Cycle time reduced by 30%
System Trailers Fahrzeugbau GmbH builds complete trailers and semi-trailers for truck manufacturers. The company constantly works on the production of large volumes in a wide variety as competitively as possible. This German trailer builder has reduced its lead times by 30% since switching to Valk Welding welding robot systems. But its aspirations go beyond that. Together with Valk Welding, System Trailers is setting out to further improve quality and reduce costs.
There is cutthroat competition in the trailer building sector. System Trailers in Twist, Germany, has gained a distinctive position as an independent producer of trailers and semi-trailers. The factory produces 60 to 70 trailers a week. 70% of the company's turnover is generated.outside of Germany. Director Ralf Saatkamp: "Our strategy is to make favourable purchasing conditions and highly efficient production processes possible by combining the demand of several truck manufacturers. That way we can offer our clients consistently high quality and favourable prices." System Trailers has geared its organisation, production and computerisation entirely to a large variety in a high volume production setting.
Programs virtually without corrections on the welding robot
System trailers had already been using welding robots to weld its longitunal beams and chassis components when it made the s change to a Valk Welding welding robot system. Ralf Saatkamp: "The large number of different trailers makes the time it takes to reconfigure the welding robot a crucial factor. We looked for a partner that would be able to flexibly set up the entire programming system. Valk Welding stood out in this respect with its offline programming system DTPS. As well as the delivery of a welding robot system for the welding of girders, we have also switched to offline programming. The welding robot is able to work with the programs with almost no corrections being made. We were immediately impressed by the first Valk Welding welding robot system and the creative ideas that they use to make better use of the welding robot's options."
Three identical welding robot systems
Two years later Valk Welding has delivered another two of the same welding robot systems. All three welding robot systems are set up to weld longitudinal beams with a standard length of 13.65 m. The last two welding robots are positioned next to each other in a right and left hand version. Beams welded on the right-hand welding robot are automatically tilted and transported to the other welding robot system, where the other side can be welded. It is partly as a result of this logistical automation that System Trailers has succeeded in reducing its lead time for the girders by 30%.
Ralf Saatkamp: "We have a very efficient setup. The fact that we have very close control of the production of a large variety in a high volume production process means that we can offer our clients both cost and quality benefits. We have made a conscious choice not to enter the market with our own brand name. Ninety-five percent of the trailers that we produce leave the factory bearing our clients' logos. That enables us to manufacture customer-specific products under extremely favourable conditions. An important aspect of this is to build up a partnership with our customers in order to better meet their wishes. That is the basis on which we work with Valk Welding."
"Our aim is to continue to increase our turnover. We currently have one single employee spending only 2 days a week on offline programming in DTPS. But we still want to integrate the programming more closely in the workflow. With that aim in mind we are now working in intensive partnership with Valk Welding to automate the programming of the welding robots with APG (Automated Program Generation) based on CAD data, linked to ERP. In this area, too, Valk Welding’s approach was clear. As well as its know-how, this also includes motivation, innovation and the flexibility of coming up with solutions."
Weld seam tracking with the Arc-Eye laser sensor
The next step is to use the Arc-Eye welding seam tracking system. The tolerances, differences and tension in the product that occur during the welding process make it necessary to check whether the position of the welding seam corresponds to the programmed position. Deviations cannot be predicted, which means that the programme can only be corrected afterwards. For this purpose Valk Welding uses Quick Touch (wire searching) and Arc-Sense to locate and then track the welding seam. To speed up that process and further improve the weld quality, System Trailers will be using Valk Welding's Arc-Eye weld tracking system. The Arc-Eye laser sensor is mounted in front of the welding torch and carries out circular scans to make a complete 3D image of the welding seam. Ralf Saatkamp: “That way the Arc-Eye system ensures that the welding robot precisely tracks the welding seam so that a reliable welding seam is made. This has also made it possible for us to take another step towards reducing the cycle time over 13.65 m.Request for information
“We were immediately impressed by the first Valk Welding welding robot system”