Page 1

a publication of Valk Welding

3 technicians of Valk Welding DK A\S and 2 part-timers at Valk Welding’s new business premises in Nørre Aaby, Denmark.

Service & support Also in this issue • Customer Support to optimise welding production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 • New: DTPS G2 support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 • Ron Snijder, Linido: “Staff knowledge also needs maintenancecontract . . . . . . . . . 3 • Kemi sees its own mentality mirrored at Valk Welding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 • Complete welding robotcell delivered from stock within 1 week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 • Welding robot and DTPS create peace at Hekamp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7 • Voortman integrates Valk Welding cutting robot in beam coping system . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 • Construction of huge Bollegraaf system in its final stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

© Valk Welding BV, 2008 Alle rights reserved.

up to full strength

Valk Welding sets out to maintain a high level of service and support for its clients. Valk Welding has kept pace with the rapid growth in the number of installed welding robots and the activities outside of the Benelux region by enlarging the base for the provision of service and support. For that purpose most of the service departments of the foreign establishments in Denmark, France and the Czech Republic have been strengthened with our own service staff. That means that systems built at Valk Welding in the Netherlands can be serviced by the foreign establishments themselves, without placing an added burden on the national activities. New establishment in Denmark Valk Welding’s expansion strategy aimed at continuing to extend its position as European system integrator recently led to the establishment of a company and the occupation of new business premises in the centre of Denmark. Valk Welding has already been selling welding robot systems in Denmark for some years, as a result of which the number of robots installed in that country has risen to fifty. The new facility houses sales, technical support, software support, parts storage and a demo/ technical centre. There is also sufficient space for continued growth in the years to come. Only the assembly of welding robot systems will remain concentrated in the Netherlands.

Broadly trained service technicians With 7 service technicians in the Benelux region and 5 beyond for 1600 installed robots, Valk Welding has a relatively small service team. That has everything to do with the low sensitivity of the robots to malfunctions. Also, most of the faults that do occur can be solved by telephone. According to Valk Welding’s service manager for the Benelux region, Ad van Boxel, the fact that service technicians regularly have to solve faults on location is usually down to operating errors. “Properly training the people who operate the welding robots minimises the number of call-outs. continued on page 2

8th year - 2008 - no 2

Valk mailing

Customer Support

to optimise welding production




Software specialists Daniël de Baat, Hans Hazelebach, Paul van den Bos, Bastiaan Hardam, Adriaan Broere and Anton Ackermans (not in the photo)

New: DTPS G2 support contract To keep pace with the sharp growth in the number of outstanding licences for offline programming and simulation software for welding robots, DTPS G2, Valk Welding is planning to deliver support and updates on a contract basis. DTPS users will then be able to rely on specialists providing telephone support, email support and remote service for a small fee, and will also receive an annual update. For the time being the support contract is only be offered to customers in the Benelux region, and only under conditions beyond. Information:

With its leading specialists in offline and online robot programming, Valk Welding makes it possible to screen existing welding robot systems and their programming and to advise on their continued optimisation. The Customer Support department, indirectly headed by technical director Adriaan Broere, not only provides customers with practical programming support, but can also be hired on a consultancy basis. Adriaan Broere: “Customers are usually satisfied with their welding robot, but are not getting the most out of it. It usually turns out that the robot can do more than the customer thinks. When we go through the system with the client, we often find a number of potential improvements that can ultimately increase output. By way of example, a customer recently hired one of our programmers for 2 days to screen a new welding robot system, and we were able to increase its output by 5%. That ultimately covered much more than the consultancy fees. High level of know-how With almost 30 years’ experience in welding robotisation and a very low personnel turnover, Valk Welding is way ahead in knowhow in this field. That is clearly underlined by the fact that Valk Welding programmers are asked by the American Panasonic office to give DTPS training courses. This follows from the close partnership between Valk Welding and Panasonic’s Japanese programmers, which have worked for years on making the software suitable for small series production in Western Europe. The number of specialists in the Valk Welding organisation working on DTPS has increased to six. That knowledge base has also increased internally to about 25 people, including robot programmers and technical advisors who work with the system on a dayto-day basis.

Broadly trained service technicians Continued form front page...

