One robot does what 6 manual welders can do

In close cooperation with Valk Welding, Danish supplier NG Metal A/S has succeeded, for critical crane arm parts, in making the transition from manual welding to robotic welding. "Where we used to need 6 manual welders to weld a complete part, the robot now does that work in one shift. With the high weld quality delivered by the robot, we can now meet both the high-quality requirements and we can produce such critical parts competitively in-house."

NG Metal

To this end, NG Metal has invested in two Valk Welding welding robot systems last year, a TRACK-Y and a FRAME-H concept. In addition to the Danish factory, the supplier also has a production plant in Ukraine, close to the Polish border. There, with 220 employees, in addition to products for store fittings, among others, it also manufactures boom parts for small mobile cranes. "Particularly on the extendable inner and outer boom parts, our customer has very high-quality requirements for the welding, because these cranes are used to lift one person with small vans used for example for maintenance of street lighting or window cleaning.”

Most technological knowledge in Ukrainian facility

Regner Ditlev Dahl, group sales director: "In our production plant in Ukraine, we have been working with about four Valk Welding welding robot systems since 2015. That is also where all the knowledge and experience in programming is located. If we also want to be able to work competitively in Denmark, it was not only necessary to invest in welding robots but it was also necessary to bring that knowledge to Denmark. Of course, this does not happen overnight, which is why we hired external specialists and programmers from Valk Welding in the start-up period."

Deployment of Super Active Wire Process

In addition to the right welding system, offline programming system and welding seam search system, Valk Welding also had an important role to play in determining the most suitable welding process. The starting point was the welding of thin 1.5 mm thick high strength steel to 8 mm flange material. Allan Nielsen of Valk Welding DK: "The challenge was to achieve sufficient penetration into the 8 mm material without burning away the 1.5 mm material. To achieve that, we used Panasonic's Super Active Wire Process (SAWP) with the Servo Pull III torch to obtain very precise parameters. Since the SAWP welding process for this application demands a very precise position of the welding wire, and the product itself is well outside the tolerance range, the deployment of our quick search system was necessary. SAWP also reduces spatter by 99%."

High consistent weld quality

On the Servo Pull III welding system, the wire feed motor is mounted close to the torch, providing a constant wire feed and an accurate aiming point for the wire tip. This allows us to set the parameters very precisely and achieve a very stable result." In order to ensure high consistent weld quality for the customer, NG Metal had to set up completely new welding processes WPS/WPQR when transitioning from manual to fully automated welding. "Our customer, a large OEM, is now very satisfied. We are the first in Europe to weld these parts on the robot."

Short payback period

"The time studies in the programming phase indicated a payback period of 1.5 years. That is extremely short! With this project NG Metal and Valk Welding have proven the feasibility, and thanks to automation the capacity can be increased, less finishing is required, quality can be increased and cost savings can be realized "concludes Regner Ditlev Dahl.


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