Production line produces 120.000 pile splices per year
Centrum Pæle A/S, a member of the Centrum Group, Europe’s largest manufacturer of steel reinforced concrete piles for foundation, implemented a complete production line for CPG Pile Splices at the end of 2016. CPG Pile Splices is used to join steel reinforced foundation piles when the total pile length needed supersedes the maximum transport- or production length of a single pile. The CPG Pile Splice makes it possible to connect 2 or more foundation piles together, on site, in a fast and efficient way without compromising the complete piles capacity and integrity.
Due to the large quantity of Pile Splices needed, Valk Welding together with their Danish partners from Norre Aby, was contracted to design and install a fully automated production line with an estimated annual capacity of 120.000 units / year. After a non-stop production of 150,000 units the production line was upgraded to increase the type and dimensions of Pile Splices the line can process. The upgrade was completed in the summer of 2018 and included new jig types, new robot- & PLC-programming and extension of software to handle the increased number of product variations.
FROM FLAT SHEET TO FINISHED PRODUCT
The production process, making a Pile Splice involves Robot controlled handling, bending and dimension control of sheet metal parts. Robot handling, positioning and assembly of parts, followed by welding of the complete CPG Pile Splice. Following assembly and welding, the CPG Pile Splices is finished with plugs and corrosion protection, before being palletized, secured and wrapped in weather proof packaging.
The complete production line built by Valk Welding for Centrum Pæle A/S consists of the following equipment. 4 Panasonic handling robots & 2 Panasonic welding robots. A press brake with zero point table, laser measuring equipment, label printer, bar code scanners, several specialized feeder systems, material magazines, specialized dispensers, pallet handling, strapping & wrapping systems, connected by roller conveyors. All together making the complete production process progress unmanned.
HANDLING & WELDING
The most representive part from Valk Welding was to set up a closed cell, in which 2 handling robots and 2 welding robots collaborate to assemble and weld lock parts into CPG Pile Splice box. To achieve the desired production output, 2 sets of collaborating robots were chosen, which produce synchronously. After finished welding, the Pile Splice is placed on a cooling conveyor by one of the handling robots. Via an integrated “sequence optimization” logic the assembly & welding cell optimizes the cycle time for each product. From the cooling conveyor the Pile Splices continue to the packaging/palletization cell. 1 employee is attending the production line to ensure the supply of parts, materials and remove full pallets with Pile Splices ready for shipping.
OVERALL EQUIPMENT EFFECTIVITY (OEE)
The production line control consists software-smart of a set of programs for the robots, a PLC control for the welding jigs, feeder- and auxiliary systems, and two touch screens with HMI & display functions. The integrated OEE system monitors all production processes via ie. the PLC. This means that all actions, ie. jig movements, open close operations etc. is logged, production time, stop time, waiting time if for example materials is missing, number of produced items and all vital production data is logged and used in the OEE system. Based on the data from the OEE system the operator or production supervisor can easily optimize the cycle time and eliminate unwanted stop and delays.
In addition to the OEE system, a complete traceability system for logging part ID information and keep track of data related to the single CPG Pile Splice is integrated into the production line. This is to ensure that all parts used in the Pile Splices can be traced back to their origin.
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