Customer stories

Increasing welding automation, one step at a time

Trusted manufacturer of transportation structures for the construction and mining industry, Istrail Sp zoo, invested in its first PEMA Robotic welding station in 2014. After noticing significant benefits and improvements in production, the company put in an order for the second one.

Challenge

Increase efficiency in dumper body production.

Solution

PEMA Robotic welding station with PEMA WeldControl 300 OFFLINE.

Benefits

Better capacity, high welding quality, improved working environment.

Istrail Sp zoo, a subsidiary of the Norwegian Istrail Group, is specialized in manufacturing high-quality structures for the construction and mining transportation industry. The roots of the company are deep in the soil of Norway where Istrail has its sales and service. Istrail’s main markets are Scandinavia, Russia, and Germany.

From the company’s yearly production, about half are dumper bodies and the other half are trailers. The production is located in a modern factory in Poland, in the town of Golub-Dobrzyn.

In 2014 Istrail started to research ways to increase efficiency in some of the production phases and considered starting with welding automation. In 2015 the PEMA Robot welding station for dumper bodies was delivered to Istrail’s factory, which was the company’s first investment in automation.

“We wanted to optimize the production phases that were manually most demanding, challenging, and time-consuming. Before investing in PEMA robotic welding, we welded everything manually,” tells Leif Skipenes, President of Istrail Sp zoo.

The PEMA Robotic welding station has made Istrail’s heavy-duty production a lot more efficient. 

Complete solution to weld dumper bodies

Istrail’s yearly volume of dumper bodies is around 500. The size of a typical dumper is up to 10 meters long and 2,75 meters wide. One dumper can weigh as much as 8 tons.

“We manufacture very large and heavy structures. The PEMA Robotic welding station makes it more efficient and safer to manufacture heavy and dimensionally large dumpers,” Skipenes describes.

The delivered PEMA Robot welding station with Single MAG welding process included the XYZ floor track gantry system, two production cells that both have PEMA Headstock and a manually adjustable support unit. The robot is programmed with PEMA WeldControl 300 OFFLINE. The two cells are operated with CellControl 700 which enables an unmanned production with the robotic system.

According to Skipenes, one of the main factors impacting Istrail’s decision to invest in PEMA Robotic solution were turn-key delivery and modern programming system, “We did a study and it turned out that Pemamek’s offline programming tool was the most user-friendly software to use. Additionally, for us, it was important to get all services from designing to production support from one supplier. These were a few of the reasons why we selected Pemamek.”

“Our next PEMA Robotic welding station, which will be delivered in spring 2020, will be a bit bigger than the one we have now.”

“Automation makes the job easier – also for the welders. This is why I believe that the role of the welding automation grows.” -Leif Skipenes, President of Istrail Sp zoo.

Fast adaptation, significant benefits

Since Istrail did not have much previous experience in robotic welding, the company was not sure how the start of the production would go and how fast the start-up would be.

“When acquiring new technology, you cannot be fully sure how the implementation goes and how the production team adapts the new technology to their routines. For us, it came as a positive surprise on how fast we were able to start with the station. We received extremely good support from Pemamek, which has very creative and solution-oriented professionals.”

The PEMA Robotic welding station has been in full production for five years now. Istrail has been able to increase its production output and improve welding quality but also noticed improvements in the working environment.

“The robotic station has made our heavy-duty production a lot more efficient. Also, it has improved our environment in the factory, such as decreased smoke and loud noises, and of course, improved overall working ergonomics,” describes Skipenes.

“The robotic station has made our heavy-duty production a lot more efficient. Also, it has improved our environment in the factory, such as decreased smoke and loud noises, and of course, improved overall working ergonomics.”

Leif Skipenes

President, Istrail Sp zoo

New robot station delivery in 2020

When asked about the future and role of welding automation, Skipenes thinks that the steel industry is gearing up for automation, and Istrail, based on their previous experiences, follows that trend.

Skipenes comments, “Automation makes the job easier -also for the welders. This is why I believe that the role of the welding automation grows.”

Istrail has already set its eyes on the future and plans to increase the level of automation in its factory one step at a time. The second robotic welding solution is already in the pipeline. 

“Our next PEMA Robotic welding station, which will be delivered in spring 2020, will be a bit bigger than the one we have now. The station brings us significant advantages and enables us to expand even more the variety of our largest heavy steel constructions. We are really looking forward to that,” summarizes Skipenes.