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Dry once please: Robot welds huge fans

Small and medium-sized companies are benefiting more and more from automation. A “hidden champion” from Lower Bavaria in Germany now relies on a robotic cell from KUKA for welding fans for drying systems. The workforce first had to be convinced to use the new technology.

Ulrike Götz
August 4, 2021
Reading Time: 1 min.

25 years ago, STELA Laxhuber GmbH had already been looking for automation solutions for fan assembly. “At that time, we had wanted to reorganize our welding shop with robots of a different design,” reports Thomas Laxhuber, who is the third generation to run the family business with 235 employees. “But the experiment was a resounding failure. The robots couldn’t really help us with demanding welding tasks, created more problems than they solved, and found no acceptance among the employees. The idea was good, but the time was not right. We got rid of the robots again.”

At the medium-sized company STELA, the newest employee is a robot. It provides support in the domestic production of large drying systems. ©KUKA Group

Keep the production in the own company

Sven Pietsch, Head of Purchasing, ventured a new start together with Thomas Laxhuber after 25 years: “We were under pressure,” says Pietsch. “The order books were full and at the same time it was becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable skilled workers for our demanding but also comparatively monotonous welding work in large-scale production.”

Now the robot welds the centrifugal fan in about 50 minutes and prepares it for balancing and painting. By hand, welding takes about a day. Utz: “With the robotic cell, we are now in the fast lane in production. Both in terms of time and quality. Because the weld seams are so perfect in such a short time that they can’t be done by hand. Now we are producing in quantities we could never imagine and have been able to cope with the order situation again.”


Read the full story „Robots increase productivity at STELA“ on the KUKA website.

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