Robot welding

Inrotech and Bladt Industries develops advanced robotic welding

Bladt Industries automates welding of very large pipe constructions.

The Funen-based company Inrotech is working full time developing a solution for automatic robot welding for Bladt Industries.

Welding robots will in future weld large pipes together on Bladt’s large offshore jackets. It is pipes up to 1.5 meters in diameter. Two robots must weld simultaneously from each side. It is a task that usually takes a welder an entire week. So, the solution will mean a significant streamlining of the work process.
The operator only needs to lay the initial bottom seam. Afterwards the robot figures out the best way to fill the welding seam.

– The operator should in principle just have a green start button and a red stop button, says Chief Commercial Officer Morten Arndal Nielsen, Inrotech.

It will be an advanced solution where the welding is automated at an unprecedented level.
The robot must smoothly change welding parameters all the way around.

– All positions must be welded all the way around with different welding parameters depending on the position and the design of the joint. In some places there is a deep joint, in other places a less deep joint, says Morten Arndal.

A development contract has been entered into between Bladt and Inrotech, where a number of milestones have been set, which must be achieved. The two parties are working closely together, and it is intended that the robot plant will be completed by the summer. The collaboration started in the autumn.

Mobile robots
Inrotech is known for its small, mobile welding robots, which scan the workpiece and then automatically find out where to weld. Usually a joint is fed into a large welding machine to be assembled. But Inrotech’s robot solution will be put on a specially built mobile platform so that it can move to the big jackets itself. It saves more welds and additional workflows.

Since these are large pipes that a robot cannot just get past, Inrotech has chosen to install two robots in the solution. They must weld from each side. The two robots will start in the same place, so-called hot-and-hot, and move in different directions, after which they meet on the other side of the pipe. This will make the joints smoother. There will actually be four robots in the solution, and not just two. For the two welding robots, each mounted on a larger robot.

– It is to ensure the range, says Morten Arndal.

After some tough years, Inrotech is now well on its way. In addition to the offshore order for Bladt Industries, the company has received several large orders for shipyards. The orders for shipyards include an order for BAE Systems in Glasgow, Scotland, which produces English warships, and orders for, among others, Chinese and Spanish shipyards.

– We need to make some portals with two welding robots that can weld ship panels. The largest, the one for Scotland, will be 14.5 meters wide, says Chief Commercial Officer Morten Arndal Nielsen, Inrotech.

The new orders have made Inrotech recruit more people, from the 10 men who have been employed so far.

– We have just hired a new project manager and we have to hire a couple of software people, some salespeople and probably also one or two extra men in the workshop, says Morten Arndal Nielsen.

In December, Danfoss heir Peter Mads Clausen invested DKK 15 million in Inrotech through its investment company Clausen Group.
The money was necessary for Inrotech for the company to be able to carry the large orders that have come. In return, management expects a profit for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. – We must make a profit this year, and it looks sensible now with the orders we have now secured, says Morten Arndal Nielsen.

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