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Digitization of welding

Russian shipyards, as a rule, rely on time-tested welding equipment with manual settings and a minimum of electronic accessories. On the one hand, this reduces costs, on the other hand, this reduces labor productivity. Mikhail Pavlenko, head of the technical department of Kemppi Russia, and, general director of the company Evgenia Dmitrieva, told us how to increase the efficiency of welding equipment and increase the efficiency of welders’ work with the help of digitalization.

 Mikhail Pavlenko:

– In shipbuilding, much attention is paid to document flow and reporting documentation. Ships must comply with all safety and environmental requirements. Without digital solutions, the time to process and collect documentation can be months. Like all areas of workflow, this is the most easily transformable area in production.

- Does digitalization contribute to the emergence of new technological welding solutions?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– I would say that digitalization plays a different role. It allows you to move from manual labor to automatic. A person gets the opportunity to apply their skills outside of routine activities.

- What technological operations are facilitated by digitalization? Are there solutions, for example, for weld joint tracking systems, special types of welding, optimizing the choice of consumables, etc.?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– All tracking, capturing and data storage operations are solved and optimized as much as possible when working in the WeldEye system. No manual data collection required. At the same time the safety increases, because the number of personnel at the facility can be reduced.

- What is WeldEye?

Evgenia Dmitrieva:

- This is a comprehensive system aimed at improving quality and productivity in general. The analysis of the data provided by WeldEye will help you find bottlenecks in production. In fact, this is a database where the initial data is entered, how to do it (technical maps, drawings, data on personnel qualifications, etc.) and information is collected on how it was done in fact (who, when and how did it). Deviations are analyzed, interpretative documentation for the project is formed, a welding log and database of welders is kept, and much more.

– Can digitalization be considered Kemppi's answer to the increasing price competition from Asian countries?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– In a macroeconomic sense, yes. Locally, no. The competition is in the area of ​​management efficiency and quality control. It is in this that the consumer's attitude to the value of the product is formed, even if it is a ship. By applying digital methods, we reduce the costs of monotonous and expensive manual labor, replace it with "digital", provide higher quality standards due to increased responsiveness.

– What other trends characterize the welding industry in the last decade?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– The use of new materials, great attention to the means of protection for welders. Sustainability and provability of quality, if I may say so.

– What's new in the field of consumables and accessories for welding?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

- Bluetooth. Wireless communication is useful when working with large-sized products and allows you to duplicate the control of devices. New materials used to make consumables. It would seem an ordinary tip for a burner, but new materials can increase its service life several times.

– One of the brightest Kemppi premieres in recent years was probably the invention of X8 MIG Welder. How ready was the market for this high-tech model?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

- We did not seek to meet the market needs. We set the task of creating such a need. If companies do not release something new, then the industry is not always able to recognize the need for it on its own. The device you are talking about is the flagship in the world of welding. Its premiere can be compared with the appearance on the market of the first smartphone or PC.

– Do you offer solutions based on laser-hybrid welding?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

- No, this direction is not yet covered by the company, but this does not mean that it is pointless to expect products in this direction.

– What products and solutions of the company are most in demand at shipyards and ship repair enterprises?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– I think readers will not be surprised if I name such products as FastMIG M, FastMIG X, MasterTIG 4000, etc.

– Shipbuilding is a rather conservative industry, especially in Russia. What is the demand in this field for the company's innovative developments?

Evgenia Dmitrieva:

– Welding in general is a very conservative industry, and shipbuilding is no exception. Innovation goes slower than we would like. All hope is for young, progressive and ambitious leaders and specialists in welding industry, who follow the best international practices and test them in their laboratories, and then implement them into production. Testing also requires resources such as time and desire. And also to make a report and summary. This is a whole research project. Not everyone is ready to invest in it. Why improve when everything seems to work anyway?

– Reliability is one of the main advantages of Kemppi equipment. How does the company feel about the practice of "planned obsolescence" of equipment, popular in recent decades?

