Automatic Welding Solution Selected to Ramp Up Structural Steel Manufacturer's Welding of High Mix Custom Fabrications
Farmington Hills, Michigan - September 1, 2009 - SmartTCP a leading supplier of automatic welding solutions for small batch production, today announced it has been selected by Waiward Steel Fabricators Ltd., of Edmonton Alberta, Canada to automate its structural steel welding process. The robotic welding solution, which is designed for steel fabrication, combines hardware and software into a flexible and efficient welding cell that will automate both the robot programming and the weld production of Waiward's high volume of 'one off' and small batch parts.
"We've been looking into robotic solutions for the better part of the last 10 years and haven't found anyone that could address our low repeatability welding needs until now," said Jim Kanerva, vice president of operations for Waiward Steel Fabricators Ltd. "We researched robotic systems from most major players in the North American market, always finding that there were important components missing to achieve a welding automation solution well suited to our structural steel needs." Jim added "We selected SmartTCP because they were the most advanced in addressing our needs."
"Waiward Steel, like most structural steel fabricators, has to deal with custom fabrications where every single piece, beam or column can be completely different," said Efi Lebel, founder and CEO of SmartTCP. "Our turnkey solution is ideal for just this challenge as it provides the most comprehensive, efficient and cutting edge welding automation solution possible to address positioning, fit up and programming issues, giving small batch fabricators a system that can accurately and reliably weld any weldable part in any number of welding scenarios quickly. Waiward Steel is one of the largest and most automated structural steel fabricators in North America and SmartTCP is grateful for the opportunity to work with their highly professional team. We are pleased to be associated with such a technologically advanced fabricator and forward thinking organization".
While researching automated welding options Waiward Steel was very specific in its requirements when talking with robotic solution suppliers. They needed a complete solution to deal with high piece count projects with "batches of one". The solution needed to deal with the specialized welding demands of structural steel including large multi pass welds on thick beveled material, full penetration, heat distribution and the ability to handle inaccuracy/variances in part fitting and joint gaps.
"When we saw the SmartTCP solution we knew that this was the solution," added Kanerva. "It was as if it was designed specifically for our situation and for our industry."
The SmartTCP solution to be implemented in the Waiward facility will include a bridge gantry system 125' long with two SmartTCP head & tail positioners (30,000 lbs. capacity each) specifically designed for structural steel, one ceiling mounted 6 axis articulated robot, welding equipment and the SmartTCP welding automation software. The welding system will allow the company to produce more parts more quickly without additional employees and in the same amount of production space. These benefits, coupled with the increased quality and reliability of robotic welding over manual welding, will give the company an additional competitive advantage within their industry. The off-the-shelf system is scheduled to be installed in September and SmartTCP anticipates Waiward will be up and running production parts within 6 weeks, an extremely quick installation considering the machine size and complexity of the technology to be installed. From benchmarking efforts and experience SmartTCP anticipates that Waiward will be able to weld with 2 operators what would normally take approximately 8 welders to complete. Overall, this will result in greater and more efficient throughput.
About Waiward Steel
Waiward Steel, one of Canada's 50-Best Managed Companies, is an Edmonton based steel fabricator and erector with extensive experience in the petrochemical, mining, power generation, pulp and paper, and commercial markets. The company's services include the fabrication and installation of structural and miscellaneous steel, equipment components, hoppers, plate work, material handling equipment and bridge girders. Waiward sustains shop fabrication production levels few competitors duplicate, with Manufacturers' Health & Safety Association (MHSA) certified award winning safety, and ISO-9001 registered world class quality. This is achieved in one of Canada's largest structural steel plants (216,000 square feet), home to one of Canada's largest and best trained structural steel fabrication crews. More information can be found on the company's website at www.waiward.com.
SmartTCP is the leading supplier of automatic welding solutions for steel fabrications in small batch production. The SmartTCP robotic welding solution reduces the need for expert welders, improves time to market, and increases production volume and quality. The gantry welding system is a turnkey solution that automates both the robot programming and the weld production and includes the hardware, software, installation, training and support during and after implementation. SmartTCP´s revolutionary software automates complex and tedious robot programming tasks. It creates accurate and reliable robot programming, making it possible for job-shops and manufacturers to optimize the fabrication of high mix low volume parts. SmartTCP was founded in 2003 and operates an automatic welding demo lab out of its U.S. headquarters location in Farmington Hills, MI. For more information contact SmartTCP at 248-994-1041 or visit their website at www.smarttcp.com.
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