ESAB’s Value Added Engineering (VAE) service is a highly effective way for manufacturing companies to improve the productivity of their fabrication processes and, therefore, their profitability, but without having to sacrifice quality. Customers are seeing the benefits of VAE and typically making savings in the order of tens of thousands of dollars/euros per year and ESAB’s VAE team can help customers anywhere in the world to reap the rewards of this proven approach.
In a VAE project, ESAB’s experts will analyse the cutting and welding processes, then recommend improvements and predict the cost savings that will be achieved. Depending on the application, the recommendations might include, for example, changes to filler metals, revisions to welding parameters, operator training, reprogramming of welding robots, modifications to joint designs or plate preparation, or switching to a different form of supply for consumables. If investment in new equipment is required, the aim is to achieve payback in a short and acceptable time frame.
As part of the analysis, detailed measurements are made of relevant parameters so the VAE team can make recommendations based on hard data rather than conjecture. However, ESAB has also made available an easy-to-use online Weld Cost Calculator (QWPA) Quick Weld Productivity Analyser that anyone can use to calculate the cost of their existing welding processes. Manufacturing companies are seldom fully aware of the true cost of their welding processes but, by using the QWPA they can see the cost and start to appreciate the scope for making cost savings and raising profitability, simply by refining their welding processes.
The VAE team takes a holistic approach to the analysis, studying all aspects of the cutting and welding processes including material flows. On the other hand, if a customer is only concerned about one aspect of the process or one welding station, the VAE team will focus their attention where the customer has requested it.
Unlike some manufacturing consultants who produce a report and walk away, ESAB’s VAE experts work with the customer to ensure the recommendations can be implemented as smoothly as possible.
Even customers who have in-house welding engineers find that the ESAB VAE team is able to bring ‘fresh pairs of eyes’ to the cutting and welding processes, resulting in new solutions being found to old productivity problems. Furthermore, ESAB’s own facilities can be used to trial and prove new welding procedures or different consumables, so customers can be confident that any recommended process changes will be successful.
Most importantly, ESAB’s VAE teams help customers raise productivity without having to compromise quality. After any process improvements have been implemented, weld integrity will be as good if not better, and there will not be any additional costs relating to, for example, extra post-weld cleanup time.
Most customers want to make use of VAE to increase profitability, but others have different goals; in some cases fabricators need to increase throughout but do not have space to expand or cannot recruit the skilled welders they want. Whatever the customer’s requirement, ESAB’s VAE team will find ways to achieve the goal as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.