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Škoda Transtech

Škoda Transtech

Škoda Transtech

Successful collaboration on Škoda Transtech tram production line

Škoda Transtech is Europe’s leading manufacturer of tram and railway vehicles for extreme climatic conditions and a significant contract manufacturer of medium-heavy workshop products. The company has more than three decades of experience with designing and manufacturing rolling stock products. The company is especially proud of its double-deck passenger carriages and its low-floor trams. Its head office is in Oulu, its manufacturing base is in Otanmäki, and it has maintenance units in Helsinki and Tampere. Škoda Transtech is part of the Czech Škoda Group, which has subsidiaries in Germany, Hungary, and Turkey, in addition to Finland and the Czech Republic.

Škoda Transtech

Successful collaboration on a tram production line

When Škoda Transtech Oy contacted Jucat in 2008, it planned to increase the domesticity of its double-deck carriage product family by moving the manufacture of carriage bogies from continental Europe to the Otanmäki manufacturing base in Finland. Another aim was to combine effective manufacturing with reliable jig and production methods, enable robotic welding, account for occupational safety, and ensure a well-thought-through ergonomic production environment.

At that time, the company was seeking a company with expertise in jig and workpoint technology in particular. Jucat was chosen as the supplier. The result of this first joint project was an effective and balanced welding production line, with the safest and most ergonomic tools selected for its various phases.

Bringing manufacturing to Finland was a great success, and the project was an excellent starting point for collaboration, which has since deepened and widened over the years. Jucat and Škoda Transtech are currently collaborating closely on production development. In addition to the jigs, workpiece positioners designed for medium-heavy products and manufactured by Jucat also improve production efficiency, precision, and consistent quality on the production line.

Carefully planned critical points create an effective whole

 

Collaboration between the companies is led on the Škoda Transtech side by Otanmäki plant manager Marko Hurskainen, who is responsible for the Otanmäki production plant’s operations from production and occupational safety to production technology and investments. He began work at the Otanmäki plant in 2007 in production development and knows the details of tram carriage production like the back of his hand.

“One critical point in our production is the tack welding of the body shell of the tram carriage, which is determined by the shape and tolerances of the body shell. Jigs are used to ensure that the result achieved through tack welding is within shape and measurement tolerances, and allow the product to be duplicated. It’s at this point that we also see how the design of the product, production and production technology have succeeded, and weigh up the suppliers’ skills and understanding of the behaviour of the materials used in the production process.”

Tram carriage production lines are long and complex, with points that require particular precision occurring throughout the production line. The service life of demanding products is 40 years under dynamic load. All of the product welds are categorised, so in addition to technical precision, the optimal welding position is also necessary to ensure that the product meets requirements.

“During final welding, workpiece positioners are used to ensure that the workpiece is not only in the right position not only from a welding-technical standpoint, but also ergonomically. We have been very satisfied with the high quality, reliable structure, and availability of components for Jucat’s positioners,” summarises Hurskainen.

A methodical approach, flexibility, and shared successes

Škoda Transtech’s production process typically involves long but intensive production times. Tight schedules include day-specific targets, so keeping within the set framework requires the company itself and the supplier to have a methodical approach, flexibility, and the ability to come up with solutions – sometimes mid-project – to ensure communication and stick to the schedule.

“Once we’ve taken a product forwards from design, we examine the production technology and structure together with our own and Jucat’s experts to consider where the solutions will be placed, what productivity matters need to be considered in particular, and how they correlate with our jig or workpiece positioner needs. It is deep collaboration, and it’s also important for the supplier to be involved with product development processes,” says Hurskainen of the production design process, and continues:

“With Jucat, we’ve also achieved efficiency in the production of various products by applying standard solutions. When you utilise a standard method in this way, you can speed up the design phase, simplify component needs, and improve cost-efficiency. We have tram carriages in various shapes and sizes, and double-deck carriages, but the solutions aren’t product-specific; they can be used quite widely in production.”

Increased collaboration benefits everyone

Both parties benefit from the companies’ developing operations and, from Škoda Transtech’s perspective, the supplier’s investment in new areas of business. Collaboration will deepen with the new solution models, and Hurskainen is following Jucat’s future development projects with interest:

“Jucat has had just the right expertise for us, and they always keep their promises. They also always take the required action to ensure that schedules, communication, and technical solutions work. For example, at some points we needed more detailed projectisaton, and Jucat responded by recruiting more professionals. Not all of our needs are unambiguously easy, but together we’ve found suitable solutions for everything. We’ve also always been able to negotiate things cordially.”

