Meiningen’s laser-welding module makes huge energy savings
Purmo Group’s distinctive Delta radiators are popular in schools and public buildings, and are increasingly seen in private homes due to their stylish design and the efficiency that comes from their unique D-shaped columns.
It was at the Delta radiator production line in Meiningen, Germany, that some creative thinking by the local production leadership team led to remarkable improvements in sustainability and energy savings. The laser welding module used to join the radiator shells, was getting old and was inefficient compared with state-of-the-art technologies. Rather than simply replacing it, the team realised that it presented an opportunity for a completely new approach.
Laser welding is much more efficient, and has led to a massive reduction in energy consumption. This can clearly be seen in the plant‘s energy footprint. Up to 700 kWh are saved on a three-shift working day, which in a five-day working week, equates to the average household energy consumption of a family home for a whole year.
Replacing helium mixture with argon gas
The old laser welder often caused production losses due to misaligned seams and porosities in the weld. It also used a lot of energy and consumed an expensive helium-mixture welding gas. It was decided to invest in a custom-made diode laser welder, which completely changed the method of creating welding energy and replaced 75% of the total helium consumption with cheaper argon gas. It was a huge undertaking.
Changing the laser beam meant redesigning the outer welding module, and creating a new laser cabinet. A bespoke design was needed to meet the very exact needs of the job, and the work took over a year.
Christian Richter, Plant Manager said: "We are delighted with the new laser welder. As well as the environmental impact of reduced energy consumption, it has improved product quality. The welded surfaces are smoother, there is less leakage and less reworking is needed. We are so pleased that plans are already in place to replace another two laser welders."