The initial situation

Kostka - Kolobka s.r.o. started in 1993 in the Czech Republic as welding subcontractor of metal fencing. They later started making bicycle frames while still providing metal fabrication services and ten years later added the production of kick scooters to the mix. Bicycle production was abandoned in 2001 because of the Chinese competition and the production of kick scooters became their core business. Today Kostka - Kolobka s.r.o. makes no fewer than 25 models of kick scooters. They have models designed for use in cities, for touring, for fitness and for racing. Approximately 10,000 a year roll out of the factory. Production is raising 10% per year.

Effect

Some years ago, Kostka - Kolobka s.r.o. decided to invest to boost productivity while maintaining the same quality. Part accuracy is one of the most important factors on kick scooters and impacts the final performance of the product. The initial idea was to invest in an automatic sawing machine. They then discovered the LT8 laser  system. With BLM technology, Kostka - Kolobka s.r.o. revolutionised the manufacturing process of kick scooters replacing the old mainly manual system and opening up new potential making it possible to address an increasing number of diverse customers.

The solution

The latest models of kick scooters created by Kostka-Kolobka s.r.o. were designed by exploiting BLM GROUP technology. The new bending and laser cutting systems have eliminated many weld seams and drastically reduced the number of components. What used to require five different operations (cutting, deburring/trimming, fine alignment, welding and drilling), today takes only two: automatic laser cutting and bending on an all-electric machine. As a result time is cut by 83% and costs are cut by 66%. All the parts of the frame are cut by a LT8 Lasertube machine. The E-TURN tube bending machine bends the most important part with the holes already made and then directly dispatches it for welding. The frames are welded automatically by robots and this makes cutting accuracy particularly crucial.
The LT8 generally increased production and process quality. Productivity was greatly increased and there were fewer rejects.

Having two different load locations on thelaser is very useful because they make it possible to stage next job, implementing the same concept as sheet processing machines. If an urgent just-in-time job is received, they could be cut without interrupting the current job or needing complicated material handling operations.

A 3D machine was chosen for bending because it could bend right hand and left hand. System flexibility and the hole search function after laser cutting were defining elements for choosing BLM.

 

The benefits

The initial investment was quickly paid back by the production speed and accuracy. The laser system also makes it possible to eliminate operations, increase flexibility and repeatability opening the way to the new opportunities to reach an increasing number of diverse customers.

Technical aspects

Laser versatility and flexibility can be exploited to efficiently process complex parts for accurate, clean and high-quality results. All-electric bending guarantees maximum accuracy and quick and easy changes of production.