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Did Precision Labour Lost To Industrial Automation? German vs Soviet Tank Welding Apocalypse

Original War Park Weibo 2022-11-12 20:18 Posted in Shanghai

In a German tank workshop - all welds are manually done. After the end of World War II in 1945, the Soviet engineer Adentov published an article in the "Bulletin of the Tank Industry" titled "German experience in cutting armor and welding tank bodies”. In the article: “Based on studies of two tank factories in Himeser and Brandenburg, whereby up till the last months of the war, these German factories were still requiring technical luxuries, whereby different welds need to be assigned to different welders in order to complete the tank. At this time, the Third Reich was at the end of its tether.

In comparison, T34 Tank Production workshop, body and turret utilized automatic welding techniques.


Since July 1942, 19 automatic embedded arc welding units have been installed at the Chelyabinsk Tank Factory No. 200 of the Soviet Union for the production of the T34 tank. These automated welders allowed 280 high-quality welders to be released for other work, and only needed to be replaced with 57 lower-skilled workers. Each T34 tank has at least 40 linear meters of welds, and the welding time has been greatly reduced by the use of automatic welding equipment. In the case of the toroidal weld on the top of the T34 tank turret, the welder takes more than five hours, while the automatic welding can be completed in just 40 minutes. Automatic welding not only improves production efficiency, but also significantly reduces welding costs, and the consumption of electric power and welding wires is reduced. All this also provided the possibility of a flood of Soviet steel.

German tank chassis rotating device.


In order to allow welders to weld the tank chassis in relatively comfortable conditions, the Germans moved out a set of rotating devices. The structure is similar to a barbecue grill, and after the two sides are fixed, the German tank can be rotated along the longitudinal axis. The drive is manual or electric. Long welds are divided into several small welds by German welders and welded in one direction simultaneously. The end weld is also welded by two welders synchronously. This ensures the minimum quenching stress of the steel and allows a most uniform distribution. According to some sources, welders in the Third Reich's military industrial complex were paid piecework wages. Even though the United States and the Soviet Union introduced automatic welding early, Germany still insisted on manual welding, possibly because German skilled workers resisted in order to maintain their income.

The Iconic Feature of German Tanks in the Later Period using Slot and Weld connection method.


As the war went on, the tanks on the battlefield became larger and thicker, which posed a great challenge for German welders. Long and deep welding joints, the probability of welding failure is high, and even if it succeeds, it is difficult to guarantee the strength. Thanks to both highly purified oxygen (more than 99%) and high-quality gas cutters (Messer and Grisheim), The Germans cut the armor plate before welding the tank hull, and even the thick armor plate can be cut and formed with high precision. On this basis, the German welders invented the slot and weld connection, to avoid difficult welding operations, but also to improve the strength of the tank body joints.

German Weld Inspection


Welds in the German tank industry are monitored only by visual inspection - no X-rays, magnetic flaw detection or raw drilling. Cracks in welds: if they are up to 100 mm, they are sanded and repaired; If any longer, repaired by arc melting and welding. Over time, however, due to the invention of new electrode components, the Germans managed to reduce the proportion of cracks in the weld from 30-40% to 10-20%.


Editor's summary: Although Germany had invented the efficient techniques and tactics of "blitzkrieg" militarily, it is not strong in industry. Germany lags far behind the United States and the Soviet Union in terms of industrial standardization and automation. If you pursue high precision and rely on maintaining generation differences, you need to invest a large amount of resources in trial and error. If you can't win a complete victory in a short time by relying on each generation, the opponent will skip the trial and error link at a very low cost. The rapid development of military science and technology between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II is the same as Germany in many concepts and directions.


This month War Park introduced the German Maintenance Worker Sets and the Tiger Engine Set.


KU113 Welder & Electric Welding Machine

https://www.toysoldiersgalleria.com/.../war-park-ku113...


KU114 Cutter & Gas Cylinders

https://www.toysoldiersgalleria.com/.../war-park-ku114...


