Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors (MMC), Inc. is a commercial mechanical services contractor that is dedicated to designing, building, and installing mechanical solutions. Since 1963, they have been providing complete mechanical systems including HVAC, chiller and boiler systems, plumbing, sheet metal fabrication, and ongoing service and maintenance. MMC has an impressive portfolio of completed projects including the Mall of America, Target Center, Target Field, and the Xcel Energy Center.

Why MMC Invested in the Spool Welding Robot

When evaluating pipe welding automation systems for their fabrication shop, MMC was looking for a solution that would help them achieve consistent, high-quality welds. “The projects that we work on vary a lot. Specific jobs typically require a percentage for x-ray and ultrasound testing. Sometimes we run into jobs where it is 100% x-ray and sometimes 10%. What was important to us was to improve the quality and consistency of our welds”, says Corey Hagerty, Pipefitting Shop Foreman at MMC.

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.

The Bottom Line

Since implementing the Spool Welding Robot, MMC has been able to:

– Achieve 250 Factored Diameter Inches (FDI) per shift
– Increase their pipe welding capacity
– Achieve 0% repair rates
– Reduce dependency on highly skilled welders

Productivity Improvements

“Before implementing the SWR, we typically had three to four guys welding (depending on the project) and we averaged from 60-80 Factored Diameter Inches (FDI) a day. Currently, we’re doing 200-250 FDI a day on the SWR; we even achieved 290” in one day”, says Hagerty. “The SWR has helped with our capacity on the larger projects, and that’s definitely where we have shined.”

Quality Improvements

In North America repair rates at pipe fabrication shops are typically around 3-5%. The SWR brings this down to less than 1% by producing consistent, high-quality welds every single time. As an example, if you’re currently producing 6,000 welds per year with a 5% repair rate, you’re likely spending around $300,000/year on repairs. By reducing the repair rate to less than 1%, you can put the repair costs back onto your bottom line.

“The cost of repairs is typically between $800.-$1,000 per test, and with NOVARC we’ve achieved a 0% failure rate,” says Hagerty.

Reducing Dependency on Highly Skilled Welders

The SWR has reduced MMC’s dependence on highly skilled welders, of whom there is a global shortage. “We actually have an individual that was a pretty skilled welder in the field of stick welding, and he didn’t have a significant amount of experience in wire, but he just obtained certification with wire and we’ve been able to put him on the SWR. It’s been pretty seamless to be able to put a junior-level welder on the SWR, and achieve high-quality welds”, says Hagerty.

World-Class Support

We know that every organization has its unique set of technical support needs. At Novarc, we are committed to providing our customers with the best service possible to protect their valuable investment and to make sure they get the most out of their SWR.

 

“Novarc’s support team has been very helpful, and they ensured that we were up and running all the time. I really like the platform that the team has in the background; basically, if there is an important issue, they see it and they take care of it right away. They have a gauge on who takes care of it, how, and why”, says Hagerty.

 

“The Novarc Academy was also a great help. I had walked through the training sessions myself, and I think that it took out a lot of the unknown and the pessimistic views that a lot of welders can have towards it. The fact that you can override it, interact with it, and make adjustments on the fly is a huge benefit. I fully believe that’s the benefit to Novarc over the other semi-automatic processes.”

About Novarc Technologies

Novarc Technologies is 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.