Stivent Industrie near the French city of Poitiers have made a name for themselves across Europe by making special devices for use in filtration and extraction technology. One of the innovative products this mediumsized company has engineered is a special system that is capable of transporting large quantities of glass wool or mineral wool to all levels of a building in a quick and efficient way by means of a hose. The chassis of the apparatus is composed of ultra-thin galvanised steel sheets whose thickness varies only between 1.0 mm and 1.6 mm depending on the model. For added strength, the design is made up of stainless steel pipes and significantly thicker walls that guarantee the stability of the entire device even when subjected to the harshest of operating conditions.
Thin sheets represent a particularly daunting challenge to the welding process. If you merely reduce the energy you apply during welding, you will end up with numerous places of sticky spatter and reduced arc stability. This type of results usually necessitates a great amount of rework. If you apply too much energy, on the other hand, you will cause the material to warp. This, too, results in time-consuming corrections. Welding the extremely thin steel sheets to the much more sturdy base frame is a feat that categorically requires the steel sheets to be exposed to as little heat as possible. The entire welding process needs to be coordinated in such a way that neither the sheets nor the base frame could become buckled. Another factor that played a key role was the need to keep manufacturing costs at a minimum in order to offer the system at a competitive price on the market – naturally, without cutting any corners or making sacrifices on quality.
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The built-in solution composed of welding source and robot guarantees, over the long run, both maximum flexibility and first-rate weld seams that can be reproduced 100 % of the time. Better still, with SpeedCold Lorch delivers a welding process that is made to meet the challenge of welding the millimetre-thin steel sheets swiftly and without any warping. The SpeedCold process controls the process sequence with such precision that the system can react to any changes in the arc within milliseconds and maintain exceptional weld pool control throughout the process even when the welding current is rather low: SpeedCold introduces precisely the amount of energy that is required in the corresponding process section – this translates to a savings of 25 per cent compared to conventional MIG-MAG welding. SpeedControl, furthermore, offers outstanding seam shaping and gap bridging properties. Hardly any spatter, no material warping and, consequently, considerably less reworking are among the key benefits. The small amount of spatter that is produced remains cold – it does not stick to the chassis and can be wiped off with a single swipe. What is more, the customer can also choose from a variety of robots. Customers can pick from a wide selection of robot brands and expand the scope of performance by adding additional welding processes at any time – all thanks to Lorch’s Ready-to-Robot technology.Stivent Industrie has installed their first welding robot made by Lorch. A second investment is already under planning, as Philippe Becel intends to achieve further increases in productivity. The French-German duo of Lorch and Stivent works seamlessly together and offers a vast synergy potential that still remains untapped, says the Managing Director expressing his conviction.
“In the past, you had to opt for an inflexible solution when purchasing a welding robot even though the investment period lasted between ten and fifteen years and the requirements were subject to constant change. To minimise our risks, we went on the look-out for a “global” solution that would allow us to tweak and modify the system to our needs as we went along. Our decision to pick Lorch’s versatile Ready-to- Robot system gives us the flexibility we need for the long haul. The solution affords us the option to upgrade the MIG-MAG welding power source little by little and to add on additional welding processes such as SpeedArc, SpeedPulse, SpeedRoot or SpeedUp. But that is not all: the smart welding solution engineered by Lorch also exceeded all our expectations in the realm of efficiency. We used to require up to three persons to manually weld 40 chassis in one week. Today, the same result can be achieved by a single person in just two days. We had to adapt our entire manufacturing process to the increased production rate of the robots. We have managed to increase the speed by up to 40 per cent for a great many welding operations. These speed gains are complemented by tremendous savings in welding cycles and electrical current consumption.”
Chief Executive of Stivent Industrie