Outokummun Metalli

Outokummun Metalli

Outokummun Metalli

Finland’s highest-quality welding automation – Outokummun Metalli’s production capacity increased by two robot welding cells

Established in 1980, Outokummun Metalli Oy is a metal industry company that specialises in manufacturing timber harvesting machinery. The company is the world’s largest manufacturer of harvester head frames and is part of the global forest machinery business via its partner John Deere. In addition to harvester heads, the company also manufactures grapples for forwarders, excavators and trucks. The desire to modernise has been at the core of Outokummun Metalli’s operations right from the start, and it was that desire that led the company to Jucat.  

Outokummun Metalli

Finland’s highest-quality welding automation – Outokummun Metalli’s production capacity increased by two robot welding cells

Long-term customer relations, high quality, and effective operations have always been the cornerstones of Outokummun Metalli’s business operations, and the company maintains them through continuous development, collaboration, and staff training. Their will to modernise and progress is still strong, which led them to think about how they could take developmental strides in technology while seeking new productivity and quality, particularly from the customer’s perspective.

Outokummun Metalli’s managing director Jarmo Paakkunainen says that the company began by internally investigating what this development step would entail and the kind of target that could be set.

“We chose not to take the simplest and easiest step; instead, we focused on a very complex welded structure, harvester head frames. First we carried out a technical investigation by assessing whether our idea was feasible in theory and in practice. Once we were convinced, we first contacted ABB to enquire whether they could recommend a solution provider. That’s how we heard of Jucat.”

 

From concept to reality – the result is a fully automated hi-tech robot cell

 

Collaboration began with a visit by Jucat representatives Jukka and Anssi to Outokumpu. They sat down to discuss Outokummun Metalli’s thoughts and how the project would progress. It was decided that the solution would first create a simulation using the company’s concrete products in order to see whether it would be possible to implement the project with the robot and its surrounding devices.

“Based on the simulation, we decided to invest in a robot cell, which we received in 2018. Once we had started up the device and used it for a while, we found that it was a very functional solution for our production. So we decided to invest in another, similar robot cell in 2021,” says Paakkunainen, explaining the investment decisions.

Initially, significant investment was required. Outokummun Metalli’s production already made use of individual robots, but the company did not yet have any experience with automated cells. They did however have some experience with the industry, and the company knew rather accurately what kind of features they would require the robot cell to have. The concept was created with the aim of finding a solution in which product processing would be fully automated. Calculations also paid close attention to manufacturing times, and the simulation helped to practically illustrate the solution in all its glory.

Better quality, higher capacity, and more expertise through robotics

All of the objectives that Outokummun Metalli set for its first robot cell back in the past have been met. The weld is more even and better throughout, and both capacity and production have risen. The second cell has improved results even further. In addition to achieving these targets, the robot cells have also provided the company with more important expertise with robotics – and Paakkunainen believes it will also be required in the future.

““Taking the next step in this technological development arc was a big factor for investment, but of course investment must produce more than it costs. The targets have been reached and our expertise with robotics and welding automation has increased significantly. We’ve learnt a lot about cell operation and programming. It’s also important with the future in mind, as we will continue to work with robotics in any case.”

Like many other Finnish metal industry companies, Outokummun Metalli has also faced challenges in workforce availability. There is a shortage of welders all over Finland. Technological solutions can be used to help overcome this challenge.

“If there is a shortage of skilled workers, the available workers must be used for work that cannot be automated. Meanwhile, it’s imperative to automate work that can be automated. It would not be sensible to invest in automation that wouldn’t provide clear benefits, but this staffing perspective is a big factor in decision-making. Automation helps to reduce dependence on labour and to manage when there aren’t enough welders to go around,” Paakkunainen says of the significance of automation from a workforce availability and human resources perspective.

Smooth and simple collaboration

Collaboration during the project went smoothly. Paakkunainen says the personal chemistry was excellent:

“At our first meeting, Jukka said you can always trust people from Ostrobothnia. And it’s true, they have always kept their word. They are easy to work with and communicate with. Minor setbacks always crop up in projects, and everything has been managed well. Overall, Jucat is a reliable partner with open and honest people.”

Prima Power

Prima Power

Prima Power

Case: Prima Power – Jucat’s robotic system boosted the efficiency of a new automated production line

A client of Prima Power’s had long experience in manufacturing self-service storage doors manually. However, the manual process was afflicted by various challenges pertaining to internal logistics, leading to misplaced goods, delayed deliveries and even damaged products. It was clear that a more efficient, higher quality production system was required.

Prima Power delivered its client a new automated production line which required a robotic system for joining and attaching the door components. According to Antti Kuusisaari, Vice President of System Sales at Prima Power, Jucat was a natural choice for a partner as he was already familiar with the company which is located just a stone’s throw from Prima Power’s premises.

