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Metal Fabrication

As each mast section needs a total of 222 reliable welds, manufacturing them is an extremely labor intensive process.

Until recently, STROS had to use highly skilled welders to make these sections. Although it has been using robots for 25 years, these machines could not manage the complex arc welds in narrow spaces needed for these particular components. Consequently, in order to produce a satisfactory number of mast sections it had to employ three welders per shift at three separate workstations to make these pieces. Apart from the obvious outlay this required in terms of manpower and space, STROS found it increasingly difficult to recruit the highly qualified welders needed for this work. That's why in 2007 the company decided to hold a tender for the complete robotization of its manufacturing process for mast sections. Of the four firms who participated, only the ABB group could fulfill all its requirements.

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  • SUPPLIER
  • ABB
    ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies. Their solutions improve the efficiency, productivity and quality of their customers’ operations while minimizing environmental impact.
  • INDUSTRIES
  • Mining
  • FUNCTIONS
  • Product Development
  • CUSTOMER
  • With 50 years in the business, STROS is one of the world’s leading suppliers of hoist machinery for building sites. It supplies high-quality work platforms as well as customized personnel and material hoists.

  • CONNECTIVITY PROTOCOLS
  • SOLUTION
  • The process arm's fluid interaction with the positioner is an impressive feat of balletic synchronicity, which according to Škorpa could not have been achieved without ABB's readiness to work closely with STROS in designing the system. STROS uses a rotating IRBP 500 D positioner with two workstations to hold the individual parts of the mast section that are to be welded before the final piece is completed. This means that the robot is in constant use, because an operator can prepare pieces for welding on one side of the positioner while the other part is being welded.

    The positioner then rotates and welding continues while the operator removes the completed part on the other side and prepares the next component. The standard combined cycle time for making one mast section is 54 minutes, which is three times quicker than the time required by a human welder to make the same piece.  

  • DATA COLLECTED
  • SOLUTION TYPE
  • SOLUTION MATURITY
  • Mature (technology has been on the market for > 5 years)
  • OPERATIONAL IMPACT
  • QUANTITATIVE BENEFIT
  • Benefit #1

    One tailor-made robotized workstation produces the same number of pieces per eight-hour shift as three human welders would.

    Benefit #2

    Robot welding systems ensure consistent highquality welds without any of the deviations produced by human welders.

  • USE CASES
  • Autonomous Robots
    Autonomous robots are intelligent machines capable of performing tasks in the world independently of either direct human control or fixed programming. Examples range from autonomous drones, to industrial production robots, to your robotic vacuum cleaner. They combine expertise from the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and information science.The autonomous robot must have the ability to perceive its environment, analyze situational data in order to make decisions based on what it perceives, and then modify its actions based on these decisions. For example, the scope of autonomy could include starting, stopping, maneuvering around obstacles, communicating to obstacles, and using appendages to manipulate obstacles. There are few autonomous robots in operation today. Even most sophisticated, dynamic robots such as those used in an automotive factory perform according to static programming. And most autonomous robots are only semi-autonomous and will likely remain so even as more fundamental autonomy becomes technically feasible. For example, the Roomba vacuum cleaner does not move according to a pre-programmed route and can modify its route dynamically as its environment changes. However, it has a very limited degree of freedom that is determined by its programming.
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