Welding robot in steel construction

That the steel construction sector also sees opportunities in welding robot automation is proven by the deployment of a welding robot installation at Verdo Staalconstructies B.V. in Bergambacht the Netherlands. With the focus on assembly, the company wanted to spend less time on welding activities. Large welding lengths are therefore now done by a welding robot. “With this, we now relieve our employees of monotonous welding work and see this as a good investment for the long term,” explains owner Gerard Verdoold.

Verdo Staalconstructies

Verdo Staalconstructies specializes in the production and construction of sheds and halls and all the steelwork for stairs, landings and fencing that goes with it. Last year, more than 1,200 tons of steel were processed for this purpose. For production, the company has CNC-controlled machines for cutting, sawing and drilling. “To make the growth of the company possible with a limited availability of skilled workers, you have to look critically at the time allocation of the individual activities. Welding is not one of our core activities. If you can leave that to a welding robot, you can spend
more time on assembly and installation on the building site,” is the vision of the entrepreneur who started the company 21 years ago.

Purchase of welding robot

In addition to the usual construction work for halls, Verdo has built a number of liquid containers. “A typical assembly job that involves a lot of welding. After we had manually welded the first one, we noticed that the welding work put a heavy strain on the company and our employees. That was the deciding factor for us to buy the welding robot.

Large YZ system

Valk Welding supplied a welding robot on a hanging YZ construction, which moves together with the support for the welding wire and robotcontrol on a 15 m long track. Because sufficient hoisting facilities are present, the workpieces can be turned without manipulator. A rail system anchored to the floor is sufficient for positioning and clamping. The liquid
containers, which used to be welded manually in 60 hours, are now welded in 25 hours on the welding robot installation. “Not only a substantial time saving of over 40%, but also a saving of 60 man hours that we can now devote to our core business.”

Composite beams on the welding robot

In addition to the liquid containers, Verdo also welds other products with large welding lengths on the welding robot installation. A 15-metrelong SFB composite corner beam is a regularly recurring product, the welding of which can easily take a full day. Moreover, monotonous work for a manual welder,” Gerard Verdoold explains. “The welding robot now does the job in three hours, using Touch Sensing to locate the weld every meter on either side, and the robot then applies the weld in a weaving pattern. The same quality in a weaving pattern is hardly achievable by a manual welder.”

Learning period of 1 year

All products that have been welded with the robot so far have been programmed offline with the DTPS software of Valk Welding. “That goes many times faster than with a teach pendant on the product itself. We have been working with
the welding robot and offline programming for a year now. You need this period to learn how to work with the system properly, before we start acquiring other products on a large scale. All in all, we see the investment as a broadening of our possibilities and an investment in the future of the company,” concludes Gerard Verdoold.


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