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.
New technology and automation bring significant benefits to
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.”