Nearly a 60-meter-long FMS at the heart
The Fastems MLS-HD system and the first machining center integrated into it, a Deckel Maho DMC 160 FC, were ready for production when the Högfors plant was opened in Salo, Finland. Soon, another Deckel Maho machining center, a DMC 80 FC, was integrated into the system. The latest addition to the machine tool lineup is a Gildemeister Gamma 1250 TC universal lathe that is integrated with a Fastems RPC robot cell. They were taken into use this summer. A Fanuc R-2000iB/165F robot operates in the robot cell.
The Högfors plant in Salo engineers and manufactures a wide range of valves for energy and environment industries as well as for other process industries around the world. Almost 80 percent of the company’s turnover is from export, and Högfors products are exported to more than 50 countries.
Solution for flexible manufacturing
The new plant has been built around the Fastems FMS system that is used in the manufacturing of butterfly valves. The machines needed for ball valve production have been relocated from the old plant in the same industrial area to the new plant, and the new plant is now fully ready for production of both valve types.
“Because we took the production plan into account and relocated the machines one at a time, we managed to do the job without any significant interruptions to production,” says Tuukka Tuominen, who is in charge of machinery and production planning at Högfors Salo. “Fastems relocated eight machines in total and performed basic maintenance on all of them in conjunction with the relocation,” he adds.
The primary purpose of the new, highly automated plant is to provide greater production flexibility. In the old plant, it was necessary to manufacture large batches in order to achieve the target overall setup times. Now, it is profitable to manufacture small batches and even single parts, because the FMS reduces setup times almost to zero. Furthermore, the product is completed in one go.
“Automation enables unmanned production, which is the most profitable production time. At the moment, our personnel are working in two shifts,” says Tuominen.
The new system is used in the production of butterfly valves ranging from 80 mm to 800 mm in diameter. The biggest Högfors butterfly valves have a diameter of 1,400 mm, and they are manufactured with special machine tools.
Extensive service agreement
Since the beginning of June, Fastems has been responsible for the maintenance of the production machinery at the Högfors plant according to an extensive Full Service agreement that was signed in spring. Because of the contract, Fastems located their Finland Proper area service center in Salo. According to Tuominen, cooperation with Fastems has been smooth and fair. Usually, when you ask Fastems about something you get an answer and the matter is not left hanging.
Högfors Oy is a member of the Högfors energy group administered by Taito Capital Partners Oy. The group’s turnover is about 120 million Euros and it employs more than 700 people, of which 80 work in Salo.