Customer Stories

Western Constructions enjoys the benefits of PEMA Column & Boom and welding positioner

Efficient reel welding:

Western Construction enjoys the benefits of PEMA Column & Boom and Welding Positioner.

One of the main products of the Lithuanian Western Constructions is reels for the oil and gas industry. Before investing in welding automation, the company was welding even the largest reels manually and semi-automatically.

In 2012, Western Constructions invested in PEMA C&B and welding positioner, and the results have significant. Manufacturing of one reel takes 50% less time.

The Lithuanian Western Constructions is specialized in reel production, among other heavy steel structures.

As an example, welding manually one sidewall of the reel takes 80 hours, wheareas with automated welding it takes only 40 hours.

Erikas Grigelis, Production Manager at Western Constructions

Western Constructions, a daughter company of Western Shipyard and a part of BLRT Grupp, is one of the largest steel structure manufacturers located in the ice-free northernmost Baltic seaport of Klaipeda. Founded in 2004, the company’s main business is manufacturing cable and umbilical reels, but also structures for offshore oil & gas, offshore wind, and marine market use.

“The company started by manufacturing cable reels for the oil & gas industry. For several years, that was our main business. Throughout the years as the company has developed, we’ve broadened our product portfolio to offshore wind structures as well”, describes Andrius Mikalauskas, the Head of Sales Department at Western Constructions.

With the diversified product portfolio, wider market share, and revenue growth in mind, Western Constructions wanted to develop their production systems and improve competitiveness.

“The diameter of a reel varies from 9,2 meters to 14 meters, and the weight is from 30 to 70 tons. They are very large structures. As a result the manufacturing process naturally needs to be considered fully from the capacity and the safety point of view”, adds Mikalauskas. Additionally, as a turnkey provider, Western Constructions has the majority of its production process in-house.

“When it comes to steel structures majority of the production is done in-house. This means that our manufacturing processes must provide us with good end-product quality”, describes Mikalauskas.

Automated SAW welding replaces manual MIG/MAG

Before the investment, even the largest reels were welded manually with the MIG/MAG process. This naturally was very time-consuming and demanded significant skills from the welder.

“Manual MIG/MAG welding requires a lot of experience and talent from the welder. In today’s world, it is very challenging to find enough skillful welders”, tells Erikas Grigelis, Production Manager at Western Constructions.

Grigelis continues: ”By investing in PEMA C&B and horizontal welding positioner, we wanted to make our production more time- and cost-efficient, but above all, to minimize the defects.”

The delivery to Western Constructions included a PEMA C&B 5×5 and PEMA welding positioner designed specifically to handle workpieces in the horizontal position. The automation solution was delivered in 2012.

“The C&B and the horizontal welding positioner have been now in our production for several years, and they have made the manufacturing of reels much efficient and safer. As an example, welding manually one sidewall of the reel takes 80 hours, whereas with automated welding it takes only 40 hours. That makes a big difference”, Grigelis says.

The welding positioner is designed specifically to handle workpieces in the horizontal position.

The delivery to Western Constructions included a PEMA C&B 5x5 and PEMA welding positioner.

Plans for the future

After the good experiences that Western Constructions has had with welding automation, the company does see welding automation as the optimal option to improve competitiveness and support future growth plans.

“Currently we are in a transition phase, where we are mapping our potential course for the future and new technologies. The offshore wind industry is one of the promising markets. We’ve had a good experience with welding automation and implementing it as a part of our production flow. In the future, as we are planning to grow and grasp a bigger market share, also investments in welding automation will be most likely needed,” summarizes Mikalauskas.

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