Automation in medium-sized companies: Galvanizing plant in Germany invests in welding cell and takes stock

April 4, 2023

A medium-sized galvanizing plant in the Black Forest, southern Germany, has invested in automation. It is relying on a compact KUKA welding cell to bring production back to Germany and generate and serve new customer orders. This saves thousands of transport kilometers in the production process and prevents the shortage of skilled workers.

It is unusual for a galvanizing plant to weld steel parts. The core competence of galvanizing plants lies in hot-dip or centrifugal galvanizing to protect steel parts from corrosion. Verzinkerei Sulz, based in Sulz am Neckar in the Black Forest, employs 65 people and now also has a compact welding cell from KUKA in operation.

The KUKA KR CYBERTECH nano robot integrated in it precisely joins an octagonal prism to a compact plate of steel with the aid of the welding device. After just 90 seconds, two welding processes are completed. An employee removes the finished products and replaces them with two new ones. "One welding process takes less than a minute," enthuses Bernd D. Euschen, managing director of Verzinkerei Sulz GmbH. Depending on the type of steel base plates, Euschen calculates that 5,000 to 10,000 components are galvanized per month.

Automation brings production back to Germany

In the past, Euschen reports, these assemblies were delivered to the galvanizing plant with welds of varying quality. But there were also changing subcontractors responsible for this and sometimes welding was done by hand, sometimes with robots. For this purpose, the customer had the components transported by truck to Eastern Europe for welding. After welding, the truck transported the welded assemblies to the Black Forest, to the Sulz galvanizing plant, for galvanizing, assembly and shipping. "So our customer had to send 40 tons on the road twice a week," Euschen reports.

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