Robots are in the service of «Lemax»
«Taganrogskaya Pravda», 2011
Most of us (thanks to either fantasy writers or English frame-breakers, Luddites, protested against technical progress in the early 19th century) are suspicious of robots. And how wrong we are! Professionals know – nothing can take some burden from the worker but smart modern machinery. This idea was followed by «Lemax» group holding a course for robotization of boiler production.
However, in 2003, the company started manufacturing its first domestic boilers being rather unpretentious. There were some funds only to buy so-called second-hand (previously used) equipment.
Roman Konovalov, Quality Management Representative of LTD «Lemax», says, «Only new welding set were bought.»
Time passed by. Boilers updated. Their production rage changed. Taking part in prestigious regional and federal contests (e.g.,«Don Bestsellers» and «100 Best Goods of Russia») they kept bringing new awards to their producers. The selling rate was growing: «Lemax» became the biggest producer of domestic gas boilers in our country in 2007, and in the CIS in 2008, 2009 and 2010. And all these achievements are considered to be impossible without renovation of productive capacities.
Roman Vladimirovich continues, «We purchased Italian equipment in 2005, namely, plasma-arc burning center and sheet bending press. And in 2007 we started thinking about further engineering modification that transformed into constructing a new advanced manufacturing with metal cutting, polymeric coloring automated lines and other high-technology machining equipment. To execute such a large-scale and innovative project we involved German engineers and experts.
Meticulous Germans calculated carefully capacities required for «Lemax» in respect of perspective sales plan and developed production methods with recommendation for equipment stock. And «Lemax» engineers being regular visitors of specialized exhibitions in Russia and overseas, set to their work more carefully. The work on constant production improvement never stops being systematic.
Last October, Deputy Director of Development, Vadim Viktorovich Navrat, and I attended International exhibition of welding technology «Weldex – 2010». «Quality Management Representative remembers, «We conducted negotiations with the
representatives of world leading robot production companies: Motoman, Kuka, Panasonic, ABB.
Roman Konovalov explains, «As a result, robot-controlled welding complex has been working in testing mode since last November, and maintenance engineers whoreceived training in Motoman training unit, devolve theoretic and practical knowledge to future operators of robotic centers. These centers will be brought into manufacturing next year».
«Today the testing is successfully completed and the robotic center, that is able to take place of eight welders during eight-hour work shift, operates in its normal mode. But it doesn’t mean that we’re planning retrenchment. Our purpose is rising the quality level of the employees. The employees who come free, will be taken
to other workposts and will be offered in-plant training for other specializations (within boilers production).
Roman Vladimirovich confirms, «We had two objects in view. The first object is increase in productivity and to release people from monotonous work, the second one is improvement of product quality.
The welders know that both purposes were achieved.
Andrey Akimenko says, «I have been working with semiautomatic welder for five years. And in December when I mastered automated welding, I saw that it was impossible to get the welding seam of high quality using the former equipment.»
His colleague Vitaliy Kushenkov is only expecting to master the robotic center.
He confesses, «Though I have been on «Lemax» factory floor for five years, today is the first day for me being at the new place.»
But the company has extensive plans for the worker with programming skill who had been working as a foreman of assembling gas burner units. Since they has recently obtained the results of the tender held within robotic producers. The tender was won by well-known Motoman. In early February the delivery contract was signed with them to supply three more welding complexes. «They will be delivered to Taganrog this summer», Roman Konovalov summed up with evident pride for bright (in the proper and in a figural sense of the word) taganrog «Lemax» production that could be characterized with one phrase «the leader’s innovative technologies»!