Faults are often caused by incorrect programming, which can result in the robot crashing. In those cases we have to repair the damage caused to the robot. The technicians also solve faults arising from the robot or robot control system. Our service technicians need to be able to carry out that kind of work from start to finish. For that reason they are given broad training in the mechanical, electrical and programming areas. Even though the robots do not require much maintenance, they do need preventative maintenance, such as lubrication of the tracking for the peripheral components, the

replacement of batteries and checking the robot for safety aspects, etc., so that it remains in tip-top condition. Clients sometimes forget or skip the preventative maintenance owing to the demanding production schedules. Valk Welding can also carry out preventative maintenance on the basis of subsequent costing or a maintenance contract. But in cases where a client has a robot system breakdown, we are expected to provide a fast response. On that point we are the client’s first port of call. Our aim is to get a technician to the client’s premises within 24 hours of receiving the call. That is the strength of our service organisation.

Ron Snijder, Linido:

“Staff knowledge also needs maintenance” Staff Linido training by Valk Welding up to date in the field of robotics.

As Procurement and Production manager responsible for Linido’s production continuity, Ron Snijder does not have much contact with Valk Welding in the service area. Ron Snijder: “The robots themselves require little maintenance and complete their cycles without problems day in, day out. That says something about the reliability of the robot systems, which we are more than satisfied with. But that does not mean that there is nothing our supplier can do for us. Valk Welding’s wide ranging facilities and services in the training area are very important to us. This year Valk Welding gave two of our people refresher training in programming. The robots themselves do not require maintenance, but the knowledge of the people who operate



Procurement & Production manager Ron Snijder with the collapsible toilet brackets that are bent with the bending cell.


Linido in Pijnacker develops and produces safety appliances for use in the bath, shower and toilet by elderly and disabled people. The company is one of the world’s leading specialists in this field, and has a streamlined organisation and modern production systems. Linido has been working in partnership with Valk Welding in the welding technology area since 1991. The current welding robot has been running for about twelve years, and is virtually maintenance-free. Four years ago the company commissioned a handling robot for the tubes on a Mewag bending machine. Despite the low maintenance requirement, Ron Snijder has a clear opinion on the service of Valk Welding: “We hardly ever see Valk Welding people for maintenance, but we do need them to keep the knowledge of our personnel up to standard. We regard the broad support provided by Valk Welding in that area as an important maintenance task for a supplier.”

and programme them does. You have to keep up with the state of technology in order to continue to make full use of the functionalities of the robot and the programme.” Linido this year initiated an optimisation study for the welding robot. That revealed that if the necessary knowledge was available, the robot would be able to weld more products in small series. Ron Snijder: “When our assistant foreman left he took a large amount of the knowledge in this area with him, and we weren’t even entirely able to make improvements to the welding robot. Valk Welding responds to those situations with an excellent range of courses, for outdated and the very latest welding robots alike. Valk Welding has now taught two of our people all the ‘tips and tricks’ in the programming area, and we are now able to efficiently programme the improvements and new products using the teach pendant.”

The handling robot on the Mewag pipe bending machine processes a bulk of 500 tubes. The cell is placed in a separate hall that is only entered for logistics (incoming and outgoing materials)

Kemi sees its own mentality mirrored at Valk Welding Successful TIG welding application through close partnership After his father had bought the first welding robot at Valk Welding in 1978, Anton Smits of Kemi once again opted for Valk Welding 25 years later. Because the TIG welding of thinwalled products is very precise work, intensive cooperation was needed to come up with a successful application. Anton Smits: “We set out to present ourselves to our clients as a supplier with a constructive approach. That idea and approach is mirrored at Valk Welding. Welding.”




Anton Smits Jr. and Fons Smits Sr. with technical consultant Bas van Haagen of Valk Welding (middle)

The welding robot systems have since been running at Kemi for four years without any problems, and that is exceptional by any standards. When it comes to the TIG welding of thinwalled work pieces it is important to make sure that the seams are connected very closely together. A tolerance of 10% of the plate thickness is by no means exceptional. Anton Smits: “The use of welding jigs is extremely important to TIG welding with the robot. The work piece has to be supported over the entire length so that the tolerance remains consistent all along it. The supplier’s support was especially important in the start-up phase. It is precisely in the development of the welding jigs that you have to work in close partnership. That has enabled us to lay a good foundation. It might be the technology that determines success, but the supplier’s know-how is important too.”

