PRODUCTION STARTED AT VAHTERUS OY WITH THE FIBER LASER CUTTING SYSTEM

  26.8.2013

Production started during the summer with the fiber laser cutting system engineered by Ionix Oy at Vahterus Oy in Kalanti, Finland. The system cuts holes and outlines to heat exchanger plates of different sizes processed straight from a coiled strip.

The system has been tailored for Vahterus’ specifications due to the special requirements set for the production. One laser and one cutting head are used to cut products from five different product lines and, as a consequence, an exceptionally large, over 16 meter long, working area is needed. It is possible to add another laser source and cutting head to the system afterwards if the production capacity of the system cannot meet the increasing production numbers.

There are other special features in the system as well, such as machine vision for positioning the cutting head and automatic strip feeding and palletizing of the cut parts. Automation level is increased even further with online cutting process monitoring feature and automatic cutting nozzle cleaning and calibration procedure. The laser source in the system is a 1 kW fiber laser manufactured by IPG Laser GmbH. The maintenance-free operation and low operation costs (high wall plug efficiency, no resonator gases, no wearing parts) of the fiber laser makes it especially good choice for Vahterus’ needs.

The system has been accomplished as a co-operation project with Vahterus. Ionix has been responsible for mechanical engineering, laser technology and project management, and Pyynikki Engineering Oy has been responsible for electrical and automation engineering and safety engineering. The project has been carried out in deep co-operation with Vahterus and their know-how on the special features relating to heat exchangers has been playing important role in success of the project. Implementing of the Ionix Project Model and proceeding in project phases from pre-engineering to design and onwards to sourcing and building phase has enabled a cost-efficient and flexible progress and adding of extra features to the system during the project. Especially the careful execution of pre-engineering phase made possible to specify the content and the risks of the project before proceeding to the design phase.

Mr. Paavo Pitkänen, Technical Director of Vahterus Oy, is satisfied with the project: “The project has proceeded even smoother than we anticipated and the result seems surprisingly good. The few small adversities during the project were solved in concert and I think we can face the future in confidence.”

Vahterus (www.vahterus.com) is the forerunner of plate & shell heat exchanger technology and a company known for its innovativeness. Technology developed by Vahterus is utilized worldwide in various demanding processes in the oil and gas, chemical and process, energy and refrigeration industries. With headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Kalanti, Finland, Vahterus has subsidiaries in the U.K., Germany, China and the U.S., and employs over 200 people. The share of export is over 90 % of the company’s total sales, and since its establishment in 1990, the company has experienced strong growth.

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