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Jake Robinson: EJOWELD Technician

As EJOT UK’s EJOWELD deployment specialist, Jake Robinson works closely with customers to ensure they can realise the full potential of our market-leading thin sheet joining technology.

This innovative friction-weld fastening system has played an important role in enabling manufacturers to build lighter and stronger. And nowhere has this technology been more appealing to designers and engineers than in the automotive industry, where ‘lightweighting’ has been one of the most important design goals for decades in the pursuit of greater fuel efficiency, and now for range optimisation for BEVs (battery electric vehicles). Read more about EVs...

It is no surprise then that the bulk of Jake’s work is with automotive customers, including one of the UK’s largest premium vehicle manufacturers which was an early adopter of EJOWELD. His work, however, only begins once the specification of EJOWELD has been approved by the design team.

Prior to Jake’s assignment, our application engineers often work with customers for several years prior to green-lighting EJOWELD on the production line, given the depth of testing undertaken ahead of any new fastening approach being approved for use. Only after this process is complete can Jake start on the critical deployment stage.

Assisting with line design and testing

The line design phase is the point at which the concept is proved in practice, and when Jake’s involvement grows, working closely with our EJOWELD specialists in Germany and the application engineers who will have been involved in planning, testing and advising the customer to this point. It takes into account the viability of the EJOT product and system in application, cost minimisation and performance benefits, through to the ergonomic footprint of installed machines in relation to workspace and other process equipment running side by side.

EJOWELD is designed to be used in highly automated factory environments, but it is crucial that the technology is integrated correctly to perform reliably. Jake is EJOT’s front-line representative at this stage, collaborating with the customer and engineers providing the robot technology and other assembly machinery, and ensuring the set-up can be optimised for productivity through a partnership approach.

Jake says, “During this stage, we are answering the questions revolving around ‘can we successfully join the required materials?’ The case demonstrated in many months and years of testing in a laboratory must be replicated in a fast-moving manufacturing environment where numerous other factors come into play, which is why this is the most exciting part of my work. It is my job to work as part of a team to bring the vision to life.”

Despite being EJOT UK’s on-site resource at this critical stage, Jake does not work in isolation. He is supported by the technical team at working at our APPLITEC Centre, a state-of-the-art R&D and testing facility at our HQ near Leeds. They assist with strength testing and tensile analysis of joining components in situ in a laboratory environment.

At the same time, rob-cad (robot CAD) studies are also conducted to simulate joint access on a line building model in fine detail. This involves replicating the full system design of the proposed installation unit and virtually assessing if they will encounter any collisions or issues with other tooling being used on the line.

Providing ongoing management and customer training

Once the testing and costing are complete, Jake, with the support of the EJOT UK team, can move to the commissioning and installation process. This is where EJOWELD must work in the factory environment it was designed for, bringing together the virtual and real worlds for the first time.

At the same time EJOT technicians are able to commence training schedules, applying their accumulated knowledge gained from existing installations at major manufacturing plants across Europe. EJOT’s training is extensive and covers all aspects of EJOWELD, going well beyond simply how to use the equipment to encompass problem solving and the maintenance procedures necessary to optimise the technology’s performance.

As an onsite support technician for EJOWELD, Jake has been able to assist with training for real time scenarios, routine procedures and, given his understanding of the highly sophisticated nature of the system, advising on how to avoid problems. This, alongside his own remit to conduct visual inspection routines and record performance analysis, has contributed to the long-term success of EJOWELD in UK manufacturing applications.

In fact, Jake has developed his EJOWELD knowledge and experience to such an extent that the UK team today works more independently of our German colleagues who developed the technology back in 2012.

Jake adds, “In the early days of EJOWELD, in the period following installation we relied on a high level of support from EJOT technicians in Germany who were ahead of us in terms of deployment, which meant they had much more real-world experience to draw upon. However, as a team our autonomy has grown significantly as our knowledge and familiarity with procedures has progressed, which has a real benefit to UK customers in terms of resolving any technical issues.”

The complexity of modern production lines means there is always scope for issues to arise, which is why it is so important for EJOT to make Jake readily available to EJOWELD customers. The technology in itself is extremely dependable, but it does not work in isolation and factors outside EJOT’s control could have an impact on its performance without Jake’s proactive and reactive support on-site.

Jake concludes, “Typically, a good day means no issues, just standard maintenance, and training. A not such a good day, however, could mean dealing with other external variables – the unforeseen!

“For example, on the automotive manufacturing line where EJOWELD is used by a premium British car brand, this can potentially involve other materials issues in the holistic BIW (body in white) assembly, not just EJOT products. These could be dimensional accuracies or even a slight variation in adhesives deployed earlier in the line process.

“Whilst extremely few and far between, any of these can impact on a routine day, and we work extremely hard to provide solutions instantly. And it feels like we are succeeding in our efforts, reflected by the fact that EJOT UK has successfully maintained a TA (Technical Availability) figure for EJOWELD of between 99.5% and 99.9% - almost perfect!”

Contact our Industrial Engineering team

Help, guidance and technical support is available from our Yorkshire based customer support team and our regional application engineers working throughout the UK.

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