Headquartered in the Swiss town of Seedorf in the Canton of Uri, GIPO – with their staff of 160 employees – ranks among the leading manufacturers of mobile tracked crushing plants. A specialist in machinery construction, the company has sold more than 700 of their plants since 1982. GIPO revolutionised the industry for processing raw mineral materials by engineering innovative combination plants (crusher and screen units). Common applications for these machines are mining and tunnel construction, work at lime and gravel plants as well as quarries and the recycling of construction rubble. The rock crushing plants are designed for the toughest possible applications and can reach a length and weight of up to 40 metres and 140 tonnes, respectively. All machines are made to specifications and designed and built from the ground up.
The chassis of these colossal machines are made almost exclusively from S 355 steel plates. The thickness of the plates for the load-bearing elements can reach 30 millimetres. The welds are subjected to tremendous forces when the machines eat their way through the minerals. This is why every single weld must be of absolutely pristine quality. The same holds true for the great number of extremely long welds found in various areas of the chassis. To guarantee flawless quality, all seams must be as horizontal as possible and completed as single-layer welds.
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For the completion of particularly long and critical welds, the Swiss specialists have been relying on a Lorch welding tractor since 2016. Easy to carry and program, the Lorch Trac Wheel Pro is a welding tractor that was designed to create particularly complex longitudinal and curved seams both in horizontal and vertical position and handle large seam volumes with perfect ease as well. Equipped with four wheels and a magnetic mount, the tractor can be attached quickly and effortlessly to any workpiece. A high-performance motor powering all four wheels delivers the accurate feed rate necessary to guarantee a constant welding speed in all welding positions. A quick release and flexible 3D fine adjustment make the task of finding the perfect torch set-up an absolute breeze. Lorch’s Plug & Weld solution ensures that the connection to the Lorch power source is easy and convenient. GIPO AG puts their trust in Lorch’s powerful S-series as their welding source and applies Lorch’s innovative welding processes SpeedPulse XT and SpeedArc.
Even though it has only been in use for a few months, the tractor has already proven its true worth. Pitted against manual welding units, the machine proved to be two to three times faster and delivered consistently excellent weld seams. In the past, GIPO’s welders were forced to start and stop again at least three to four times to finish welds that are particularly difficult to produce, such as the seams found on the case covering the mobile chain drive, which measure more than 4.5 metres in length.
Worse yet, making the initial grinding cut for the weld and smoothing the transitions used to gobble up valuable time. In contrast, the tractor delivers a continuous seam that is of immaculate quality from start to finish. This eliminates the need for the time-consuming rework that is a common nuisance with other ordinary solutions. Another plus: The set and stored data can be used to reproduce the weld seam on additional chassis and achieve the same superior level of quality. This helps save a tremendous amount of time and improves safety significantly as well.
Paul Arnold, the man in charge of Lorch’s on-site service and Managing Director of Arnold Schweißtechnik GmbH, can already envision additional application options for the future based on the exceedingly positive results produced so far: “The tractors are also an exceptionally good choice for vehicle, container and bridge construction. You have to keep in mind that the tractor is also available as the railbound model Trac Rail, which makes it possible to define the welding path independently of the workpiece geometry. What is more, there is the Trac Rail Pro model, which comes with a built-in oscillator unit and allows for welding seams with larger dimensions.“
“The use of automated welding technology saves time, boosts the quality of the welding results and even helps bring down the cost of materials. Solutions such as the Trac Wheel make entering the world of automation exceedingly easy – especially for medium- sized industrial businesses. For many of these businesses, robot solutions are far too large and expensive. The tractors make it possible to weld longer seams with outstanding efficiency and economy. Aside from the high welding speed they generate, the tractors also help cut down the consumption of filler metals as they prevent oversize seams. Moreover, our welders immediately perceived the tractor as a helpful tool and incorporated it into their work flow right away.“
Marco Planzer, Head of the Metal Workshop
“Using the tractor during production is absolutely hassle-free. The machine is a cinch to use and has only a shallow learning curve, allowing the welder to be up and ready in no time flat as the welding process of the machine is barely different from a manual welding process. Better still, the tractor also towers head and shoulders above conventional solutions when it comes to set-up times. Attach the tractor, adjust the torch, set the values and start welding. When finished welding a lot of short welds, which we still weld by hand, I am always glad to switch over to the tractor. The tractor lets me focus entirely on the short while it takes for me to set up the parameters and then does all the heavy lifting of the actual work.”
Thomas Müller, welder at GIPO