With a growing dealer network and a continued increase in demand, MTS has continued to evolve our manufacturing practices – especially over the last few years. Most recently, we’ve been in the process of assembling our new Cloos robotic welder within our main production building in Elkader.
Heading up this project is 13-year MTS veteran, Danny Wille. Danny’s role within our company has evolved from beginning as a welder on our shop floor, moving to a supervisor role in our fabrication department, and now as a manufacturing engineer for the company. His experience and expertise with manufacturing, especially within our walls, has allowed our team to make the best decisions for the future of the company when it comes to advances in technology on our production floor. When I chatted with Danny on this project he said, “the footprint of this machine is 1,860 ft2, and it has the capacity to produce weldments weighing up to 22,000 pounds.”
Another key player in the addition of the Cloos Robotic Welder was Jamie Scherf. “We had three main goals when starting the process of bringing a robotic welder to the facility. The first being the ability to bridge the gap when employee shortages occur. Second, to improve efficiency and overall consistency of product quality. And most importantly, it will improve our overall safety in the welding department by completing the tasks that involve awkward or uncomfortable welding positions”, said Jamie when asked what the main goals were behind this new technology on the floor.
This machine has the capability to burn 55 pounds of weld wire per hour, which is comparable to what an experienced human welder can burn within an entire working day. It also eliminates downtime, as it is equipped with two stations and can offload completed components while continuing to weld on the alternative side. We are projected to have the robotic welder fully functional by July, and the team will be spending the coming weeks between assembly and testing.
In addition to the Cloos robot, MTS has also invested in several other machines to improve our overall production in Elkader. In 2022, we added the new Kinetic K5000 to improve our beveling and machining quality within the steel cut department. Our engineering team has upgraded design and testing software to increase their ability to draft products and components prior to production. The new paint kitchen was also installed within the last year and has allowed us to reduce waste and increase our uptime by eliminating mixing paint manually. One of our most beneficial additions was the Doosan Lathe which was added a few years ago that was especially valuable as we battled supply chain challenges as a result of the COVID pandemic.
All in all, Mobile Track Solutions is continuing to grow and develop both internally and externally. We have reached 23 signed-on Caterpillar dealers across the United States and Australia who sell and service our equipment. We’re doing big things, right here in Elkader, Iowa!