Custom Robotic Tooling for Welding Tractor Cabs Cuts Lead Times by 4 Weeks
Genesis created a custom system and fixture design for robotic welding processes that increased production speeds and reduced time to market.
An industrial manufacturer of tractor cabs needed to automate welding processes to increase the speed of production and minimize their lead times to remain competitive in their field. The application required one-of-a-kind fixturing and design.
The robotic workcell required a “Flow-Through” approach for material handling, precise rigidity to weight ratios on cantilever robot carriages, offline programming capabilities, and many other custom features to facilitate automation that would fit with existing production processes.
Genesis integrated a robotic system including two FANUC ArcMate 120iC/10L robots on independent 131” travel servo tracks. FANUC’s WeldPRO system for offline programming was incorporated, allowing parts to be programmed while the system was still being built.
An FEA stress analysis was performed to determine the proper specifications for the servo carriage robot frame, and a WeldPRO reach analysis was performed for fixture and system design verification. A FANUC iR vision system was integrated as part of the fixture for assembly identification of material thickness.
While fitting the existing “Flow-Through” production needs of the manufacturer, Genesis was able to develop an automation system capable of making over 52 welds – spanning 2,450mm of weld length with an assortment of join configurations.
The analyses conducted during the design phase enabled maximum robot reach and servo carriages that were strong enough to eliminate deflection during weave welding, but flexible enough to not slow down transporter speeds.
The independent servo tracks allowed the robots to be retracted from the part, creating the “Flow-Through” design. The automation system was much faster than previous manual processes, cutting overall lead time by 4 weeks. Genesis created a robotic solution that fit within existing production methods, despite the complexity involved in doing this, and also helped this manufacturer find productivity gains to remain competitive in their industry.