A satisfied customer for thirty years Always the latest technology Kemi (Kempische Metaalwaren Industrie b.v.) was the first customer that Valk Welding

delivered a welding robot to in February 1979. Kemi used that welding robot to weld steel frames for scaffolding, which made Kemi one of the first suppliers to invest in that kind of process automation. The company also owned the first NC-controlled angle bending machines and punching machines. That investment strategy is still reflected in the company’s machinery to this very day. Continuously investing in the latest technologies has enabled Kemi to develop into an all-round plating supplier with a thickness processing range from 0.2 to 3 mm and lengths up to 4 m. Getting the basics right The company’s growth can be largely attributed to investing in state-of-the-art technology. “But what you do with it is even more important, says Anton Smits. Despite the wide variety of welding processes we only use the welding robot for the TIG welding of a limited number of thin-walled products. It is important to get the basics right: the machine, the jig and the product must be precisely geared to each other, especially when it comes to plating. The product must join up perfectly, with a tolerance of 10% of the plate thickness. That also calls for an extremely precise punching and bending process.”

Simple concept, high technology The robot cell delivered by Valk Welding 4 years ago is a standard H-frame design with two 3 m clamping units and a standard Panasonic VR welding robot. Anton Smits: “Because the TIG welding process calls for a high level of precision, the welding robot is only operated by professionals who understand the parameters that could disrupt the process. They keep an eye on the welding process and also clamp the products on the other side of the station.” Very low maintenance “Because the welding robot is virtually maintenance-free, we haven’t yet had to make much use of Valk Welding’s service. Most of our problems have already been solved by telephone. On the occasions when a service engineer has been called out, that has mostly been to answer questions about using and programming the machines. We have designed the programmes on a selfteaching basis, making grateful use of the tips provided by Valk Welding’s technical consultant Bas van Hagen. What we regard as an important advantage is that after a collision the robot can easily be recalibrated, which makes it possible to continue using the programs as before.”

Valk Welding was asked this summer by Hydrospex, a hydraulic heavy lifting systems producer, to deliver a welding robot with a short lead time. The company needed to weld a series of 800 tubular products for a new developed system in just a few months, a task that would involve temporarily employing 15 extra welders. A welding robot would be able to get the job done in 17 working days under fully continuous production. Managing Director Tjerko Jurgens wanted a welding robot cell straight away and could not afford to wait 3 months. Valk Welding was able to meet this demand and delivered an M3100 preferred welding cell, ready for use, within 1 week. The M3100 is a complete welding robot cell based on an H-frame concept with two 3m work stations, process control and full CE protection.

Complete welding robot cell delivered from stock within 1 week

All disciplines under one roof The fact that the hydraulics, mechanics and electronics disciplines work in close partnership at the company makes it possible for Hydrospex to quickly gear the various technologies to each other. Each department is therefore well equipped and uses the latest CNC equipment for fast, efficient and high quality work. Production is organised in small series ranging from 3 to a maximum of 10 articles. At the steel construction department, all of the construction sections are welded by hand by 30 people working in 3 shifts.

New system This is clearly illustrated by one of the new concepts currently being developed by Hydrospex. It is a new hoisting system consisting of hexagonal, tubular parts with a length of 1m, which are hydraulically lifted one by one up to a total height of 70 m. The concept is unique in terms of transport and fast construction at the location. 800 tube sections are needed for the first prototype.

Saving of 3 hours per product Welding the tubular sections by hand takes about 3.5 hours, including welding on the top and bottom plates. The welding robot takes 30 minutes for the same task. With two stations, the M3100 welding robot cell makes it possible to clamp a product on one side while the robot welds the other. In the meantime, the operator can pre-attach and preheat the next sections in order to absorb the tension in the material during the welding process.


First large series The requirements for heavy transport are becoming increasingly stringent. Tjerko Jurgens: “Whereas the maximum used to be a few thousand tons, it is now around the 10,000 ton mark. The systems needed for that are getting bigger and bigger, but because of the far-off destinations they still have to be transported in sea containers. For that reason we build large systems such as these in smaller, transportable sections. Since you need a lot of small parts to build something big, the number of articles is increasing, and so are the series sizes.”

Good investment Tjerko Jurgens does not expect the welding robots to be set aside once this project is finished. If the new concept catches on, the production could run up to 1 a month. “You can rest assured that now that Hydrospex has a welding robot, it won’t be long before it is used for more products. A good investment and a valuable addition to our production process.”


Hydrospex, The Heavy Lift Company, specialising in heavy transport, has developed into one of the world’s biggest suppliers of hoisting, raising and lifting systems. Without this company’s products and expertise the London Millennium Wheel would never have been put in place and the Russian submarine Kursk would probably still be resting on the seabed. At the establishment in Hengelo some 100 people develop solutions and build them for the world’s most widely ranging hoisting, lifting and tackling projects. Hydrospex recently delivered the control system and hydraulic components for the world’s biggest crane, which was comprehensively covered by the TV programme RTL Transport on 12 October 2008.