“I’ve known both Jucat and CEO Jukka Rintala for a long time. I knew Jucat is a highly dynamic and forward-looking company that has solid expertise in robotics and actively takes on new challenges. We inquired whether they could implement the robotic system we required, and that sparked our collaboration”, Kuusisaari recounts the early stages of the project.

Prima Power

Automated production line implemented with Jucat

The companies’ collaboration launched vigorously. As the year was closing in and the Christmas rush about to hit, the tender had to be drawn up without delay. Prima Power outlined the initial information with high precision, enabling Jucat to respond very quickly. At first, Jucat created a simulation of the solution to be produced, focusing on improving production rate, among other things. The simulation convinced the client, and the production was started.

The initial stages of the production line were tested and demonstrated with the help of visualisations provided by the client. Then Jucat was provided with pre-bent door blanks to enable hands-on familiarisation with the components’ shape, size, weight, rigidity and other properties essential in terms of production. The next stage was to take a closer look at Jucat’s concept design, the scale of the solution and the content of delivery.

The production line was first assembled at Jucat’s production facilities where it was tested, inspected and pre-approved. After the robotic system had been adjusted to reach the desired output, it was re-assembled at the Prima Power factory where the client carried out the factory approval tests. The client was highly satisfied with the result: it met all the set criteria.

“Installation in the client’s country of manufacture is currently underway. Prima Power’s production line is installed first, and Jucat’s robotic assembly line will be fitted immediately afterwards. Then the system will be operational, and the client can start production. Upon completion, warranty service for the production line will be provided by the local ABB unit. In this project, Jucat’s good connections to ABB provided significant added benefits to our client”, Kuusisaari sums.

Added value to collaboration from professional project management

As a whole, the collaboration with Jucat was seamless, precise and effective. Communication was excellent throughout the project, and the proximity of the partners’ offices improved it further.

“As tailored projects are sensitive by nature, they have to be mutually monitored. Jucat’s project manager showed admirable expertise and initiative throughout the project. We were always aware of the project’s progress. Each question was answered immediately and every matter handled effectively and with expertise. For instance, at the final stretch of the project, the client got a development idea concerning the mounting of the system. Jucat grasped the idea quickly, and it was quickly implemented”, Kuusisaari states on the collaboration with Jucat.

 

Increased demand for turnkey automated solutions

 

The 27 metres long production line delivered as a turnkey solution contains all the components, equipment and machinery required for punching, bending and assembling door blanks. According to Kuusisaari, the project was extremely inspiring as the demand for automated production lines as turnkey solutions such as this is very high both in Finland and abroad.

“We constantly present and sell automated systems in the international market, and we get more and more inquiries on turnkey solutions. Clients have production-related requirements, challenges or ideas to which they search comprehensive solutions that cover the entire process from the raw material to the installed product,” Kuusisaari explains on the market situation of automated solutions.

Valtra

Valtra

Valtra

Automated production line

VALTRA is the leading manufacturer and service provider of tractor for agricultural use. The company develops, markets and produces high quality Valtra tractors and maintenance services as well as, other services in co-operation with its partners that provide value to its customers.

Valtra

The challenge

Valtra decided to start producing an assembly component at its own factory, which had previously been produced by a subcontractor. The company did not have previous experience in the manufacture of the component, and needed to develop a progressive production line that improved the company’s competitiveness. In addition, the line had to both produce a consistent quality and be efficient.

Our solution

We designed and implemented a turnkey automated production line for Valtra. We designed in co-operation with the customer a detailed and comprehensive concept design of the production line. We calculated a production capacity estimate for the production line that we committed ourselves to by giving the customer a productivity guarantee.

We implemented a progressive production line for Valtra based on our concept design, which fully took advantage of modern automation technology. The customer received a balanced solution that ensured consistent quality of production and improved competitiveness of the company. We meet the customers’ tight timetable, responded flexibly to changes and achieved the set production efficiency targets in full.

Ponsse

Ponsse

Ponsse

Multiple-robot welding unit for demanding needs

Ponsse Plc is a company specialised in the sales, production, service and technology of forestry machines for the cut-to-length method.

Ponsse

The challenge

Ponsse’s current range includes approximately 15 welded frames, the production of which the company wished to improve. For this purpose, Ponsse required a robotic unit comprising a workpiece positioner and a welding robot.

Our solution

After examining the frame welding positions, we came to the conclusion that the best option would be a portal robot with a positioning table. We designed a multiple-robot welding unit that was to be able to weld the frames of all harvester heads and any related components within a single station.

The workpiece positioning robot was scaled based on the torque caused by the worked object.

The robot’s software options were examined carefully. In addition to price, we compared the programming method, sensor data and programming environment restrictions.

We knew that designing and assembling the equipment was a challenge, but with a domestic manufacturer, the whole process progressed smoothly.”