Evgenia Dmitrieva:

– I don’t really understand what “planned obsolescence” is. This is when a mobile phone starts to fail after a year, and you have to buy a new one? We do not play such games, although now the welding machine is somewhat like a mobile phone - it consists of microcircuits and miniature control boards. The only thing that limits the lifetime of Kemppi equipment is the absence of obsolete components for repair. Some of them are almost nowhere to be found, some suppliers are no longer on the market, others have ceased to produce a certain range. But Kemppi keeps the necessary components in its arsenal for five years of operation of the equipment, even after the model is discontinued.

– Kemppi spends 8-10% of its turnover on R&D, with almost half of this amount going to testing products in different conditions. How do you study the experience of Russian users?

Evgenia Dmitrieva:

– The most striking example of such cooperation is when we entered our equipment for mechanized welding into the Gazprom PJSC register. We received such valuable feedback from specialists of the VNIIGAZ branch institute that when we passed it on to Kemppi developers, we eventually decided to develop a special pipe welding machine for Russian customers. It has become so universal that it is still used in all countries and industries. This is a Fast Mig X machine with a special program for root welding which is called Wise Root. And my Finnish colleagues still remember that it was developed for the Russian pipe industry, taking into account the requirements of our customers.

Mikhail Pavlenko:

- We just actively cooperate with those customers who are interested in continuous development and are ready to share their experience with us in order to achieve better results in the field of welding.

– At the end of 2019, the Russian market became the third largest for Kemppi in terms of sales. Which industries are the main consumers of the company's products in Russia?

Evgenia Dmitrieva:

– For more than 30 years, Russian shipbuilders have preferred Kemppi equipment, but over the past 10 years, our equipment has been included in the register of approved for use at the facilities of Gazprom PJSC, AK Transneft PJSC, Rosatom Concern, etc. We can say that it is used in those industries where there are increased requirements for product quality, where the cost of mistakes and defects in welding is very high and can even lead to a disaster - oil and gas, nuclear, bridge building, shipbuilding, etc. There are also seemingly non-obvious usage examples of Kemppi welding equipment. For instance, for the construction of a Ferris wheel, one of the highest in Russia, it is now located in an amusement park in Sochi. The equipment can also be used in the DIY (Do it yourself) segment - by fans of a quality tools, by those men who like to make something with their own hands.

– Kemppi has repeatedly been awarded the prestigious European Red Dot award for achievements in the field of industrial design. How important is this to the company?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

- Design is more than just looks. This is a symbol of a comprehensive approach and responsibility for products. – Nowadays there are more than a hundred ways of welding and more and more new ones are appearing. How to choose the best option?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

- A trick question. We are focused on the needs of each client, so the methods for everyone will be different. We value an individual approach and try not to make universal recommendations.

– What welding technologies are developing most actively today?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– First of all, welding with controlled droplet transfer, robotic welding, as well as new types of digital control and influence on the arc.

What are the most common mistakes in welding process?

Mikhail Pavlenko:

– Lack of experience and education, desire to save money at the expense of quality.

- The profession of a welder is considered to be the most dangerous for health and, above all, for the respiratory system. How is the protective equipment developing, and do Russian welders have an alternative to the “Petal” respirator? Are mobile ventilation systems in demand in Russia?

Evgenia Dmitrieva:

- "Petal" is the minimum means of respiratory protection. To really protect the welder in high intense contamination (when welding non-ferrous metals, welding in closed circuits, and simply intensive welding of ordinary carbon steel), it is necessary to use more advanced personal protective equipment - masks with a forced air supply system. In workshop conditions, it is also worth to create a ventilation system so that already purified air comes out and the environment does not suffer.

Mobile ventilation systems are not yet as common in Russia as they are abroad. There, the use of specific personal protective equipment and ventilation systems is regulated by standards, they are now being tightened, so the demand for such products abroad is now growing. I think that this trend will come to Russia in the very near future.

 Oleg Gnenny, korabel.ru

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