Hydrospex puts first welding robot into operation

Production manager Marco Kampert maintains regular contact with Alex Hol, technical consultant of Valk Welding

The practical approach of Valk Welding and the functionalities offered by the programming system DPTS G2 persuaded father and sons Kampert of Hekamp Werktuigen en Aanbouwdelen to purchase a new welding robot system from Valk Welding. At the beginning of this year Valk Welding delivered a robot unit and programming system for the welding production of complete shovelling and loading buckets for the agricultural and excavation sectors. Marco Kampert: “Our experiences with an existing welding robot that no longer had enough capacity for our current production level made us more open to a practical approach than to glib sales arguments. Valk Welding not only delivered the system, but also continued to support us afterwards until the final 10% was solved.”




Welding robot and DTPS create rest in productionprocess at Hekamp Driving through the farming area in Kootwijkerbroek, the last thing people would expect to see is an ultra-modern production company. This is where in the nineteenfifties Henk Kampert Sr. began to manufacture shovelling and loading buckets for the local farming sector. That activity has since developed into a modern family firm producing machinery and accessories with some 800 customers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Denmark and a production level of around 4000 products a year. Ample capacity with 4 clamping units Hekamp contacted Valk Welding to ask whether it was possible to have its large products weighing more than 1000 kg welded with a robot and to programme the entire system offline. To facilitate maximum flexibility and sufficient capacity for large products and separate parts alike, Valk Welding proposed a solution with 4 clamping units, operated by 1 mounted welding robot. The system ultimately delivered by Valk Welding comprises a Panasonic TAWERS TA 1900 WG welding robot on an 18.5 metre freely programmable track that can be used on 4 clamping units. The first 2 stations are for heavy products and are therefore equipped with 3000 kg manipulators and a moment of up to 10,000 n/m. The third

station has a clamping unit with a 1000 kg manipulator. A fourth station is intended for small sub-assemblies, and is therefore fitted with a preliminary turntable. The four clamping units make it possible to weld series and varied single items with the robot without having to keep changing the clamping jigs. Completely produced in-house The products are manufactured and coated completely in-house with a lead time of about 3 weeks. Most of them are variants of standard products which differ between clients in terms of length, width, height and mounting. For this purpose Hekamp has its own plasma cutting system, a forming and welding department and a powder coating department. For each order the items are delivered as a construction pack to the welding department, where Hekamp personnel compile the orders and provisionally attach them to an external station.

Final welding with the robot Completely assembled and provisionally attached buckets often weighing hundreds of kilos are transported from the external stations to the welding robot. A bucket weighing 500 kg, for instance, is completely welded by the welding robot with an A6 welding height in about two hours. Marco Kampert: “Despite the fact that you can programme much more accurately with DTPS than online, you have to bear in mind that the actual model is always a bit different from the 3D simulated product.” That’s why for the final welding of this type of rough product, the starting position of the weld is located by means of tactile searching. A welding seam monitoring system is then used during the welding procedure. That way, minor differences in pre-opening and positioning are perfectly welded shut. That makes it possible to use offline programming without correction. DTPS easy to learn All of the products are designed and detailed in Solidworks. Article lists are then generated for the cutting of the flat parts. Solidworks files can be imported directly in DTPS to create the welding programs for the robot. Marco Kampert: “In the initial stage, a program had to be written for the welding robot for all the products. We programmed

the first products together with Alex Hol of Valk Welding, and after that we were soon able to continue on our own. We’ve now pretty much got the hang of the programme, and it’s also possible to copy many existing cycles from an existing programme and paste them into a new one.” Combination enhances flexibility Marco Kampert: “All in all the system with

A Hefkamp loading bucket being welded

4 work stations and external programming have helped us to achieve a high degree of flexibility. Whereas the previous system was programmed online and was only costeffective for series work, we can now make several products in small series. That means that we can limit the stocks we keep and weld more products with the robot without having to keep changing the jigs. External programming is an important element of

The programming is done at the office in DTPS G2 while the robot welds

this as it makes it possible for you to visualise the entire scenario of product, jig and robot and simulate the whole welding cycle. You can also plan production on that basis. With the support of Alex Hol, we quickly got the hang of the system. But it came as a complete surprise that we were able to use the system so soon.”

