Each year, excavator manufacturer Komatsu UK holds the Komatsu Technology Olympics where around 150 employees and suppliers do battle over a number of disciplines designed to showcase the high levels of skill required to create their world-famous machines. AET were delighted to be invited to take part and selected Marek Kasa to represent the company in the welding section, and Karl Hill as the company’s specialist painter.
Spread over three days at the end of January, the contest took place at the 200,000 sqr meter factory in County Durham.
Marek told us. ‘The first day was mainly training and getting familiar with the equipment we were going to use. Welding sets are like cars and each one handles a little differently, so it was good to be able to get used to it beforehand. On the second day, we needed to mark out and cut all the components from 10mm thick steel plates, before fabricating the final assembly. Everything needed to be done to a very high standard. Then we had the theory test where we needed to answer 50 questions on all sorts of aspects of engineering. The third day was where we did the final exam which involved another complex fabrication.
‘I really enjoyed the three days, and everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Komatsu have a fantastic factory, and everybody has such high attention to detail in the place. I’d love to be invited back for another go next year!’
Karl’s task was to fully prepare and paint a typical Komatsu panel to incredibly high standards and demanding timescales. ‘In the first phase, we were given 12 minutes to degrease the panel, mix the primer and apply two coats to give a film thickness of 40-60 microns. Phase 2 involved masking areas, de-nibbing imperfections, before mixing and spraying the yellow top coat – all in 18 minutes! The final stage required us to measure and the apply the Komatsu decal followed by mixing and spraying the dark grey band all within the allotted 22 minutes. The whole process was really enjoyable and it was great to represent AET up at Komatsu.’
Senior Estimator and key KUK contact Phil Dodds commented, ‘Everyone I spoke to was so complimentary about Marek and Karl, with their professionalism, enthusiasm and ability. They represented the company superbly and were excellent ambassadors throughout. ‘