On 15-16 October 2018, FERMAT’s film production team travelled to the small Central Bohemian town of Dobris, Czech Republic, to get a behind-the-scenes look at Bobcat’s innovation center and manufacturing plant.
The huge complex, which also incorporates a training center and testing grounds, services the markets of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Here, prototypes for Bobcat’s world-renowned loaders and excavators are designed, manufactured, and tested, and then put in mass production at a fraction of the time it takes competitors thanks to strong investments in modern technology, self-reliance in parts production, and expertly integrated procedures.
Among the newest acquisitions to the shop floor where Bobcat machines parts for its prototypes is a FERMAT WFT 13 CNC table-type horizontal boring mill, which although impressive, wasn’t the main reason for the video. Instead, it was Bobcat’s modern facilities, its ever-present emphasis on ingenuity and efficiency; in short, a remarkable operation with which FERMAT’s proud to be associated with. To meet the standards demanded in Bobcat’s innovation center speaks to the excellent performance of FERMAT machines.
Loaders and Excavators, from drawing board to manufacturing and assembly
At Bobcat’s innovation center, prototypes for its ever-expanding line of loaders and excavators are designed, manufactured, and tested, measuring every aspect of performance. Machines are put through rigorous experiments and analyzed in detail.
They are tortured in climatic chambers producing hot desert conditions and sub-zero polar conditions, tilted and turned at tough angles checking stability, and subjected to incredible stress to assess their lifting and digging capacity. Furthermore, Bobcat’s innovation center has built its own acoustic chamber, the largest in Europe, to measure the noise of its machines, guaranteeing they meet all guidelines and norms when in use. They are also run continuously for an incredible number of hours, evaluating all wear and tear. And, they’re driven in the field, day and night, gauging all output in real-life situations.
A specialized workshop independent of suppliers
The entire innovation center’s like a highly-specialized workshop driven to create prototypes in the most efficient means possible and dependency upon suppliers is cut to an absolute minimum. Parts are machined, welded, and assembled in work bays. Even hoses and tubes are made on the spot, as needed, without delay. Importantly, Bobcat utilizes a large 3-D printer to create plastic parts, either as a plastic model for checking proportions and how it fits with the rest of the machine (for which a metal part will be cast in mass production should it fit), or, as a prototype plastic part, which would then be produced in mass production by ordinary means if it makes the grade.
A short walk from the innovation center sits Bobcat’s manufacturing plant, which incorporates a huge moving welding line, paint facility, and a pair of assembly lines cranking out loaders and excavators like clockwork. The interesting aspect of the moving welding line is that the large weldments are moved from station to station with different applications welded in separate stages, instead of all welding performed on one spot. This well-timed interaction allows for greater output and efficiency in the manufacturing process. Bobcat manufactures up to 80 machines a day at its Dobris facility to meet the robust demand for its top-of-the-line loaders and excavators.
A special show
At the end of the first day of shooting, FERMAT’s film production team was invited to an outstanding nighttime performance combining art and machines, Bobcat DemoDay, 15 October 2018. What a show!
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