Capacity doubling thanks to turntable concept

Racletta produces wipers with custom-made spot welding machine from Astratec.

Ever grabbed a window puller? And have you ever been asked how and where such a thing is produced? The West Flemish company Racletta makes about 20,000 pieces a day and delivers them all over the world. To this end, the company has a tailor-made machine that fellow countryman Astratec built for them. It contains a turntable with eight stations and is supplied by the employees of the tailor OptimaT in Lichtervelde. “Our previous machines were somewhat outdated, but this gives us a clear view of the future,” says business manager Luc Saelen.

Manual feed, automatic finishing

In order for the machine to run constantly, the parts are supplied to the warehouses by three people at the same time, with maximum attention to ergonomics. In order to allow the employees to be able to cope with the speed of the machine, vibrating supply tubs are still being considered here, in order to build in some buffer time. The assembly steps then proceed fully automatically. “The end product of this machine is a composite tractor, which – after the external galvanization – is still fitted with rubbers, washers and labels on other machines at OptimaT,” the manager shows.

Multi-level profit

With this concept, the intended time savings and production speed are achieved, because you can perform preparations and operations simultaneously and because the transport time is also shorter. In just 0.7 seconds, the table turns between two positions, so you get those short cycle times. But there are also gains in other areas. “The spot welding is done with a hybrid technology, which combines the inverter technology with the energy storage in a capacitor battery. This leads to energy savings of up to 80%. Moreover, this makes the welds more controllable, which means that the quality is more consistent, ”says Saelen. “The round concept also makes the machine reliable. It requires less maintenance compared to the earlier, linear concepts, which are more subject to wear. ”

Read the full article from the April edition of Metallerie Magazine.