Fronius International visits the long-established Innsbruck construction company Huter und Söhne. The Metalworking division in particular enjoys an outstanding reputation here: The company’s own metalworking shop alone employs 60 people, who have 10 permanent welding stations and additional mobile welding systems at their disposal. Across all processes, Huter relies exclusively on welding technology from Fronius.
Innsbruck, at the heart of the Tirol: Huter und Söhne has been active in the construction industry here for more than 150 years – the city center is shaped by numerous buildings that owe their existence to Huter. To date, Huter und Söhne has gradually succeeded in establishing itself in a variety of different branches of the construction industry.
Universal Construction Concepts
From conventional construction, carpentry, and laminated timber construction to joinery services and metalworking – Huter und Söhne is a general contractor offering complete solutions. From foundation to roof truss, from solid wood front door to corrosion-resistant railings – they make more than 70% of the construction components themselves. This results in turnkey construction approaches being made available to the citizens of Innsbruck, of course.
“With around 250 employees, we can cover a variety of different architectural styles: from housing estates, office buildings and business premises, to industrial building and hall extensions – and we also have the expertise to build a sturdy home”, says Thomas Gattringer, master metalworker, welding practitioner and instructor for Huter und Söhne. “It goes without saying that we take up all the challenges posed by innovations in structural engineering. Energy-saving construction is also part of our service portfolio, for example.”
The Huter und Söhne Metalworking Shop
It becomes clear during a subsequent tour of the Metalworking division’s facilities that the metalworking shop is basically separated into materials.
Right at the start is the steel workshop: railings, stairs, ramps, canopies, car ports etc., are made here from conventional construction steel. The employees handling the solid steel girders that bar the way as you enter are not exactly holding back: “Brute force is needed here”, explains Gattringer. “Mounting brackets for balcony boxes, for example. The metal plates are 20-30 millimeters thick. We use 1.2 mm wire and then weld the whole thing in three layers. So you need an enormous amount of power, which is why we mostly use the robust TransSteel 3500c.”
Gattringer also explains that due to regulation EN 1090, welding tasks like this at Huter must only be carried out by the TransSteel 3500c. Of course, the TransSteel 2200 also comes under the prescribed certificate of conformity package, but not only does the TransSteel 3500c have the necessary high power, it also and most importantly has water cooling, which is vital for overcoming welding challenges like this. “If the tasks are minor, we also make use of the older VarioStar systems, which are simply indestructible.”
Frame construction – a subdivision of structural steelwork in the next workshop hall – demonstrates really clearly how little Huter actually has to buy: the door frames leaning against the wall are made from scratch in-house. First the fitters cut suitable strips from the 1.5 mm galvanized steel plate and trim them to make complex profiles. The individual components are then welded together to make finished door frames.
The aluminum workshop is next in line. This is where all aluminum system construction takes place, producing profiles for windows, doors and facades, and complete roof structures.
The stainless steel workshop is just a few meters away: The workers there wear T-shirts and white gloves – it is all about fine dexterity. The employees in this department are real TIG specialists and you can clearly see the almost artistic requirement of their work. At present, they are mainly working on handrails, stainless steel door frames, and railings. The spotless visible seams were all made by the Fronius MagicWave 230i, or the TransTig 230i.
At the end of the workshop visit, Gattringer explains: “We have high quality standards, so of course we need the right tools. When it comes to thermal joining, we only work with welding technology from Fronius.”
Mobile Use and the TransSteel 2200
“We also rely on Fronius systems for mobile finishing work”, continues the welding practitioner. Smaller tack welding jobs on stair railings are quickly and easily resolved with TransPocket. But when it comes to joining prefabricated handrails with high-quality visible seams, the fitters are happy to have the TransSteel 2200 to hand: “Because the seam appearance is important with this type of work, TIG welding is essential.”
Fitters seem to be totally convinced, particularly by the TransSteel 2200’s touchdown ignition in TIG mode: “System operation is so smooth that we find it easy to work and remain highly professional at the same time. It is true to say that you only need the minimum of practice and after just a few attempts, welding tasks can be performed at a level we would otherwise only manage in the workshop with the high frequency TIG systems TransTig and MagicWave.”
Gattringer also explains that the weight and handling of the TransSteel 2200 are most impressive: “The Multiprocess capability is a real plus, of course – especially the quick switch between processes. It takes no time at all to convert the system for the different process variants, as adjustments can be made intuitively and immediately, without requiring much previous knowledge. So we are ready to go extremely quickly.”
In fact, the simplicity of the Fronius devices wins favor with the welding practitioner in other aspects too: “The mere fact that we do not need high-voltage current! Since this is often unavailable on construction sites, we occasionally found ourselves having to organize generators in the past – a significant amount of extra work that is now no longer required.”
Universal Application with Multiprocess
Construction sites where there is no clear definition of the tasks to be completed are also part of everyday life for fitters: “In this situation, we are sure to pack the little TransSteel in the car just in case, because then we are ideally equipped for all tasks.”
Huter fitters really do have to draw on all the process variants in mobile use: “We can apply all the processes professionally and weld at more or less the same high level.”
Huter and the Jeweler
Only recently, there was a typical assignment for TransSteel at one of Innsbruck’s famous jewelers. Part of the renovation work required solid steel girders to be put in to support the ceiling construction.
But with so many upright structures (temporary supporting elements to support the ceiling) taking up space, we were severely restricted: “There was not enough room anywhere; we had to weld in all positions and it was always out-of-position welding. The lack of space meant we would have been at our wits end with the larger MAG systems, and if we had been forced to use smaller electrode welding systems, we would probably still not be finished. TransSteel flexibility definitely came to the rescue here!”
Quality and Service
Gattringer and his colleagues love the quality of Fronius products: “High-quality materials that last forever! But if there should be a problem, someone comes out at once and repairs the whole thing. If that doesn’t work, the equipment is replaced immediately – a service that is almost indispensable, with our deadline pressure.”
The Fronius sales team is also extremely well informed about workshop processes. The wearing and spare parts warehouse is checked regularly by Fronius employees, who are responsible for keeping it stocked: “The high-quality service from Fronius saves us a great deal of time and energy. All in all, this is an extremely valuable partnership for us.”
Business Unit Perfect Welding
Fronius Perfect Welding is an innovation leader for arc welding and a global market leader for robot-assisted welding. As a systems provider, the Fronius Welding Automation division also implements customized automated complete welding solutions, for the construction of containers or offshore cladding for example. The range is rounded off by power sources for manual applications, welding accessories, and a broad spectrum of services. With more than 1000 sales partners worldwide, Fronius Perfect Welding has great customer proximity.
Fronius International GmbH
Fronius International GmbH is an Austrian company with headquarters in Pettenbach and other sites in Wels, Thalheim, Steinhaus and Sattledt. With 4,760 employees worldwide, the company is active in the fields of welding technology, photovoltaics and battery charging technology. 92% of its products are exported through 30 international Fronius subsidiaries and sales partners/representatives in over 60 countries. With its innovative products and services and 1,253 granted patents, Fronius is the global innovation leader.
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Fronius UK Ltd
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