Robotic Aluminum Sidewall Welding


Case Study - Bombardier Transportation

Philippe Bélec, Area Sales Manager – Welding Division – Quebec for Fronius Canada

Bombardier Transportation - Saint-Laurent, Quebec



With 64 production and engineering sites in 26 countries, and 19 service centers across the world, Bombardier Transportation is the global leader in the rail industry. They cover the full spectrum of rail solutions, ranging from complete trains to sub-systems, maintenance services, system integration and signalling. Their installed base of rolling stock exceeds 100,000 rail cars and locomotives worldwide. Their 36,000 employees continue a proud tradition of delivering ingenious rail transportation solutions.

During the year 2012, Bombardier Transportation seeks a solution to create and automate the process of welding horizontal joints on their aluminum trains. The results must meet Bombardier’s high standards, quality of welding, penetration of the joint, appearance and sturdiness of the welding, all in optimal production time.

After analyzing different options, it was agreed that AGT would be selected to integrate a robotized welding system in the production process, and FRONIUS would be selected for their welding technology as well as their technical support throughout the project.

AGT, FRONIUS and BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION were appointed to develop this project together, combining their technology and expertise. The main challenges in this project related to the 100% welding penetration required on a distance of 40 feet of aluminum, optimizing productivity and retaining an exceptional quality of welding. The appearance, the dependability and the ability of repeating the welding were all imperative aspects of the project. The feasibility study was also an important point for the three parties involved in order to respect expectations.

Bombardier Transportation committed to providing the required specifications and the evaluation criteria for reference purposes, to be present during the welding tests and to evaluate these tests. Bombardier also committed to supplying the formal approval of the results, the procedures and the welding parameters to AGT, in order for them to integrate these in the realization of the project.

FRONIUS CANADA for their part, with the assistance of FRONIUS INTERNATIONAL and local technical support, developed welding tests and required parameters, in the Research and Development laboratory in Mississauga, Ontario. FRONIUS thereafter recommended the best welding process as well as optimal parameters to meet the desired expectations. Tests and analysis were performed and technical support was provided to AGT when tests were made on the proposed equipment.

Subsequent to the quality of welding being approved by Bombardier Transportation, FRONIUS then transferred the welding parameters to AGT and assisted them throughout the production trials at Bombardier whenever necessary.

AGT for their part integrated the robotized system as well as all the related components by ensuring the welding equipment was compatible with the system and its components. At Bombardier Transportation’s request, AGT acted as a link between all parties and supervised the project. The final trials were carried out at their installations in Trois-Rivières, and laboratory analyzes were made in order to ensure that the results were in accordance to the expectations of Bombardier Transportation.

In mid-November 2013, the rail car production started at Bombardier Transportation, and the final results meet all the standards and expectations. This excellent example of first class partnership between three Canadian entities demonstrates the accomplishment you obtain when you reunite competence, avant-gardism and professionalism in a world market.

Congratulations to all for this promising success which will help the future of our local businesses!!!