Precision technology, precision techniques
As you’d expect of any modern-day Japanese manufacturer, Kobelco Construction Machinery’s factories are packed full of state-of-the-art machinery, automation and hi-tech tooling. However, as the leading excavator manufacturer knows, there are some stages of the fabrication process, such as preparatory welding, that need to be completed by hand before the robotics can take over.
Since our establishment in 1930, we’ve prided ourselves on manufacturing the highest quality excavators we can.
When you consider that most of our machines operate in challenging environments including mines, quarries and on construction sites, it’s no wonder that excellent durability and longevity are high on our agenda.
With this in mind, the booms of all our heavy machinery such as our demolition machines are reinforced for increased durability and reduced structural fatigue. All the joints are expertly welded in order to withstand some of the toughest conditions when operating in the field. Some of this welding, including on the boom and arm, is even completed by hand to ensure attention to detail and that the machines are as strong as possible. In addition, some of the welding work will need to be ground down by hand, to ensure a smooth surface ready for painting.
All Kobelco’s factories are home to a number of precision engineers and skilled craftsmen and women like Takuya Kamioka, who complete this precision welding. Takuya has worked at Kobelco’s Itsukaichi factory in Hiroshima for 11 years and is integral to the hand-building of our 40-ton special machines.
“In this section of the factory, we do not just use robots for the welding – we do some of the welding by hand too,” he explains. “These large excavators have many places to weld and it can take around six hours to finish one machine.”
There are no doubt many advantages of robotic welding including increased productivity and consistency and you will find robotic welding machines in some areas of our factories where there are clear benefits. However, where preparatory or more detailed welding is required, hand welding is the most precise.
“In our section, we are passionate about quality and instill this in everyone on our production line,” continues Takuya. “While all our work is checked by the quality control team, we make sure all the welding we complete is of the highest standard. We take full responsibility for everything that comes off our line.”
HAND-BUILT IN JAPAN Over the coming months, we’ll be exploring key areas of our manufacturing process at our Itsukaichi factory from the Global Engineering Center and fabrication and welding sections, to upper/lower assembly and quality control, as well as meeting some of Kobelco’s key engineers.
Hand-Built in Japan page >>>
Episode 1 – Itsukaichi factory >>>
Episode 2 – Excavator innovators since 1930 >>>
Episode 3 – NEXT generation demolition technology >>>
Episode 4 – Welding and fabrication >>>
Episode 5 – Quality is key to assembly>>>