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ESAB's modular, platform-based product architecture delivers welding machines

ESAB Group : 07 July, 2003  (New Product)
ESAB is in an enviable position in the global market for welding equipment, serving many countries across most continents, and with products developed specifically to suit the needs of a wide range of different industries. Nevertheless, this broad diversity brings its own challenges in terms of how to cost-effectively manufacture welding machines that will meet all of the customers' requirements.
The approach that has been adopted by ESAB is to design products based on modular platforms that are built on a reduced number of components, in much the same way that the automotive industry works today.

At the simplest level, the three platforms can be considered as covering: welding machines using conventional, thyristor-controlled technology; portable inverter-based machines with current ratings below 300 A; and larger inverter-based machines with current ratings greater than 300 A. Modules that are built onto these platforms include the man-machine interface, the power block, the wire feed system, and the control power supply.

Although it has just three platforms, ESAB still presents its customers with four product families. While the Origo range of small, easy-to-use machines is targeted at craftsmen and lighter welding jobs, the Caddy range can be thought of as portable machines for professional users. The ESAB family of machines are powerful, flexible units for medium or heavy-duty industrial applications, and the Aristo range includes the most advanced machines available. ESAB's truly modular, platform-based product architecture is sufficiently flexible that some of the product ranges overlap two or three of the platforms, and the platforms themselves are each used in more than one product range.

For the customer, the main benefit is that ESAB can deliver a product that meets the application requirements, wherever the customer is located in the world, and regardless of the industry in which the customer operates. In addition, deliveries are faster, spares stockholding is simplified, and ESAB is able to maintain highly competitive pricing, despite the vast range of machines manufactured.

A further benefit of the truly modular approach is that new models can be brought to market more quickly because it is often simply a matter of developing one or two new modules in order to create a new welding machine. And most of the modules in a new machine will already be proven on existing machines, thereby helping to ensure the outstanding reliability that customers expect from ESAB.
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