Stokota, an international industrial vehicle manufacturer and logistics provider has taken a new Valk Welding robot system into use at its Polish location, which the company is now using to weld the complete superstructure of fuel tankers

The management of Stokota had been planning for some time to improve productivity by means of robot automation at its location in Elblag, Poland. CEO Ronald Lefebvre: "An intensive market study led us to Valk Welding, which was able not only to deliver a welding robot system but was also willing to start a project with us to deal with all of the production issues that arise when welding aluminium trailers.

Welding robot system with XYZ shifter
The trailers and superstructures made by Stokota according to customer specification vary strongly in size, design and material composition. Stokota wanted to weld the aluminium fuel tanks entirely with a robot. Following a comprehensive project analysis by the Czech/Polish division of Valk Welding, it quickly became clear that Stokota would only be able to carry out the processes it wanted with a welding robot on an XYZ portal structure. This is designed with two work stations and has a total length of 32m. The X, Y and Z movements of the portal structure make it possible to reach the fuel tankers on all sides. Valk Welding was able to fall back on its previous experience with similar large-volume products.

Arc-Eye laser monitoring system
It soon became clear that the welding seam shapes and the welding seam preparation for the Stokota products were such that a monitoring system was completely indispensable for the robot welding of the large-volume aluminium tankers. The robot system at Stokota was therefore equipped with the Arc-Eye laser monitoring system.

Aluminium welding technologies
The welding robot system is equipped with technologies for MIG aluminium welding, including 'Spiral Weave', which uses various wire speeds during the circular weaving movement of the welding robot. This makes it possible to burn the oxide skin of the aluminium at a higher voltage, whilst melting the filler material in a second cycle of the weaving movement. It is partly thanks to these advanced technologies for aluminium welding, which form part of the Panasonic welding robot system, that the implementation of this complex robot system for welding extremely complex products proved successful. The fact that the operators were given intensive training in their own language by the Valk Welding CZ and PL people made a strong contribution to this.

Stokota also builds tankers for refuelling civil and military aircraft. The robot system has also proved its worth in this fast-growing market share for Stokota. All 30 tanks for the Belgian Air Force were quickly and efficiently welded using this arc-welding robot system.

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