In 2018, Norwegian supplier of powder coating and welding solutions Aarsland Stål & Lakk AS has experienced an ever-increasing volume of orders. With the aim of modernising and optimising its production, the company recently invested in a fully automated robot cell from Migatronic Automation with customised fixtures.
For almost two decades, Aarsland Stål & Lakk has supplied several industries with services in the field of welding and powder coating of steel, galvanised steel and aluminium. The company, headquartered in Vigrestad in the western part of Norway, also produces components for furniture frames, railings, agricultural equipment and computer screens.
The company started as part of the production line in Aarsland Møbelfabrikk AS, a leading Norwegian manufacturer of furniture for offices, schools and other public institutions. In 1999, Aarsland Stål & Lakk moved into separate premises. Based on an increasing volume of orders, the company realised that it held immense growth potential. Since then, the flow of orders has been on a steadily rising trend, which is why the company recently invested in an automated robot cell from Migatronic Automation:
- Since our foundation, we have invested in up-to-date welding solutions with the purpose of continuously optimising our production. We invested in a robot cell in order to keep growing and comply with the increasing flow of orders. The technical level of the robot has beaten all our expectations, says Roy Mæland, who is responsible for day-to-day operations in Aarsland Stål & Lakk.
Aarsland Stål & Lakk primarily produces and processes components for Aarsland Møbelfabrikk, such as underframes for office tables and school tables as well as components for lift desks. These components are typically produced in batches of up to 500 at a time. Because of the increasing order intake, Aarsland Stål & Lakk realised the need of rationalising the welding process so as to improve production efficiency:
- We often weld large batches at a time. We used to weld all the components manually, which was hard repetitive work for our operators. Now the new robot cell does the job and makes it much easier for the operators. The motor-driven timing table allows the robot to weld components, while our operators remove finished components or insert new workpieces. This has very much rationalised our production and improved efficiency, says Roy Mæland.
- The robot cell was 100 per cent accurate at the first go, and the finish of the large batches of welds is now beautiful and uniform. Migatronic’s high-tech power source is very efficient and powerful. It features a pulse function and intelligent gas control, which reduces weld spatter as well as gas consumption. All things considered, the robot cell has significantly reduced our production time and costs, and if the order intake continues to increase, we may invest in yet another robot cell. Had we known from the beginning that it was that good, we would have bought it five years ago. From our point of view, robot cells are the future in the welding industry, Roy Mæland carries on.
Jointly with Aarsland Stål & Lakk, Migatronic Automation has also customised multi fixtures for the robot cell, allowing it to easily weld five different steel frames for the tables supplied by the furniture manufacturer:
- The new multi fixtures handle several workpieces at a time and are customised for our production of different furniture frames. This has reduced the number of times our operators need to exchange fixtures and brought down the production time. The timing table of the cell can also rotate the customised fixtures. This makes the cell highly flexible and saves us additional time and resources, Roy Mæland explains.
Prior to investing in their new welding solution, Aarsland Stål & Lakk checked with other local companies who recommended Migatronic Automation:
- We had heard of other suppliers of robots, but not all of them were experienced in designing customised welding solutions. Right from the start, we relied on Migatronic Automation’s expertise and ability to advise on customised welding solutions for the metal industry. Before we started up our co-operation, we felt insecure about our ability to operate state-of-the-art welding robots. It turned out to be quite easy though, says Roy Mæland.
With the purpose of finding the most optimal welding solution to fit into Aarsland Stål & Lakk’s production line, Migatronic Automation invited representatives from the company to visit a company in Denmark with a similar robot cell in its production.
- This visit convinced us that Migatronic Automation was the right choice for us. When the robot cell was ready, we were invited to Denmark again in order to test the functions of the welding solution and make sure that it was able to weld our products. Then it was sent to Norway, where Migatronic Automation installed it and held a robot programming course for our operators. The robot cell was fully operative a few weeks after the function test, says Roy Mæland.
The robot cell has been running at full capacity since its implementation in the production. The rare problems that have occurred have been diagnosed and solved by Migatronic Automation’s digital service center.
- From the very beginning, the robot cell has operated smoothly, and Migatronic Automation offers superior service. In case of a problem, their service center logs into the robot cell and solves it right away, Roy Mæland says.
About Migatronic Automation
Migatronic Automation specialises in welding technology, robot application and fixture development, and is among Europe’s top integrators in the field of automated MIG, TIG, plasma, resistance and laser welding. The company is certified according to the ISO 9001 standard in project management, and has developed and installed more than 2,000 customised automated welding solutions in Europe, USA, China and India since 1985.
However, the welding expertise embedded in the organisation of Migatronic Automation goes back even further; the company is a subsidiary of the Migatronic Group, which has developed and produced welding machines of the highest quality since 1970.