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Finnish Manufacturer's Production Now 10x Faster After Installing Robotic Welding Stations

Fortaco Group is a global provider of vehicle cabins, steel fabrications and vehicle assemblies for heavy off-highway equipment and marine industries. Known for committing resources to advanced production solutions, Fortaco recently jumped in to robotic welding and sped up production time tenfold.

Fortaco currently has production facilities in Finland, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. Pemamek has delivered several robot welding stations to three of those sites.

PEMA Robot welding station includes integrated work-piece handling.

 

 

"We have done a lot of research on new materials, production concepts and future trends. Based on these findings we have made major updates in Fortaco's operations and strategy. In the future, automation and robotics will be our key development areas," describes Lars Hellberg, President & CEO for Fortaco Group.

"Our ultimate target is to have 100 robots in our production (currently 50), including cutting, welding, and handling. Our aim is to be the pioneer and shape the industry," says Hellberg.

PEMA Robot Welding Station at Fortaco Kalajoki

The Fortaco factory in Kalajoki, Finland is a strategic partner for global marine and mining companies, specializing in fabricating heavy steel structures, such as motor platforms, oil sumps, and special vessel components. The average volume is 1500 manufactured products per year.

Jari Hakalahti standing next to PEMA Robot welding station.

 

 

The main challenge behind the decision to invest in welding automation was the need to boost production efficiency.

"In order to maintain its competitiveness, it is essential for Finnish heavy steel manufacturing to invest in automation and robotics. We have invested in PEMA welding automation because of the need for better welding efficiency and overall production capacity," describes Jari Hakalahti, Welding Coordinator & QHSE Manager at the Fortaco Kalajoki factory.

The PEMA Robot welding station is programmed with PEMA WeldControl 300 OFFLINE. The system is based on 3D-software, making a pre-analysis of workpiece and enabling fast drawing of welds. Robot operation time is 100 percent while programming is significantly faster.

Welding with PEMA APS 3-axis positioner at Fortaco Estonia.

 

 

"Our experiences on other robot programming software from different providers have been decent. What we find the most beneficial in this Pemamek's solution is the easy and fast PEMA WeldControl 300 OFFLINE programming," summarizes Hakalahti.

More Flexibility and Handling Capacity

From Pemamek, Fortaco Kalajoki has ordered a gantry type of a PEMA Robot welding station with PEMA WeldControl 300 OFFLINE programming and PEMA CellControl 700. The station includes an integrated PEMA work-piece handling solution with the capacity up to 4m in diameter, 13.5m in length and 20 tons in weight.

The robot welding station is equipped with one Yaskawa robot arm with the reachability of X = 12000, Y = 3650, Z = 2300. Additionally, it includes an adaptive seam tracking, which guarantees savings in consumables and better welding quality.

PEMA robot welding station is programmed with the easy and fast PEMA WeldControl 300 OFFLINE.

 

 

"Our main criteria were efficient offline programming, adaptivity, wide trajectories and high handling capacity. Of course, during the decision-making phase, one factor with big influence was Pemamek's know-how and expertise on welding automation solutions," says Hakalahti.

Complete Turn-Key Solutions at Fortaco Factory in Estonia

Fortaco Group's factory in Narva, Estonia is manufacturing approximately 10,000 workpieces per month, and depending on the end-customer, workpieces can vary from 20 kg to 2,500 kg.

"Earlier we have made a lot of manual welding but wanted to increase our efficiency and quality. After we have invested in PEMA welding automation our production has become more efficient and manufacturing quality increased. This is how we can maintain our position on the front-line and be attractive in the eyes of our customers," comments Anton Gritsak, Infrastructure Manager at Fortaco Estonia.

Just recently, Fortaco Estonia has acquired another PEMA Robot welding station, in addition to five existing PEMA welding robot stations. Additionally, Fortaco Estonia has one PEMA longitudinal welding station and 15 PEMA manual welding 3-axis positioners used for efficient workpieces handling.

PEMA floor track solution for robotic welding at Fortaco Estonia.

 

 

"It is very easy to work with Pemamek. We only tell what kind of workpieces we are going to weld. After that, Pemamek provides us with a complete turn-key solution on how to excel production," described Gritsak.

10 Times Faster Welding with PEMA Robot Welding Station

Pemamek has delivered a PEMA Robot welding station to Fortaco Estonia. The station includes one robot arm, PEMA floor track and PEMA Skyhook 3-axis positioner with 5-ton capacity. The entire robot cell is controlled with the PEMA CellControl 700 PC system.

"Above all, Pemamek's robot welding solution is flexible and adaptive. This enables us to get the most out of our investment," says Gritsak.

The PEMA Robot welding station, with the floor track, is designed for a dynamic production environment, where workpieces are variable in size and shape.

"We have calculated that by welding with PEMA robot welding solutions it is even 10 times faster than by manual welding. There's no vacation or sick leave and it can operate 24/7. That's why we are going to invest more in robot welding," says Gritsak.

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