105 metres of efficient welding of chassis frames

Kögel s.r.o. from Chocen in East Bohemia, part of the Kögel Group from Germany, is a long-time user of Valk Welding robotic welding solutions.

The largest project implemented within this long-term partnership was the design, manufacture, installation, and commissioning of a complete welding line for the welding of trailer chassis frames, which are then used for production throughout the Kögel Group.

The project was implemented in 2019-2020, with the line being commissioned in fully automatic two-shift operation during the summer of 2020.


The need for more frames

After the start-up of the line and the gradual debugging of all downstream processes, which corresponded in addition with the gradual further recovery of demand after the pandemic period, it became apparent quite quickly that the idea of keeping the project modular (i.e., relatively easy to expand) proved to be very sound." mentions Aleš Hájek, Production Manager at Kögel Chocen. Aleš Hájek adds: "During the first months of 2021, Kögel increasingly started to consider expanding the line with an additional welding station and the final decision was made in May 2021.

The expansion of the line

Since the concept chosen when designing the original line proved to be correct and functional, following this decision, Valk Welding was able to embark, together with its suppliers, on the expansion of the entire line with a total of three additional welding robots installed in a copy of the previous two welding stations. The routes of the transport system were extended and modified, bringing the total length of the entire line in the new configuration to a total of approximately 105 m

Installation and commissioning

"An important requirement, even with such a major modification of the production line, was to minimize as much as possible any interruption to production, which is absolutely crucial for the entire Kögel Group," says Aleš Hájek. The transport systems were therefore modified during the four-day Christmas shutdown. This step made room for the installation of a welding station, which, however, took place while the line was in full operation.


Since the original line was already tasked with producing approximately 30 frame types (thousands of lines of code for each of the three robots), where each of these types must be able to be welded on any workstation, it was absolutely critical to choose the appropriate approach to create and maintain all welding programs for the original six robots and, in the new configuration, for the nine robots. Based on experience, Valk Welding chose an appropriate combination of calibration of individual stations and robots, use of off-line programming and solutions to eliminate inaccuracies. The result is a system that allows the identical program to be used on any of the nine robots, while automatically correcting any possible deviations and inaccuracies in production preparation and possible geometric differences between the stations. This approach has enabled the added station to be fully integrated into standard operation very quickly.''

Capacity increase

Vladimír Ropek, director of Kögel in Chocen says: "The modification of the line, which was carried out for us by Valk Welding, went completely according to plan and brought the desired increase in capacity, so that we are now able to produce around 80 trailer frames per day within this facility. As the cooperation with Valk Welding has again met our expectations, we are currently working on three other projects that will lead to more efficient production of our frame components. We expect these projects to be completed in the first half of 2023."


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