New Robotic Welding Cell Dramatically Increases Robotic Welding Envelope
In order to meet the goal of a sizable increase in their robotic welding envelop, D&S Manufacturing has integrated a new cell system from Wolf Robotics featuring two ABB IRB 2600 six-axis robots, two Lincoln Welding power supplies and an IRBP K servo positioner, all controlled by a single ABB IRC5 MultiMove control.
For more than 40 years, ISO 9001:2008-certified D&S Manufacturing (Black River Falls, WI) has served as a custom manufacturer of exceptional quality large scale components, assemblies and complete weldments for a broad cross-section of well-respected corporations that include Caterpillar, Oshkosh Corporation, Parkson, The Trane Company and CNH.
The company’s extensive capabilities include machining, laser, high definition plasma and oxyfuel cutting, as well as manual and robotic welding. These resources are complemented by diverse value-added services ranging from liquid spray painting, powder coating and shot blasting to assembly and testing.
Now, in order to meet the goal of a sizable increase in their robotic welding envelop, the company has integrated a new cell system featuring two ABB IRB 2600 six-axis robots, two Lincoln Welding power supplies and an IRBP K servo positioner, all controlled by a single ABB IRC5 MultiMove control.
An overview of the innovative capabilities used by D&S to manufacture weldments and large scale components.
Company president Michael Dougherty explains that D&S’ team approach to selecting new equipment mobilized 11 dedicated employees, including robot operators, welders, engineers and programmers, who formed sub-teams to evaluate equipment options, layouts, fixturing and logistics. These specialists concluded that Wolf Robotics, LLC (Fort Collins, CO) presented the best option to fulfill their objective of an increased welding envelope, increased deposition rates, and an increase in throughput.
According to Joe Lane, the continuous improvement manager said that, “this new system will take robotics in our facility to another level. With the integration of the new, more agile, faster robots and the twin station positioner, we will greatly increase the size of weldments that we can produce robotically and expect to attain dramatic improvements in cycle times with multiple robots welding in coordination on the same part.”
Lane explained that efficiency will be gained since the operator is able to continue to work on the load side of the positioner, while the robots are welding on the other side; there is no waiting to load and unload. To further enhance efficiency, the plant will utilize load-and-go fixturing to eliminate the need to perform manual tack welding prior to loading components into the carousel.
The carousel positioner has a 2,200 lb capacity and offers a swing diameter of 55 in with 157 in between head and tailstock – the largest K style positioner offered by ABB. The integration of two robots doubles the deposition rate and increases reach opportunities. The robotic side also features a quick neck changing station which will rapidly change welding torches, increasing robotic dexterity and welding reach and providing for the completion of complicated welding requirements in a single cycle. To reduce robot downtime, a Torch Cleaner Service Center has also been integrated into the welding system.
The fully coordinated operation of all the equipment in this turnkey cell is made possible through integration at Wolf Robotics. The user-friendly Operator Interface that is proprietary to Wolf Robotics provides easy access to all necessary information and control functions used to operate the robotic welding cell through a touch screen display.
Two important software options D&S utilizes are touch sensing, to allow the robot to find the exact position to begin the weld, and seam tracking, so the robot can utilize feedback to follow any variations in a weld joint. These exciting features contribute to excellent repeatability, improved quality, higher process speeds and shorter lead times.