Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä

New rotation solutions for large components are born from an innovative approach

Wärtsilä Corporation is a supplier of innovative technology and lifecycle solutions and a market leader in the marine and energy markets.

Wärtsilä

New rotation solutions for large components are born from an innovative approach

Wärtsilä is known for its pioneering technological solutions in the energy and marine industries. The company is committed to continuous innovation and sustainable development, as demonstrated by its investments in multi-fuel engines, environmentally friendly energy solutions and smart digital applications.

Wärtsilä’s collaboration with Jucat dates back to 2015, when the company was looking for a solution to rotate large, heavy pieces. At the time, many factors influenced the choice of supplier, but one major factor in the continued collaboration is the open-mindedness towards new solutions – a characteristic shared by both companies:

“Jucat has been a good supplier from the start. They have been as open-minded about new technologies as we are. Over the years we have purchased several pieces of equipment from them, the first of which is still in active production,” says Jussi Laulaja, Wärtsilä’s development engineer.

Jussi Laulaja main role is as a project manager for automation projects in component manufacturing, and he has therefore been the contact person for most of Jucat’s and Wärtsilä’s projects.

At the heart of cooperation is the rotation of large and heavy pieces

Wärtsilä’s component manufacturing operations involve a large number of large, heavy and precision parts, and the selection of partners has therefore placed particular emphasis on the skills and technology required to meet this need. Jucat equipment has always been able to meet the company’s projects, even when the solution required customisation and a new way of doing things. Local presence also brings many advantages, not only in terms of maintenance but also in terms of potential problems. Help is available quickly.

On a day-to-day level, the solutions provided by Jucat are reflected in improved efficiency, improved quality performance and improved safety and ergonomics at work. The elimination of the need to rotate pieces on the cranes, which is directly reflected in the well-being and productivity of the workers.

High-tech robotics for a motorised washing machine

In 2021, Jucat provided Wärtsilä with a completely new solution for the company’s new Sustainable Technology Hub in Vaasa, Finland. A washing system was needed to wash engine blocks and other large components, and Jucat supplied the transfer and rotation equipment and robotics for this system. These days, component cleanliness requirements are high and constantly increasing. According Laulaja, the solution required high-tech equipment that could also meet these criteria.

“Jucat has taken an open-minded approach to offering us challenging packages. They have always been brave and very active. In the case of the block washer, we first carried out extensive preliminary work on the project with Jucat, which then formed the basis for formulating and implementing the solution. There are not many suppliers of such a package who are brave enough to take up the challenge. They have always delivered what they promised, which has been important to us,” says the Jussi Laulaja.

Ponsse

Ponsse

Ponsse

Responsible collaboration for specific machining needs

Ponsse, which specialises in cut-to-length forest machines, is one of the leading machinery manufacturers in its industry. Ponsse’s operations revolve around producing sustainable solutions for the benefit of their customers and the environment.

Ponsse

Responsible collaboration for specific machining needs

Ponsse, which specialises in cut-to-length forest machines, is one of the leading machinery manufacturers in its industry. Ponsse’s operations revolve around producing sustainable solutions for the benefit of their customers and the environment.

Collaboration with Jucat initially began with the need to develop frame production. Nowadays Ponsse’s production involves several of Jucat’s welding automation processes.

“Collaboration with Jucat has gone well. Ponsse is a very customer-oriented company, and we always want to keep our promises to our customers. We also want our goods suppliers and partners to share the same principles in their own operations. In this industry, Jucat is just as responsible a company as we are. They keep their promises and make things work,” says Ponsse’s production development manager, Heikki Selkälä.

Device configurability and customer orientation are key

Ponsse’s devices have peak configurability, which means that the company can provide its customers with various devices to meet very specific needs. This means we are able to take into account the operating environment and types of wood processed by Ponsse’s customers, for example. Advanced equipment nevertheless requires advanced manufacturing technology.

