not yet come into play, due to the global economic slowdown and sales due to the pandemic and the fact that Kögel is using this time to improve the logistics of the line’s inbound supply. “At the moment, we are not going to full capacity yet, but we are ready for it. In three-shift operation, the line will allow us to produce 44-45 frames a day in 24 hours.
We can operate the line with one person per shift. All six robots and all automatic processes running on it are supervised by one production operator, “explains Aleš Hájek. Labor savings are welcome, he said, but even more important is the issue of weld quality.” The output from the welding robotic line is as for welds, of constant high quality, there are no fluctuations in the quality of welds as in manual human welding, and that is the most important thing for us. It has been confirmed to us that we can increase our production capacity while maintaining or even improving the quality standard. “
With the implementation of the line, Kögel has moved to a new level in the field of robotic welding. While so far it has been able to robotically weld only partial subassemblies of frames, the new line allows it to weld complete chassis frames of semi-trailers and trailers. The overall efficiency of the production process is further enhanced by the offline programming of robotic stations offered by Valk Welding. Unlike previously implemented robotic workstations, where the program for a new product had to be programmed directly on the robot, the line has the option of offline programming. So there is no downtime for programming, because the programmer prepares a program for welding a new type of chassis frame on his computer and transfers it to the line - deployed only after its completion.
And how does Kögel’s production manager see the future of robotics and cooperation with Valk Welding?
“When entering the project, we thought ahead and with our partner Valk Welding we designed a modular line. This means that if we need to further increase our production capacity, we can add another workstation with three robots. We have a pre-prepared hall, the possibility of extension they also have conveyors, we can easily expand the line with another module. We are ready to grow, “concludes Aleš Hájek.