Working with aluminium can pose a real challenge for even the most experienced welder. For that reason, HMK Bilcon 2017 A/S, a Danish manufacturer of tailored tanker solutions, acquired special welding solutions from Migatronic that meet its high standards in terms of quality, cutting-edge technology and portability.
The company, known today as HMK Bilcon, was founded as a blacksmith’s shop back in 1895 in the northern part of Denmark. At the time, the shop specialised in the production of carriages. However, in parallel with the technological developments that occurred through the 20th century, the company began manufacturing more advanced transport solutions for fuel and gas. Eventually, this led the company to begin designing and developing aluminium tanks during the 1960s for which it is now well-known.
Today, the company is a market-leading manufacturer of a wide array of tailored tanker solutions for various purposes and industries, ranging from the supply of oil and fuel, feed tankers and solutions for disease-free animal transport to defence solutions for the military and mobile solutions for the healthcare sector:
- As evident in the long history of the company, we have many years of experience in designing and developing customised tanker solutions for our customers’ every need. Welding is at the very core of our business and key to almost every aspect of our manufacturing process – from developing the tank to mounting it to the vehicle. However, welding aluminium remains a technically challenging task for most welders, which is why we rely heavily on the expertise of our skilled workforce and the professional welding equipment that we provide them with, Henrik Jørgensen, Production Manager at HMK Bilcon, says.
According to Jørgensen, using aluminium plates in the manufacturing of tanker solutions has both advantages and disadvantages:
- Aluminium constitutes a delicate yet strong light metal that is more challenging to handle and process compared to most other metals, while it is also more expensive. Still, the strength and durability of aluminium combined with its low weight makes it ideal for tanker solutions, Jørgensen explains.
Through the years, HMK Bilcon has considered Migatronic its trusted partner in welding machines and accessories as well as in welding expertise and consultancy. A representative of Migatronic visits HMK
Bilcon every week to advise on how to optimise the welding equipment and its use. This is part of the reason for HMK Bilcon’s recent acquisition of 26 new welding machines from Migatronic.
- We never compromise on the quality of our own tanker solutions. This entails that we simply cannot compromise on the quality of the equipment and materials that we use in our manufacturing. Migatronic’s welding solutions remain our preferred choice, as we are fully confident that Migatronic supplies top quality when it comes to state-of-the-art technology, product features and durability, Jørgensen says.
The specific types of Migatronic welding machines that HMK Bilcon acquired are 14 Sigma Galaxy, an advanced three-phase MIG/MAG and MMA inverter welding machine that can handle all materials, and 12 Pi 350 AC/DC. The latter is characterised as an intelligent TIG inverter machine for welding mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
- Welding aluminium is considered a specialised niche among industrial manufacturing companies. Only a few rely heavily on this particular material in their manufacturing process. That is why it requires special welding equipment made for the specific purpose of effectively handling this material. In this regard, the Sigma Galaxy and Pi 350 AC/DC are among the very best welding machines on the market in terms of both technology and versatility, explains Jens Kristensen, Area Sales Manager at Migatronic.
However, not only the technicalities related to welding aluminium pose a challenge in the manufacturing process at HMK Bilcon.
- The manufacturing of tanker solutions also involves welding in confined spaces. Partitions are fixed by welding inside the tanks to create isolated chambers, which allows our customers to transport for example fuel, oil and additives within the same tanker without mixing the liquids. For that reason it is critical that the welding is performed correctly so that the tank will be leak-tight. If we fail to do so, we will fail our customers – and this is why we place such high demands on the quality of our welding equipment and the skills of our workers, Jørgensen emphasises.
The partitions are fixed inside the tanks by the use of two-operator welding (also referred to as two-sided welding), implying that two welders operate simultaneously on each side of the aluminium plates by using a single power source that supports this special function.
- The nature of our work requires us to specialise in the techniques needed for welding aluminium. This involves two-operator welding, which is a highly complex and technically challenging task for even the most experienced welder. In particular, when it takes place inside a dark tank, where the welders are unable to see anything but the molten pool. Here we rely heavily on the intelligent software of Migatronic’s welding machines, which allows our workers to weld synchronically, Jørgensen says.
Due to the confined working space inside the tanks, HMK Bilcon also required special welding accessories. Consequently, Migatronic supplied welding hoses measuring 10 meters in length, with push-pull units providing stable wire-feeding. These welding hoses ensure mobility and the possibility of ergonomically correct welding postures for the welders. HMK Bilcon has equipped the welding hoses with welding fume extraction, ensuring also a safe working environment.
- It is not possible to fit a welding machine inside a tank, and we therefore needed very long welding hoses that could enable our welders to work optimally in the confined space without compromising safety. Thankfully, Migatronic were more than capable of delivering a tailored welding solution that fit our specific needs, Jørgensen concludes.