Lujabetoni invests in new cage welding machines for manufacturing driven piles

Lujabetoni, a major driven pile manufacturer in Finland, has systematically developed new solutions in recent years. The “Luja-pienpaalu” product developed and patented by Lujabetoni breaks with the myth of heavy concrete piles: driven piles that produce virtually no waste, and their lightweight driving equipment causes no significant vibrations.

mbk Maschinenbau, a German family-owned company, has been on the market for 60 years and is one of the leading manufacturers of cage welding machines for the concrete industry. The mbk product portfolio is renowned for its high quality, reliability, durability and robust design. Machines manufactured by mbk feature very high productivity and flexibility in daily work, as well as simple handling and low manpower requirements in their operations.

mbk always maintains a focus on the entire product life cycle, so that its very well-organised after-sales service and fast, reliable spare parts deliveries ensure that the equipment has very little downtime in the rare event of a malfunction.

Lujabetoni’s first mbk welding machine for pile reinforcement was commissioned at the Haapajärvi production facility in 2001. In 2004, investment was made in a corresponding machine at the Pernaja production facility. According to Kaj-Mikael Weissman, Lujabetoni supervisor in Pernaja, the second machine showed wear after 15 years of operation and no longer lived up to expectations. Juha Kinnunen, director of the concrete product line at Lujabetoni, added that the increasing fragility of the old machine and the cost of spare parts made the case for a complete replacement. Jorma Ilkka, the factory manager in Pernaja, also saw the new machine as an opportunity to substantially increase pile production efficiency through smoother product changeovers and higher output rates. Another important point for Lujabetoni was the automation of the small pile diameters, which allows them to be produced about 50 % faster.

Image 1: VSM-053-V cage welding machine for manufacturing reinforcement cages for driven piles

Image 2: The new machine installed at Lujabetoni in Haapajärvi

Reliability was important

The machine’s adaptability was also important for Lujabetoni so that reinforcement can be produced according to high quality standards for all the types of piles available on the Finnish market. The crucial factor in the decision-making process was to see a similar machine in action in production in Sweden and to hear about the users ‘experiences. According to Kinnunen and Ilkka, mbk was “not the cheapest of the suppliers compared, but reliability, quality and after-sales service spoke in its favour”.

The welding angle is automatically set and secured, enabling short product changeover times that, according to Kaj-Mikael Weissman, require only a fraction of the time in comparison with the old machine. Welding parameters and data are stored directly with the product in the programme.

The service life of wear parts has been extended, for example, by equipping the welding and contact rollers with a metal carbon instead of a sliding contact lubricated with copper grease. With this means of electric power transmission, it is no longer necessary to lubricate the machine with copper grease several times a week, which saves on maintenance time and keeps the machine clean.

The latest generation VSM machines feature less downtime, cleaner operations, or fewer wear parts and are safer and easier to maintain. In addition, problem solving is faster with mbk ‘s support via the LAN network. And since all drive and control units are state-of-the-art, spare parts availability is also guaranteed.

Image 3: Processing the welded cages was adapted to customers’ logistics.

Successful delivery

The delivery process went very well. The agreed deadlines were met and the machine was replaced in three weeks, even faster than expected. Lujabetoni was very satisfied with the induction and the operator training was also particularly praised. According to Weissman and Ilkka, the new machine can produce 25 to 30 % more pile metres per day and the whole working day can be utilised for manufacturing reinforcement without any time loss. The users ‘positive experiences also include the machine ‘s ease of operation, speed, the high quality of the reinforcement produced and low noise level during production.

In the meantime, Lujabetoni has also replaced the second mbk welding machine from 2001 in Haapajärvi with a new mbk welding machine and is looking forward to further cooperation with mbk.

Image 4: Jorma Ilkka and Juha Kinnunen from Lujabetoni observe a test run at mbk

Image 5: The new machine installed at Lujabetoni in Pernaja with the first cages produced