“The solar industry is booming. We can tell both from the orders being placed by our customers and the brisk level of activity we experienced at this year’s Intersolar trade fair in Munich. This is positive and reaffirms once again that we are the solar industry’s preferred supplier of steel solutions,” explains Carsten Damsgaard, Sales Manager, Ib Andresen Industri.
The orders will be delivered to projects in Denmark, Ukraine, Albania, Poland, the Netherlands and Portugal, which places big demands on logistics set-ups, because the project consignments must be delivered at the same rate as they are used at the site. And this logistics set-up – which also includes the management of subcontractors on the way to the site – is one of the reasons for Ib Andresen Industri’s massive presence in the solar industry.
Converted roll-forming line
When it comes to the solar industry, Ib Andresen Industri has focused not only on sales but its production processes as well. In this respect, Morten Rasmussen, Production Manager, Ib Andresen Industri, says:
“We’ve modified an existing roll-forming line to handle steel sections up to 13 metres in length for the solar industry, which enables us to manufacture sectional steel for the solar industry on seven roll-forming lines in Langeskov and one in Fredericia simultaneously. This increases our capacity for solar steel, which further improves our ability to live up to the industry’s expectations for short delivery times and high volumes.”
Putting “highbrow” theory into practice
At the same time that it was rebuilding lines, Ib Andresen Industri's roll-forming department was also hard at work stabilising the running in of new steel sections. As a big part of its strategy, Ib Andresen Industri proactively invites orders for complex sectional steel profiles, and this imposes stringent demands on the roll-forming lines’ set-up.
This is why, in autumn, Ib Andresen Industri invited two civil engineering students studying Operations Management at the University of Southern Denmark to come to the company to write their master’s thesis. The thesis focused on variance in the set-ups and examined how to apply an industrial problem-solving approach developed by US developer and engineer Dorian Shainin. The students’ master’s thesis turned out so well that it resulted in a job for one of them, Jakob R. Walther, who is now employed in a traineeship. His first task is to apply his thesis’s theoretical basis in practice.
Jakob explains: “Last autumn, we identified the variances in the set-ups and quickly realised that the measurement uncertainty in the set-ups contributed to the variations which occasionally cause problems. Using the theoretical approach, we and the machines’ operators could document variations using data rather than gut feelings.”
As part of the project, Ib Andresen Industri is right now trying to 3D-laser-measure the set-ups before they are handed over to the production line, as a way of quality-assuring the set-up. Similarly, after the completion of production, they re-measure the set-up using a 3D laser in order to be able to analyse any changes and adjustments occurring during the production process.
“The preliminary results of the 3D laser measurement shows that there is great potential, so now we are trying to figure out how this can be used in other parts of the production process and the preparation of set-ups externally,” concludes Morten Rasmussen, Production Manager.