Transport Industry

CoWelder enables flexibility in a small-batch production

VM Tarm produces 250 customised tank trucks every year. CoWelder made it possible to automate a small-batch production, lower the cost price and improve the quality.

About VM Tarm A/S


Transport Industry


Customised tank trucks


Tarm, Denmark

"CoWelder made us think differently about our production processes. We constantly try to find more components for the robot, because it improves the quality and we can finish more in less time."

Lars PedersenForeman at VM Tarm A/S

VM Tarm’s make-to-order production needs to be flexible

The Challenge

When producing customised products where batch sizes are small and no components are produced for stock, it can be a struggle to automate parts of the production.


Even though most products are customised, a lot of the repeat components could be standardised. The production of these could be automated with CoWelder.


CoWelder improves efficiency and welding quality of the production of 100+ different components and releases time for the operator to do other tasks.

A tank truck consists of many different welded components. If many of these are standard components, the processing throughout the production is easier and faster – from the drafting room to the final tank truck.

When VM Tarm integrated CoWelder in the production, they had to look at their existing welded items in a new way. They found out that by redesigning some components, it was possible to extend the selection of standard components, so even more of them would fit their new CoWelder.

vm tarm cowelder

CoWelder creates value for VM Tarm in four ways

1. CoWelder clears up 4 arc hours a day

Most components are quite large with a lot of arc time. The robot is welding for about 4 hours each day. Meanwhile, the operator can carry out others tasks. Most often, he prepares the next components by tack welding its sub-items.

“I have two workstations now. One for the CoWelder and one for tack welding. I go back and forth many times every day. We can finish more components splitting the work between me and the robot.”Teddy Bregnholm, Robot Operator

2. Flexibility makes the production cost-effective

Management recognises that their CoWelder has endless opportunities for welding all kinds of components. The flexibility of the solution makes them able to increase the capacity if they need to.

“We have been able to lower the cost price on some of the components that CoWelder makes. It provides the flexibility we need to make it a cost-effective way of automating our production even though our production series are small.”Karsten Lauridsen, Production Manager

3. High repeatability and a low error rate

The CoWelder welds about 100+ different components, some very often and others very rarely. No matter what, they are all completely identical each time and the error rate is low.

“We punch, bend and cut our sub-items ourselves, so we can be sure that they always fit together. That’s why we can let the CoWelder do the welding without hesitating and be sure that components will be completely the same every time.”Lars Pedersen, Foreman

4. Going to work is more fun now

The operator no longer hand-welds the large components. Today, he is free from the routine welds that he had started dreading. Also, he is less exposed to welding smoke and awkward working postures. He honestly reveals that after he started working with the CoWelder, he feels a newfound genuine pleasure of going to work every day.

“I worked as a welder for many years and at some point, my job got dull. It was too much of the same. That is why it was an interesting challenge for me to be included in the CoWelder project. It is safe to say that working with the CoWelder, I rediscovered how fun work can be.”Teddy Bregnholm, Robot Operator

The Operational Perspective

Small batches, large components

All batches are small, but most components are quite large. There are either many weld seams or a few long welds on a component. This releases a lot of time for the operator to carry out other tasks, such as preparing the next components. Some components consists of up to eight different programs on the CoWelder.

“All programs in the CoWelder are named after an article number that matches our components. That makes it easy to find specific programs and place the fixture correctly. This procedure minimises our risk of errors”Teddy Bregnholm, Robot Operator.

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