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Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Ltd. is an innovative mechanical contractor passionate about investing in the latest technologies, tools, and processes to ensure the success of each and every project. Their specialties include complex design assist residential high-rise towers, design build institutional and light industrial projects.

Challenges that forced them to Investigate New Solutions

“One of the main issues we were dealing with was the shortage of skilled welders. We knew that we needed to find a way to increase our productivity in order to keep up with demand, and this was a major factor in our decision-making process.

Quality was also a key concern for us. We were looking to expand into more complex systems and needed to have that reliability on Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). This was especially important as we were getting into district energy plants, light industrial applications, and wastewater treatment plants, and needed to meet the requirements of ASME 31.1 and ASME 31.3 codes.

In addition to these concerns, we were looking to take advantage of new technologies in order to improve our operations. We were making the transition into industrialized construction and wanted to explore the potential benefits of robotics, AI, and the next advancements in tooling in our shop. Novarc seemed like the perfect partner in this endeavor, and we were impressed by the work they were doing in this space.

Overall, our decision to work with Novarc was driven by a number of factors, including productivity, quality, and technology. We knew that they could help us overcome the challenges we were facing, and we were excited to take the next step in our journey towards growth and success”, says Sam Revel, Senior Pre-Fabrication Manager at Pitt Meadows Plumbing.

Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot (SWR)

The Spool Welding Robot (SWR) is a welding cobot designed specifically for pipe, small pressure vessels, and other types of roll welding. Companies that have invested in the SWR have increased their pipe welding productivity to 200-350 diameter inches per shift on carbon steel pipes, and 569-998 diameter inches per shift on stainless steel, and have dropped their repair rate to less than 1%. This is making our customers more competitive when bidding on jobs, and it has increased margins on contracts they’ve already won.

“Everything that we make is quite custom; We’re not making widgets that you can set up an arm and make thousands of them a day. The Novarc machine was easily the most advanced solution that we saw in the market for the application we were looking for”, says Revel.

The Bottom Line

Since implementing the Spool Welding Robot, Pitt Meadows Plumbing has been able to:

  • Overcome the shortage of skilled welders

  • Increase their shop productivity by over 60%

  • Improve their weld quality and meet the requirement of ASME B31.1 & B31.3

  • Increase the ability to win more projects

The SWR is probably one of our best sales tools. People are absolutely blown away by that machine when they come and see it. The biggest benefit from owning that machine is that it has definitely allowed us to secure the projects that we may not have gotten without having that level of technology, and it has been one of the main drivers for purchasing a second SWR unit”, says Revel.

Combatting the Shortage of Qualified Welders

“The SWR has definitely helped us combat the shortage our industry is experiencing. It’s a super simple machine to use once you understand the menus and how to make those slight adjustments during the procedure; I think it’s very user-friendly and easy to use”, says Revel. “We currently have a B-level welder operating the SWR, whereas we would typically expect the person doing that work to have his/her Red Seal and A ticket.”

Productivity Improvements

Pitt Meadows Plumbing has been able to increase their shop productivity by over 60% with Novarc’s SWR. “We track weld inches every day and the SWR operator is consistently getting the highest inches in the shop. We are now taking that next step and making sure we’re driving as much production through the SWR as we can”, says Revel.

Quality Improvements

The SWR minimizes human error and therefore reduces the failure rates from the North America Industry average of 3-5% to less than 1%, resulting in massive cost savings for fabrication shops.

“Quality is kind of a no-brainer with that machine. The welds that come off of it look amazing and we never have any concerns with quality anymore. As long as the procedures and processes are set up currently and the operator knows what they are doing, you definitely get a decent result every single time”, says Revel.

World-Class Support

At Novarc, we understand that every business has specific requirements when it comes to technical support. That is why we are dedicated to delivering exceptional service to our clients, ensuring that their investments are protected and that they are able to fully utilize their SWR. Our priority is to go above and beyond to meet the unique needs of each organization we work with.

“The support from Novarc has been fantastic. The machine set-up was smooth, and we’ve always been able to get the parts quickly if we needed them”, says Revel.

About Novarc Technologies

Novarc Technologiesis a Canadian-based robotics company specializing in the design and commercialization of collaborative robots for industrial applications. Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot (SWR) is the world’s first of its kind in pipe welding application. Novarc’s SWR has built a reputation for its unique form factor and advanced features for pipe welding not unlike a human’s precision and dexterity, with an operator-friendly user interface, adaptive control systems for accurate torch control, and machine learning algorithms to detect features.

As a proven pioneer in the field, Novarc has a dedicated team of engineers and scientists eager to solve challenging industrial automation problems that improve customers’ bottom line. The welding industry is looking to adopt these technologies in order to solve the shortage of qualified welders, accommodate the millennials workforce, and solve the cleantech challenges of this century.