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The Cartwright Group improves productivity with robotic welder

The Cartwright Group, multi-award-winning trailer and commercial vehicle body manufacturer, has driven up productivity and efficiency at its South Manchester production facility by making an extensive investment in a fully programmable robotic welder.

This major leap forward in the existing production process manufactures components to an exacting tolerance of 0.2mm, an outstandingly consistent quality due to its continuous welding capabilities that result in a strong and durable finish.

The significant investment is one of many enhancements to the production line which has enabled the company to increase production to drive efficiencies, quality and completion times during the process.

Cartwright’s Operations and Manufacturing Director, Paul Avery, said: “The robotic welder, together with investments such as our £1.8 million panel press, enables us to keep more of our processes in-house and also increase volume while improving efficiency.

“The quality of components that are welded by the robot is tremendous; the process is repeatable, accurate and produces parts of exceptional structural integrity – which is vital for components such as kingpins, for example.

“It is a completely new way of working and we have had to adapt some of our designs accordingly. We are delighted with the performance of the robot and it is testament to our commitment to continuous improvement that is driving our business forward.”

The robot is operated by two time-served welders both former Cartwright apprentices, each having contributed ideas about how to adapt operations to make the best utilisation of the robotic welder.

Improvements at the production facility included updating and upgrading the electrical power supply, doubling the power capacity of the switching gear from 600kVA (kiloVoltAmps) to 1200kVA, ahead of the robotic welder’s installation.

To ease the movement of materials around the factory and improve workflow, efficiency and safety, Cartwright has invested in upgraded lifting equipment, including a powerful new vacuum lift that can handle large floors and fibreglass panels gently.

The Cartwright Group has doubled their turn over during the last four years and is already planning for further growth. The group now employs 1170 people, 850 of which work at its 39-acre manufacturing base in South Manchester.

The Group is complemented through a trailer rentals division, offering 6,500 trailers to the existing and new customer portfolio; a fleet maintenance services division managing a compliance programme for over 12,000 assets; Cartwright Finance which is an authorised FCA firm providing flexible asset finance solutions; Cartwright Conversions, based in Doncaster manufacturing bespoke vehicle specifications in the ambulance sector and Cartwright GSE which manufactures aircraft ground support equipment and is also exporting its refrigerated products across the globe.

With its reputation for engineering excellence and innovative designs, The Cartwright Group is well positioned to continue the pattern of growth over the next decade that it has achieved over the last four years.

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