New technologies contribute to the development of heavy industry

New technologies contribute to the development of heavy industry

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Kemppi is actively developing the industry and offering its know-how for multidisciplinary innovation projects. With the means of cooperation, new ways of working are created, and operational processes are enhanced and refined.

The industrial revolution and the rapidly changing world pose challenges for heavy industry. Flexibility, cost efficiency, and the use of digital technology have become hot potatoes worldwide. At the same time, companies have understood the importance of cooperation and shared development projects in launching competitive innovations that genuinely create value. Artificial intelligence is one of today’s tools that, if properly harnessed, has the potential to change the world.

Kemppi has been a pioneer in the welding industry for almost 80 years and has been bringing significant innovations to the market, starting with inverter technology. In addition to its own development and research work, Kemppi cooperates with other companies to develop the industry and create new operating models.

Jigless robotic welding in the automotive manufacturing process: Case Valmet Automotive

Automotive production lines are not only expensive but also time-consuming to build. On the other hand, production batches are becoming smaller and demand flexibility from production. Valmet Automotive’s new innovation center has a welding cell, where the workpieces are not traditionally attached to welding jigs. The robots work as “jigs”, keeping the aluminum car parts positioned in place with the help of machine vision, while a third robot welds them together. Workpiece positioning technology based on machine vision increases the flexibility and cost efficiency of the production process. The system was developed by the measuring equipment supplier Mapvision.

New technology has been developed in close cooperation with various welding equipment manufacturers. Kemppi’s AX MIG Welder robotic welding equipment has proven to be a compact and functional package that was easy to integrate into an automated welding cell. It also offers versatile parameter adjustment options, a basic requirement when welding sensitive aluminum.

“AX MIG Welder has been a good choice for this project. The user interface is good and clear and can be flexibly controlled in different ways. Cooperation with Kemppi has been smooth, and the team’s commitment to the project is first-rate.” – Valmet Automotive’s Jani Niskanen, Senior Project Engineer, Joining Technologies

“Through multidisciplinary cooperation, very challenging automated aluminum welding can be developed precisely in accordance with Valmet’s needs. The new positioning technology and the opportunities offered by networking both create a competitive advantage and advance research in the field. We also have other projects related to robot welding of aluminum underway”, explained Artturi Salmela, Kemppi’s Product Manager, Automation.

Valmet Automotive is a leading European manufacturer of electric vehicle battery systems, convertible roof and automotive kinematic systems (including electric vehicle charging flaps and active spoilers) for OEMs, and one of the largest vehicle contract manufacturers in the world. Strategically, Valmet Automotive focuses on electromobility through the development and manufacturing of battery modules and packs for electrified vehicles. The activities in the company are organized in three business lines: Vehicle Contract Manufacturing (VCM), Electric Vehicle Systems (EVS) and Roof & Kinematic Systems (RKS). The company has locations in Finland, Germany, and Poland. Since its founding in 1968, Valmet Automotive has produced 1,8 million vehicles at its plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Valmet Automotive also operates two battery systems plants in Finland (Salo, Uusikaupunki), and one in Germany (Kirchardt). The automotive roof and kinematic systems are manufactured in a plant in Zary, Poland. Valmet Automotive is certified CO2 neutral in its own operations since January 1, 2022, by the certification institute DNV. The company’s gross sales in 2023 amounted to EUR 2.2 billion (net sales EUR 531 million).

Utilization of artificial intelligence in heavy industry automation welding: Case Wärtsilä

Robotic welding is more efficient and continuous than manual welding, but its quality and responsiveness are relatively lower. In close cooperation with Wärtsilä, Kemppi has implemented a project combining artificial intelligence and robotic welding, where the high quality and flexibility of manual welding are combined with the hard work of tireless robots. The enhanced automation welding process also enables better control of the heat input of steel welding and increases responsiveness during welding. The method will be applied in the assembly welding of large machine and equipment units.

Wärtsilä and Kemppi cooperation

“Kemppi is involved in the project as an important partner. Thanks to the welding robot and artificial intelligence, high-quality additional equipment can be used in an optimized way, and at the same time, the quality of the welding improves. Offline programming also enables automated production of individual pieces.” – Wärtsilä Inspection Manager Raimo Mäki-Reini

In addition, HT Laser, Cavitar, Visual Components, VTT, and the University of Tampere have been involved in the Business Finland project.

“The collaborative project with Wärtsilä started from the need to flexibly automate the welding of very large workpieces, without compromising quality. The development of welding processes, quality management and a good arc time ratio have been the focus of this project. With the help of artificial intelligence, we aim for more flexible and adaptive production,” said Salmela from Kemppi.

He continued: “Kemppi wants to develop welding automation and future technology. It is great to be involved in these projects together with strong partners. We have gained new perspectives on both sides and have been able to show the direction for the development of the field. Although the materials and workpieces welded in Valmet’s and Wärtsilä’s collaborative projects are significantly different, the projects are united by the passion for development and common goals.”

Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,800 professionals in more than 280 locations in 79 countries shape the decarbonisation transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2023, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 6.0 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

Learn more about Kemppi’s robotic and cobot welding solutions >>> Robotic welding solutions, Cobot welding solutions

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