Irish pioneer in sheet metal shifts course with successful welding robot

With an annual turnover of 2 billion euros, the sector for stone crushers and screening installations is the largest in Northern Ireland. This dynamic industry continues to grow globally but is facing a pressing shortage of welders. As a result, many Irish suppliers are transitioning to robotic welding, including McAree Engineering. The company invested in a high-end Valk Welding robot system, equipped with all options. “Robotic welding is the way forward, and it is never too late to embrace new technology”, emphasises Peter Richardson, Marketing and Sales Manager at McAree Engineering.

McAree Engineering

With 180 employees and three manufacturing sites on the southern border of Ireland, McAree is a leading supplier in the region. The company specialises in the manufacture of large products, including sieve boxes, hoppers, safety cabins, and pre-screening machines for the screening industry. This requires significant welding time, with some products taking up to 15 hours. Richardson explains how the new robot installation helps in this regard: “The main benefits are a 25% increase in efficiency and improved weld quality. Our welders can focus on tack welding while the robot performs the longer welds. Moreover, it offers our employees the opportunity to learn how to work with new technology. These benefits are appealing and will contribute to our growth.”

Full range of options

“Although we had no previous experience, we opted for an advanced automation solution right away, aligning with our high-end, large-format sheet metal processing machines”, continues the Marketing and Sales Manager. “The new welding robot system must be configured to offer a wider range of possibilities for optimal flexibility.” Therefore, the system installed by Valk Welding, includes a hanging robot that moves along a 12-meter track and serves two different workstations. One station features a 2-ton positioner and a movable counter-bearing, while the other is equipped with an L-positioner. With this welding robot installation, McAree Engineering also benefits from a built-in Wire Exchange System (WES) that automatically switches between two different welding wires, an Arc-Eye CSS seam tracking system, and fume extraction through the torch. Richardson: “With all these options, we have maximum flexibility to weld a wide range of products according to customer requirements.”

More than a supplier

“We were deeply impressed by the way Valk Welding guided us through the start-up process. They offer a complete package that goes beyond just the robot itself. We also invested time in building a team to make sure the robot keeps running. Overall, we are convinced that robotic welding is the way forward, and we expect that within five years, 50% of our production will involve robotic welding”, predicts Peter Richardson.


Robotic welding offers consistency, continuity, consistent high quality, and time savings

Peter Richardson, Marketing and Sales Manager at McAree Engineering

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