Grease traps for Africa

ACO is a multinational specialist drainage systems business entity focused on the provision of drainage solutions both for interior and exterior purposes. Parts are manufactured from stainless steel to ensure acid corrosion and stain resistance. Every ACO product within the ACO system chain therefore safely controls the water as it passes along the chain to ensure that it can be ecologically and economically reused in a viable way.

With huge monthly volumes of grease traps required locally, ACO continually struggled to meet demand and quality with their manual welding processes. After a lengthy search for the best turnkey robotic supplier performed by ACO, Robotic Innovations was awarded the contract to supply a robotic stainless steel welding solution.

Consisting of Fanuc ARCMATE 100iC 8L 2m reach robot with a fully integrated 500kg two-axis external welding manipulator, the robot cell was custom designed for ACO. With the welding required on round parts, the two-axis manipulator enables a part to be rotated to any required position. The parts also require different welding angles. The welding positioner enables both requirements to be met perfectly.

Another simple addition to the RI range of robotic welding solutions, is the pneumatically operated flash barriers. These barriers flank the robot on both sides and allow the operator loading the jig, to be protected from the welding flash. Whilst the one barrier is up and protecting the loader, the other is down allowing the robot to weld the already loaded parts.

The process required 3 stages in order to produce the grease traps. Each stage required a different jig, which was also designed, manufactured and programmed by RI. In order to easily facilitate a jig change, RI used their customary “jig ID” solution. This works by having a coded plug attached to each jig. Once the jig has been loaded, the plug is connected and the system automatically activates the matching robot program for that jig. This in turn means that an expensive robot programmer is not required to activate the correct program. Any operator can simply load the jig and the correct program is activated automatically.

By automating the welding aspect of production, ACO have managed to increase their production 5 fold. Their quality has drastically improved and the requirement for QC has decreased. This all leads to a very speedy ROI, and peace of mind for management and clients alike.

“I am pleased that we took the time to identify the best company to supply us with this solution. Not only did Robotic Innovations supply us with the right solution, they also delivered it on time and for a very competitive price. We will be happy to recommend them to any company in the market for a world-class robotic welding system” confirmed Mr. Johan Pretorius, Vice Operations Manager for ACO Systems (Pty) Ltd.

Since ACO installed the RI welding robot solution, it easily reaches its monthly targets and is now able to supply some of its other international branches.