Welding- Automation & Craft Combine at Keltech
For over a decade global supply chains have struggled with a deficit in welding capacity. However the extreme market volatility caused by COVID-19 has now suddenly accelerated the issue to crisis point. The delta between demand for welded products and available welding capacity is now one of the largest issues facing industry in 2022.
Many companies have been caught cold by the severity of the current welding crisis however as Director of Business Development Seamus Lawlor explains Keltech have been treating this threat as an opportunity for some time. The culmination of which in 2022 will see Advanced Robotic Welding Technology and good old fashioned Craftsman/woman-ship combine to provide Keltech customers with unrivaled support and opportunity.
K3 Factory Extension.
The newest section of Keltech’s manufacturing plant (K3 an additional 40,000sq ft) was officially handed over on December the 17th 2021. The section is fully dedicated to welding with an allowance for 30 new welding bays and 3 state of the art robotic welding centers. Commissioning is well underway and the first weld will be laid by early February.
Game Changing Advanced Robotic Welding Technology.
The addition of 3 state of the art welding robots over the next 12 months will have a transformative effect on the business Seamus says. “The last 18 months have been challenging; lockdowns, material shortages, Covid related absenteeism, energy price increases and so on but we have navigated extremely well. With the addition of not 1 but 3 new welding robots it positions Keltech to support the current buoyant demand. It also in the near future offers our clients further capacity and in doing so supports our growth strategy for our Waterford plant”.
Keltech’s Welding Academy now entering its 3rd year has continued to grow in popularity and in doing so has provided the company with a steady flow of welding talent. In the calendar year 2021 we were proud to train and certify 48 graduates whom all went on to be offered full time positions within the company. “Our aim in 2022 is to increase that number to somewhere north of 60 people” Seamus says. “The welding academy has been a roaring success. Many of the first cohort of graduates are in team leader positions and some have been selected to continue their training as part of a 4 year QQI Metal Fabrication Apprenticeship .”
With recent investment Keltech now offers welders the ideal environment to carry out their craft. State of the art air fed weld PPE, lifting equipment, hall extraction, Fronius pulse welding plants and all combined with a world class training programme. “Its been a struggle to recruit people into practical roles for a number of years but slowly we see that trend beginning to change. Generally when people apply and come in for the open day their expectation versus the now reality (Highly automated modern facility) changes their whole outlook on the career prospects we offer here”.
Keltech’s leadership team plan that by the middle of 2022 this combination of welding automation and craft will truly cement our position as the market leader and pave the way for future growth…
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"Blazing a Trail" Emma Daly.
Rathgormack born Emma Daily became Keltech’s very first female to enter our Welding Academy in November 2021. 8 months later Emma’s welding torch is burning bright. She has firmly become a key member of our Tank division and now fabricates fuel & hydraulic tanks for some of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world.
Our New Normal. 1st Female Production Team Leader.
It’s no secret that as a contract manufacturer with a core competency in sheet metal fabrication Keltech have traditionally operated in a male-dominated industry. But recently, this is becoming an outdated and inaccurate stereotype.
2021 Leaving Cert student says “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”
In Ireland 2 out of every 3 leaving cert students now opt to enter higher education. Anecdotally we can all identify with the stories of those individuals who have drifted into courses that in hindsight were never a fit.
Andy Hayes appointed CEO of Keltech.
Effective the 13th of December 2021, Andy Hayes takes on the role of CEO at Keltech. Andy takes up the leadership position having joined the business initially in 2018 as Chief Financial Officer. As part of the new company structure, founder Ray Breen will now move into the role of Chairperson.
"Tommy Farrell Flash Cup" Welding Competition Launched.
Last weekend we held our inaugural "Tommy Farrell Flash Cup" welding competition! This now annual event is an opportunity for our welders to display their skills in a competitive but fun format. The tournament is the brain child of Keltech's new in-house welding trainer Jeff Imrie.
SOD TURNED ON MAJOR FACTORY EXPANSION
Bright and early on the morning of the 21st of June the diggers rolled in to begin work on Keltech's latest development, a 40,000sq feet expansion to the existing facility. The suitably named K3 extension when completed in December will create a link between the current K1 and K2 buildings bringing Keltech to a combined manufacturing footprint of 160,000sq feet under one roof.