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Profiling line for fence posts


The line at a glance

  • Double decoiler
  • Fully automatic strip end welding device
  • Material buffer
  • Punching table (with pit)
  • Roll former with high-frequency welding installation
  • Deburring unit
  • Cooling tunnel
  • Calibration unit
  • Inline processing

Van Merksteijn International is a leading authority in reinforcement products and fencing systems worldwide. The company wanted to improve the speed and efficiency of its fence post production process, while of course maintaining the high quality that its customers have come to expect. The solution: a state-of-the-art profiling line that uses the latest technology. Eltra developed the software and control panel for the machine.

“It was a fantastic project,” Erik Klaassen says. Together with four Eltra colleagues, the project manager worked on the successful realization of the project. “The line is not only very long, but the production speed of 100 meters per minute is also exceptionally high,” he explains. “In addition, the line uses a number of new machines and techniques, such as a fully automatic strip end welding device, a material buffer and a high-frequency welding installation. A fun challenge for our team!”

“It was a
fantastic project”

Automatic input
To achieve optimal output, the line features a high degree of automation. This includes the very beginning of the line. “Normally, the operator performs a number of tasks to feed in a new roll of steel,” Erik says. “But now the material is automatically fed, straightened and welded. All the operator has to do is place a roll of steel on the mandrel.” Furthermore, to prevent downtime during the changing and welding of rolls, the steel is loaded into a material buffer. With room for 800 meters of steel, the buffer ensures the rest of the line can keep running. “More and more customers will opt for this solution,” Erik expects.

Magnetic welding
The high-frequency welding installation was the line’s biggest technical challenge. Erik: “In this technique, intense heat is generated by highly concentrated magnetic fields. This melts the material together, forming the steel into a tube.”The complex process of welding, post-processing, cooling and calibration was new to the team. “That’s why early on, when we were preparing our quote, we visited a company in Germany that uses this technique,” Erik explains. “We also contacted the supplier to identify areas that required the most attention.” The careful preparation was not without results. The testing of the welding installation went smoothly. “The credits should go to our team. They did an outstanding job on this!”

”The complex process of
welding, post-processing,
cooling and calibration was
new to the team.“


Complex machine, simple controls
User-friendliness was a major focus in this project. For example, the team created a connection that allows the customer to input production orders into the machine from their office. Our colleagues also put a lot of effort into developing a simple control system. Erik: “A challenge, given the line’s complexity. But we always approach our control systems from the user’s perspective. It should be easy to work with.” One notable example is a filter system at the end of the line. “Some posts have a weld seam because that’s where a new roll of steel starts. Those are automatically removed.”

Close collaboration
While Eltra developed the software and controls, Dibalex handled the machine’s design and assembly. According to Erik, the collaboration with the machine builder is crucial. “The end result is always a combination of software and the machine. They have to work together, which is why good communication is so important.” Eltra and Dibalex have been working together for nearly 25 years, and that long collaboration is bearing fruit. “We communicate effortlessly.”

Eltra and Dibalex have
been working together
for nearly 25 years

With the line now in operation, Erik can reflect on a successful project. “The end customer is satisfied and can work well with the machine. Everything went smoothly and we gained new insights.” The highlight of the project? “That was definitely the testing of the high-frequency welding system. We always trust that it will work out in the end. But when everything works perfectly after months of preparation, it’s still a relief. We’ve done it again!”