Huppertz wants to integrate a welding robot into production step by step

With the commissioning of a new welding robot installation, Huppertz AG, located in the eastern Belgian town of Sankt Vith, wants to create added value for its customers, increase welding capacity and further strengthen the stability of the company. "We are deliberately doing this step by step in order to be able to make the technology our own in a sensible way," explains managing director and owner Karl-Heinz Huppertz.

Huppertz AG

When, for a given order, all operations from A to Z can be carried out in-house, it not only saves time and costs, but you can also perfectly coordinate all process steps. This goes from design and engineering over to laser cutting, bending, robotized welding to powder coating and assembly. In addition, the company can, as one of the few, handle large product dimensions. Huppertz AG distinguishes itself with this complete package and has thus firmly established its position in the region of East Belgium and far beyond. In series production, but especially for large-volume products such as the industrial furnace systems, filter housings, steel, and machine construction that Huppertz AG builds for OEMs, these competencies provide great logistical and cost advantages.

Expanding the welding capacity

To expand capacity in the welding department, the investment in a welding robot had been on the wish list for some time. The fact that the company does not want to make investments in a hurry is evidenced by the fact that Huppertz AG held the first discussions with Valk Welding as early as ten years ago and only became acquainted with the possibilities of welding robotization for the first time in 2018 with a welding robot on a rental basis. Based on these initial experiences, Karl-Heinz Huppertz, together with Freddy Classen, who is responsible for the welding department, continued discussions with Valk Welding about the supply of a large welding robot system to enable robotic welding of both small and large assemblies. "From the beginning we had every confidence in the knowledge and competences of the people of Valk Welding", both gentlemen emphasize.

Step-by-step integration

The 9-axis welding robot installation, installed at Huppertz by Valk Welding at the end of 2019, is set up for maximum flexibility with two workstations, a longitudinal displacement of 14 meters, a workpiece manipulator, and an innovative sliding centre fence. "We are now using the welding robot installation for welding-intensive workpieces, such as subassemblies for industrial vehicles and boiler constructions, but also for smaller parts for machine building. The fact that the welding robot installation is thus not yet fully occupied at the moment is a conscious decision," explains Karl-Heinz Huppertz. "We want our people to be able to make the technology their own in a sensible way. Of course, the investment must be recouped, but without putting pressure on our people. We have set a target of four years to have the welding robot installation fully occupied. If it is sooner, that is of course better, but it is not a goal in itself," clarifies the owner.

From online to offline programming

Huppertz AG also maintains a step-by-step structure with its programming. The first products were programmed online at the welding robot. "This allowed our operators to gain the necessary basic knowledge and experience, which shortened the learning curve when training for offline programming," according to Freddy Classen. "All in all, the sensible and gradual introduction of welding robot technology ensures a future-oriented development from which we are already reaping the benefits."

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