FREEING UP HUMAN RESOURCES
A typical task for the robot at Vattholma Mekano is to change the bucket steel and weld tooth holders on large buckets of construction machines. This involves welding work that takes two to three working days, with the cobot being positioned in the bucket and held in place by a magnetic foot. The cobot is also used to produce brackets for Vattholma Mekano’s own product – made-to-measure steps based on customer requirements.
The company is able to use the cobot for this type of single-item production for two reasons. The first reason is the cobot’s good maneuverability.
“As we work with numerous large and very heavy objects, we need a robot that is mobile. It’s easier to move the cobot than it is to move a bucket,” says Sven-Ingvar Björck.
The second, and mainreason for it being possible to use the cobot for single-item production, is that the programming is easy and quick to learn, and all the Vattholma Mekano employees can use it. Two buttons on the SmoothTool application, one red and one blue, and an accompanying tablet are used to program how the cobot should weld: Linear or circular, a continuous weld seam or pendulum welding.
“The programming was easy to learn during the three half days of training we received from Svenska Elektrod, even without having any previous experience of robot programming. Reprogramming the robot and switching between different tasks takes between two minutes and half an hour, depending on how advanced the items being manufactured are, for example if welding around corners is required,” explains Vatholma Mekano’s CEO.
Once the cobot has started welding, the employee can focus on doing more advanced welding tasks that need to be handled by a human. The cobot provides better and more consistent results for repetitive welding tasks, and gives rise to several benefits for the business.
“We get a better working environment with a calmer working tempo and less stress, as the welder does not have to sit for hours with the welding gas and heat, while at the same time profitability increases. It is estimated that we save 20 to 30 percent of our working time. So we can now handle more tasks and more complex welding assignments without having to hire more welders,” says Björck.