NPK Construction Equipment Inc. (Walton Hills, OH) manufactures heavy-duty grapples, hydraulic hammers, crushers and cutters that are mounted on cranes and excavators.




By upgrading to an automated system, NPK Construction Equipment Inc. has dramatically reduced cycles time for its major weldments.

NPK Construction Equipment Inc. (Walton Hills, OH) manufactures heavy-duty grapples, hydraulic hammers, crushers and cutters that are mounted on cranes and excavators.

This past summer, the company opened a new manufacturing facility in Wickliffe, OH, to meet strong demand in the construction and demolition industries. Included in the new plant is a robotic gantry welding station, built by SmartTCP (Farmington Hills, MI). The system, which employs a KR 6 Arc six-axis robot and controller from Kuka Robotics Corp. (Clinton Township, MI), a gantry from Güdel Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI) and custom SmartTCP system software, is used to perform large weldments in a high-mix, low-volume assembly environment.

“Our sales and production volumes of construction attachments were steadily increasing over the past few years, and we found it challenging to keep up using our original manual weld process,” says NPK President, Dan Tyrrell. “We needed to increase our weld capacity, and as we conducted our research, it was apparent that there was a lack of adequate fast automatic programming options that would minimize our down time, until we found the SmartTCP Automatic Welding solution. It is the only comprehensive welding system that provided the ease-of-use, speed and quality we were looking for without sacrificing the flexibility that our welding operations require.”

The new system saves on labor costs and shortens welding times significantly, in the process increasing manufacturing capacity and improving NPK’s bottom line. The savings have been especially dramatic in light of the ongoing shortage of qualified welders on the market.

In one example, NPK was able to reduce the welding time for one of its products from 2.5 hours to 30 minutes. Installation of the SmartTCP system took just 3 weeks.

For more on automated welding, call 248-994-1041 or visit www.smarttcp.com.

For more on gantries and other motion systems, call 734-214-0000 or visit www.gudel.com.

For more on robots, call 866-873-5852 or visit www.kukarobotics.com.