Challenges that Forced Them to Investigate New Solutions
The number one challenge for JWT was scaling manpower for projects. “Balancing a stable workforce with changing customer and industry demands can be difficult. Our organization’s culture is very important to our management team so as we have grown our company’s market presence, we have worked to limit high employee turnover.”, says Jeff Warr, Director at JWT.
“Piping projects can require hard starts and stops with little time to ramp labor force up and down. Hiring and firing welders for jobs was not our idea of success. We pursued growing our business with a long-term mindset. By adding the SWR to our equipment list, we added capacity strategically and avoided many of the negative implications that come from a short-term, job-to-job, labor force.”
Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot
Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot (SWR) is a cobot (collaborative robot), designed specifically for pipes, pressure vessels, and other types of roll welding. Being a cobot, the SWR combats the shortage of highly qualified welders by working with a less experienced operator to significantly improve shop productivity, and produce high-quality welds every single time.
“What made the SWR stand out was its ability to integrate multiple positioners; I very easily saw how we would have constraints if we didn’t have multiple positioners. Other welding solutions that were out there could weld just as fast, but they required us to chuck and un-chuck while the robot is sitting idle. What we liked about the SWR was the limited downtime between spools. That has proved a huge benefit to our daily throughput”, says Warr.
The Bottom Line
Since implementing the SWR, JWT has been able to:
• Increase their pipe welding productivity by 3.1X
• Increase their shop capacity and accept short lead-time projects
• Lower the number of welders dedicated to piping by over 70%.
With the SWR, JWT has been able to increase their pipe welding productivity by 3.1X. “The SWR has increased our ability to accept jobs with shorter lead-times, win more projects, and pursue larger bids. All because we have relieved our capacity constraint.”, says Warr.
Combatting the Shortage of Qualified Welders
Fabrication shops across North America are experiencing a shortage of skilled welders, and according to the AWS (American Welding Society), this labor crisis will quickly escalate to a shortage of about 314,000 welders by 2024.
“Similar to others in the industry, we find it difficult to hire and keep good welders. The SWR has helped limit the impact of this challenge. We used to have a department dedicated to pipe welding, but now we have our SWR operators and fitters supporting them. This has freed up welders to work on other projects in our backlog, shrinking our market lead-time.”, says Warr.
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. “Without the support of Novarc, and the training they provided to our operators, we would not be seeing the success we are today.”, says Warr.
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.