Overview of the complete cell at Hekamp

This CNC-controlled beam coping system stands out for its high processing speed and extremely accurate cutting process. The accuracy of this system is the result of a highly technical design with the robot mounted at the top of a solid frame. The frame is placed over the roller conveyors. To control the feeding of the profiles the system is fitted with a measuring roll positioning system. That makes it possible to position the profiles in the beam coping system at high speed and fully automatically.


Valk Welding designed a oxyfuel cutting robot for Voortman of Rijssen (NL) to cut out different types of steel profiles, such as I, H and U profiles, tubes, angles and steel plating. Voortman develops and builds drilling and sawing systems for the steel construction market. Integrating the cutting robot - a 6-axis Panasonic TA-1400 fitted with an oxyfuel cutting torch - with its existing beam coping system has made it possible for Voortman to upgrade the system into a fully automatic CNC-controlled beam coping system.


Voortman integrates Valk Welding cutting robot in beam coping system

The cutting robot is mounted on a robust frame The process control software makes it posplaced over the roller conveyor. sible to import DSTV data. Manual processing The 6-axis robot makes it possible to cut into the body and the flanges of the profiles. The robot based on macros is also possible. can also apply welding seam preparations. See (NL-version) for a video The first system was delivered to the (search under V806M). German company Stahlbau Queck GmbH. This company supplies steel structures for the architectonic steel building sector, industrial building, sports complexes, highrise buildings and industrial halls. Queck was looking for a replacement for its existing, outdated drilling and sawing system and for a beam cutting system. The new system had to feature higher output, minimal remnant material and a higher level of automation. foto's : Voortman

Trade Fairs and Events Valk Welding Users'club Alblasserdam, Netherlands

May 2009 Eurowelding – MSV 2009 Nitra, Slovakia

19-22 mei 2009 Schweissen und Schneiden Essen, Germany

14-19 September 2009

Construction of huge Bollegraaf system in its final stage At the assembly department of Valk Welding in Albasserdam, the finishing touches are now being made to the construction of a huge welding robot system for Bollegraaf Recycling Machinery in Appingedam. This welding robot system, with a longitudinal travel of 33m and equipped with 2 manipulators for 5 and 25 tons, is the biggest of its type ever built by Valk Welding for a Dutch client. Bollegraaf Recycling Machinery delivers machines for the recycling industry all over the world, including bale presses for old paper and systems for the processing of industrial and domestic waste. Bollegraaf will be using the welding robot system to weld sub-assemblies and complete frames for its bale presses alike.

Valk Welding has been in contact with Bollegraaf for ten years, and that contact has gained momentum with the completion of a large number of welding robot systems for the Polish trailer building Wielton. Valk Welding started building the system in September. At the same time Valk Welding programmers wrote the welding programmes for all of the products in DTPS G2. In the final stage those programmes were simulated one by one in DTPS in order to detect any conflicts at an early stage. While the system was being built, Bollegraaf people followed a DTPS G2 training course at Valk Welding’s Technical & Training Centre in Alblasserdam. The system is being put into operation at Bollegraaf at the beginning of 2009.

Colophon ‘Valk Mailing’ is a twice-yearly publication of Valk Welding B.V. and is sent free to all business relations. If you want to receive this publication in the future, please send an email to The Netherlands: Valk Welding B.V. Staalindustrieweg 15 P.O. Box 60 2950 AB Alblasserdam Tel. +31 78 69 170 11 Fax +31 78 69 195 15 Belgium: Tel : +32 (0)3 685 14 77 Fax : +32 (0)3 685 12 33 France: Valk Welding France Tel. +33 (0)3 20 10 00 39 Fax +33 (0)3 20 10 01 12 Denmark: Valk Welding DK A\S Tel. +45 44 68 31 81 Fax +45 44 68 31 87

5 Product specialists advise you on welding consumables Following the expansion of its consumables department, Valk Welding now has a team of 5 product specialists that can comprehensively advise on you welding wire, welding torches, wire conduction systems, welding masks, personal protection and spare

parts for welding torches. Our product specialists are highly trained: not only in terms of product knowledge but also regarding the applications in day-today welding practice.

Czech Republic: Valk Welding s.r.o. Tel. +420 596 790 198 Fax +420 596 790 199 Production: Steenkist Communicatie, NL-Haarlem and Valk Welding B.V. Photography: Valk Welding B.V. and Steenkist Communicatie

2008-02-Valk Mailing-EN  

Valk Welding is a trend-setting supplier of products and services in the field of industrial robotics and welding techniques. Based on its...