One of the world’s largest manufacturers of forest
machines relies on Delfoi Robotics

The innovative development work of Ponsse, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines, has been accelerating the company’s business growth for a long time. Long-term investments and the focus on the continuous development of production processes have resulted in modern forest machines and the increasing number of satisfied customers. The development standards and targets of Ponsse’s production and production processes have always been set high. Ponsse requires customer-orientation, long-term commitment, and reliability in their development work also from its partners. Delfoi has fulfilled these requirements for 15 years.

Robotic welding takes productivity to a new level

 

In demanding production environments, the development of welding automation is a key factor in improving productivity. The development of welding processes has always been at the core of production development at Ponsse. Robotic welding started to systematically grow about 15 years ago, and Ponsse needed to find a good partner who had the experience, expertise and understanding of utilizing offline programming.

We try to robotize everything we can and it is concretized above all in welding.

“We try to robotize everything we can and it is concretized above all in welding. The aim is to robotize all basic welding and today 80% of the equipment are welded by robots. Our partner for offline programming of these robots has been Delfoi since the beginning. The cornerstone of our common growth story has been the continuous development of Delfoi software to meet our needs. Their process expertise has developed considerably, and we have always been able to rely on their agile way of working”, says Heikki Selkälä, Production Development Manager at Ponsse.

The main benefits of offline programming: continuous production and utilization of automation

 

Ponsse’s production processes are highly demanding as robots are welding the frames of forest machines. This requires a lot from robot programming as the programs include several curved welds as well as welds inside the frame structures. In addition to offline programming, the software is used to analyze the weldability of products in conjunction with product development to maximize the amount of robotic welding compared to manual welding.

When there are hidden spots in the welded parts that the operator cannot see when teaching the robot, these need to be welded manually in many cases. This is not a problem with offline programming because the operator can see the product in the CAD model. Hidden areas and the internal parts can be welded with a robot and the degree of automation increases significantly. This speeds up the entire production lead time when the need for manual welding drops dramatically.

“The customizability and the features of Delfoi software have been excellent for our needs. The visual platform is practical, and the code can do things that would otherwise require manual operation. When the need is to weld with multi-axis portals, an ordinary software company could not serve us. Especially in these matters, Delfoi’s flexibility and agility bring us benefits that we value. We have all our production in Finland and naturally cooperation and communication is easier Delfoi being a Finnish company”, says Heikki Selkälä, Production Development Manager at Ponsse.

 

“The benefits of offline programming are realized everyday”, says Asko Haataja, head of Ponsse’s robotics team and continues: “As a key benefit, I see that offline programming makes things much faster and easier when robot programming can be done outside of the production system without stopping production. Before, we had to make the necessary adjustments during the weekend before the production continued on Monday.”

Customer-oriented product development increases customer satisfaction

 

When Ponsse starts implementing new robot stations, Delfoi’s experts will be involved in the design and development work from the very beginning. Ponsse uses several robots from different manufacturers and Delfoi software is compatible with all of them.

“When the design of the new robotic welding station starts, we will model a digital replica of the station with software and test the welding possibilities of the parts. Once the investment decision has been made, I will contact Delfoi and we will continue to complete the planning”, says Asko Haataja.

 

 

The advanced simulation capabilities of Delfoi software enable accurate validation of robot programs before they are introduced into production. The calibration functions ensure that the programs function accurately, and the production can start quickly.

“A good example of Delfoi’s agile operations and rapid response is how they developed remote calibration for offline programming during these exceptional circumstances in recent times. In particular, they don’t have to be physically present here at the factory to advise us when the calibration of the robots can be done virtually from anywhere”, says Asko Haataja, the leader of Ponsse’s robotics team.

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