“Jucat has helped us with welding automation in particular. We handle and position heavy parts during device manufacturing, and this is now easier to do. Jucat uses ABB robots in its welding cells. These robots can be highly configured to mean precise needs. Without these robot cells, it would be almost impossible to make these machines,” adds Selkälä, referring to the welding automation cells, which contain both positioners and welding robots.

Welding cells are a fixed and sustainable part of Ponsse’s production

Robots have created a new kind of working environment for Ponsse’s welders. The welders have become very familiar with working with the robots, as configuring and using the robots has been a part of their daily routine for years. According to Selkälä, investments in cells were also made with employees’ working conditions in mind:

“The robots have significantly changed the way that components are made in Ponsse’s production. When we invest in robot welding, one of the aims is to help our welders to get more out of their work for less.” Selkälä sums up the collaboration between the companies in a single sentence: “Jucat is a very customer-oriented company and its robot welding cells are well-made and durable.”

Närko

Närko

Närko

New technology and automation bring significant benefits to chassis production

Oy Närko Ab (later Närko) is one of the leading trailer and superstructure manufacturers in the Nordic countries. The company’s production and sales companies are located in the Nordic countries and their trailers are in use throughout Europe. Närko’s subsidiaries are Oy Närko Finland Ab in Finland and Svenska Närko Ab and Atrans Ab in Sweden. There is also an associated company Norske Närko in Norway. Närko is part of the Nordic Närko Group.

Närko

New technology and automation bring significant benefits to
chassis production

The cooperation between Jucat and Närko started some years ago when Jucat supplied Närko with welding solutions for production. However, as the company’s production has grown and the previous equipment no longer served the current needs, the company decided in 2022 to invest in upgrading its frame beam welding process and technology.

The competition was open to a number of industry players, and in the end, Jucat’s solution was the one that everyone wanted to go for. The decision was also influenced by the positive experience of working with Jucat in the past and the practical knowledge that Jucat can deliver such solutions.

“We used to do quite a lot of work manually. We knew that it was time to do something new and modern and of course we want to improve all the time.

We had seen Jucat’s robotic station solutions, so we knew they had the capability to do this kind of solution. That started a discussion that we felt showed that we were on the way to finding a good solution for welding (truck) frame beams,” says Nicklas Pärus, CEO of Närko.

An easy solution, even though each product is different

The biggest challenge in the project was related to Närko’s product range: several products have the same design, but the individual dimensions vary. This could have meant, in the worst case, programming a separate welding program offline for each version, which would have been very time-consuming.

“The station must be efficient, work with different products and save time, but it must not be too difficult to use. If we tried to have too many versions of it, it would be too cumbersome. There were points during the project when we also had to develop our solutions and standardise them to make the new solution work well,” says Pärus of the solution’s evolution.

Parametric programming allowed us to define basic values for the products, as well as variable dimensions, whose paths are identified by the robot using laser scanning before welding begins. This makes it easy to weld products of a certain shape with varying widths, for example. Some special products are created along the way, but parametric programming covers up to 90% of the beam designs to be welded. So Pärus is confident that there is now a good solution for the company’s needs:

“We are confident that we have found a solution to our challenge that will last for years to come. The capacity of the machine is sized to last us for years. And new rules are constantly coming into play in traffic – for example, the law that came into force in 2019, which allowed longer trucks to be used in traffic. With the new solution, we can manufacture 20-metre-long bodies, which was not possible before.”

Smooth cooperation and active communication with the supplier

Pärus has been very satisfied with the cooperation with Jucat. The project resulted in a solution that has moved production forward as a whole – saving time, improving technology and increasing automation. He is confident that Jucat will continue to be the supplier of choice for future development needs.

“There are always things to be sorted out in projects like this, and especially in times like these, when even the availability of parts is a challenge, it’s the proactivity that is so important. We have always been well informed about where we are going, where we are on schedule and what the reasons are for any changes. We were kept up to date on the implementation on a weekly basis.”

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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.”