KU115 Hammerman & His Sledgehammer

https://www.toysoldiersgalleria.com/.../war-park-ku115...

WS039 Tiger Tank Engine & Ladder & Toolbox

https://www.toysoldiersgalleria.com/.../war-park-ws039...









Original Chinese text follows

人工败给自动化?苏德坦克焊接启示录

Original 战争公园 战争公园 2022-11-12 20:18 Posted on 上海


德国坦克生产车间-所有焊缝均是人工焊接

1945年二战结束后,苏联工程师阿登托夫在“坦克工业公报”上刊登了一篇名为《德国切割装甲和坦克车体焊接经验》 的文章,文章中写道:“基于对希梅瑟和勃兰登堡的两个坦克工厂的研究,直到战争的最后几个月,这些德国工厂还在按部就班地提供技术上的奢侈品——不同的焊缝需要分配给不同的焊工才能进行焊接。”而这时的第三帝国已经是山穷水尽、人力枯竭。


T34坦克生产车间-可见车身和炮塔均实现了自动焊接

1942 年 7 月以来,苏联车里雅宾斯克的200号坦克工厂装备了19 台自动埋弧焊装置进用来行T34坦克的生产。这些自动焊装置允许释放 280 名高质量焊工用于其他工作,只需要用 57 名低技能工人取代他们。每辆T34坦克至少有40延米的焊缝,在采用自动焊装置后,焊接时间大幅度缩短。以T34坦克炮塔顶部环形焊缝为例,焊工需要5个多小时,而自动焊接只需40分钟即可完成。自动焊接不仅提高了生产效率,焊接费用明显减少,电力和电焊丝的消耗都有所减少。而这一切也为苏联钢铁洪流提供了可能性。


德国坦克底盘旋转装置

为了方便焊工能在相对舒适的条件下对坦克底盘进行焊接,德国人搬出了一套旋转装置。结构原理类似烤肉架,两侧固定好后,德国坦克可以沿着纵向轴线旋转。驱动装置是手动或电动的。长焊缝会被德国焊工分成几个小焊缝,并在一个方向上同时焊接。端部焊缝也由两名焊工相互同步焊接。这样可以确保了钢的最小淬火应力及其最均匀的分布。根据一些材料的说法,第三帝国军工企业的焊工工资是计件工资。即使美苏早早引入自动焊接,德国依然坚持人工焊接,有可能是德国技术工人为了保持收入进行了抵制。


后期德国坦克的标志性特征——卡槽+焊缝的连接方式

随着战争的进行,战场上的坦克越来越大,装甲厚度越来越厚,这给德国焊接工人带来了极大的挑战。又长又深的焊口,焊接失败的概率很高,即使成功了也很难保证强度。得益于同时拥有高度纯化的氧气(超过99%)和高质量的气割机(梅塞尔和格里斯海姆),德国人在焊接坦克车体前,会对装甲板进行切割,即使很厚的装甲板也能以高精度切割成型。在这个基础上,德国焊工们发明了卡槽+焊缝的连接方式,避免出现高难度的焊接作业,也提高了坦克车体连接处的强度。


德国焊缝检查图片

德国坦克工业中监测焊缝只有目视检测——没有 X 射线、没有磁性探伤或原始钻孔。焊缝有裂缝:如果长达 100 毫米,则对其进行打磨并补焊;如果更长,则通过电弧熔炼并焊接。不过随着时间的推移,由于发明了新的电极成分,德国人设法将焊缝中的裂纹比例从 30-40% 减少到 10-20%。

编者小结:德国虽然在军事上发明了“闪电战”高效的技战术,但是在工业方面却是尖而不强。德国无论是工业标准化和自动化都远远落后于美苏。一昧追求高精尖,追求靠代差碾压,就需要投入海量资源进行试错。如果依靠代差无法在短时间内取得彻底胜利,那么对手就会以极低的成本跳过试错环节。而美苏在二战之后军事科技突飞猛进的发展,在很多理念和方向上都与德三异曲同工。

本月战争公园推出了德国维修工三人组和虎式发动机套装。

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