Case Study

Smoker Craft Speeds Up Pontoon Production with Robotic Welding

Smoker Craft, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of recreational boats, partnered with Guide Engineering, a FANUC Authorized System Integrator, to implement a new robotic system to weld pontoon components and assemblies.

Challenges solved by:

Guide Engineering Logo

  • A need to quickly meet the growing demands for recreational boats
  • Overcome the lack of available skilled labor
  • Maintain high-quality standards
  • Provide support throughout the automation project and beyond


  • Collaboration was the key to the project’s success

  • Robots consistently weld at high speeds

  • Reduces skilled welding team’s physical stress

  • Optimization icon

    System delivers a higher quality product


Smoker Craft, Inc., based in New Paris, IN is a family-owned and operator manufacturer of mid-length recreational boats, including three pontoon brands, the Smoker Craft fiberglass brand, and several aluminum V Bottom boats.

After more than 100 years of fully manual production, Smoker Craft received a Manufacturing Readiness Grant through Conexus Indiana. Grants are provided to help manufacturers make innovative capital investments in smart manufacturing at their Indiana operations - leveraging state-of-the-art technologies including robotic automation.

Before starting the automation project, Smoker Craft worked with enFocus, a nonprofit organization that helps manufacturers in Indiana with high-impact projects. EnFocus steered Smoker Craft in the right direction based on their experience in manufacturing and system integration. Following that collaboration, Smoker Craft understood that the key to making a successful transition to automation required a skilled and experienced robotic system integrator. Guide Engineering, a FANUC Authorized System Integrator was a great match.

Right from the start, Guide Engineering’s designer worked very closely with the team at Smoker Craft to develop an automation system to quickly weld aluminum pontoons and various components. They collaborated every step of the way, and today, the robotic tube welding system is a huge success for Smoker Craft.

The system uses three FANUC ARC Mate 120iD robots to quickly weld pontoons in just 10-12 minutes each. In addition, the automation meets Smoker Craft’s quality and consistency standards, and relieves their highly skilled welding team from the strenuous tasks related to welding pontoons.

Smoker Craft’s automation system continues to produce high-quality pontoons that meet the needs of their rapidly growing customer base, now and in the years to come.

Michael Boyle - Process Engineer at Smoker Craft

Three robotic arms moving around is impressive to see. It's surgical in how the system performs quality welds and completes the process in just 10 to 12 minutes.

Michael Boyle

Process Engineer - Smoker Craft, Inc.

FANUC Products Used

Meet Guide Engineering, FANUC Authorized System Integrator

Established in 1960 and based in Ft. Wayne, IN, Guide Engineering is a leader in the design and build of high-end automation, assembly, and test equipment. The foundation of this success comes from their experience and culture of continually striving to be innovative and a technology leader. This has enabled them to grow and serve both domestic markets as well as having a global presence.

Smoker Craft

About Smoker Craft

Since 1903, Smoker Craft has set the pace of innovation for the marine industry. As one of the last surviving family-owned-and-operated boating companies, they hold tight to the same values they were built on five generations ago—integrity, leadership, and loyalty. Those values are deeply rooted in who they are and extend throughout their 900 team members who deliver high-quality marine products, outstanding customer service, and unsurpassed value.

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