Category: Weld Systems
Midwest Engineered Systems has built a complete welding system for a construction equipment manufacturer.
Our customer contacted us to build a welding system that was adaptable to many sub-assemblies. This system would be able to handle a wide range of part designs and quantities with minimal manual changeover while providing the capability for expansion for more parts in the future.
Thus the goal of this project was to develop a more universally adaptive system that could handle multiple parts, reduce material handing by operators, and increase product throughput. The system must also be adaptable so future product could be added to the production cell to meet the needs of the ever changing market.
After a full evaluation of the project’s challenges and goals, Midwest Engineered Systems provided the customer a complete solution, which included:
The system utilized a large material handling robot (ABB IRB 7600) to present pre-tacked weldments to a welding robot (ABB IRB 2600). The material handling robot is mounted on a servo driven track (ABB robot travel track) to enhance the work envelope of the system. Multiple manual tack stations will be serviced by the material handling robot with two finished weld drop off stations. The cell included weld equipment and ancillary equipment.
Dual Torch Auto Changer System
The Dual Torch Auto Changer allowed the ABB IRB2600 to run two different weld guns allowing the system to run two different gage welding wire, (this system used .035 and .045 wire) or run to different types of wire for example one for mild steel and one to stainless steel. Depending on the particular part or a particular seam on a part the system could automatically change the torch thus changing the wire that the robot was welding with.
Welding Torch Neck Auto Changer
The Welding Torch Neck Auto Changer allowed for automatic change out of the welding torch neck during the welding of a part without manual intervention. The system used the Binzel ROBO WH-PP W500 liquid cooled gun and a custom MWES designed neck removal and storage system which could accommodate 5 different necks of varying angles and lengthens.
Tool Changer & Stand
The ABB IRB7600 was equipped with an RSP automatic tool change system. The automatic tool changer allows the system to change the End Of Arm Tools (EOAT) to accommodate a variety of different weldments and allows for the addition for more EOAT’s in the future as production needs change. When not in use the EOAT’s are stored on the Tool Storage Stand. The Tool Station area was designed with extra area to allow for future growth.
The EOAT assemblies utilized Schunk parallel and 3 jaw grippers to hold the part. One of IRB7600’s primary task is to act as a weld positioner. Extreme attention to detail was required during the engineering process to allow the IRB2600 welding robot clear access to all weld joints. As weld the EOAT has to be completely isolated from the robot so the robot can never take on weld current and a custom Negative Electrode was designed that would decoupled for the IRB7600 Automatic Tool Change.
A main electrical enclosure housed all of the systems controls. The main enclosure includes: electrical panels, power transformers, HMI touch screen, PLC, Safety PLC and more. The PLC HMI was the main control panel for the operators and maintenance personnel. Part Selection, Productions Status, and System Maintenance screen were developed to make the system user friendly.
The safety system for this production cell meets all the ANSI/RIA 15.06-2012 requirements. The system utilizes ABB’s SoftMove hardware and software package. This ABB option allows you to reduce the floor space of the system and still be in compliance to the ANSI/RIA regulations. As well the production part infeed’s are protected by a vertically sliding door which is not see through so it protects the operators from welding flash while they are tacking assemblies on the infeed’s.
Process Testing & Install
All equipment was setup in the MWES facility for production trial runs and testing before installation. Final runoff testing was conducted at the customer’s site to ensure the system met all requirements.
Impact to the Customer
The final weld system provided the customer with the following benefits:
- Increased quality & consistency of finished product
- System is flexible and expandable to meet the production needs of today and tomorrow
- 50% labor reduction with increased throughput
- Increase Safety by eliminating manual handling of large finish weldments
- System change over from one part style to part another part style was reduced to the time required to change the EOAT on the IRB7600 = one minute.