Robotic MIG Welding for Coal Mining Equipment Delivers Speed for Complex Parts
Genesis creates custom robotic welding system for long wall coal mining equipment.
A manufacturer of large equipment for long wall coal mining was plagued by extremely long lead times and inexact production processes. They needed to improve their product’s time to market so they could widen profit margins.
The size and weight of the parts – some of which were 50,000 lbs. – demanded extensive part programming from the robotic welding system, but the manufacturer had no robotic programming experience at all. System programming was particularly important due to the complexity of the parts, and because the heat from MIG welding created part distortion that the robot path needed to account for in real-time.
Genesis developed a modular system consisting of multiple workcells featuring Fanuc robots. The MIG welding system included: a two-station, two-robot workcell with a 12 meter servo track with two carriages; two single-station, two robot workcells each with a drop center positioner; and two single-station, single robot workcells with servo positioners.
Welding robots, equipped with an ATI tool changer, were programmed to pick up a pre-heat torch, automatically heat the part when needed, and weld consistently pre-tacked parts based on exhaustive planning, simulation and collaboration between Genesis engineers and the manufacturer’s operators.
Genesis developed a comprehensive training program for the manufacturer – including installing a training robot for 6 months prior to the actual robot welding system integration, as well as providing 7 weeks of on-site engineering support after integration.
Genesis delivered a robotic MIG welding system that successfully automated all welding processes in this highly complex application, all while improving product quality and employee safety.
The manufacturer’s employees gained valuable knowledge and experience in robotic programming, control and safety. This was a vital part of the integration – empowered employees helped the automation system provide ongoing value and ROI.
The robotic MIG welding system reduced the manufacturer’s lead time and helped them achieve their ultimate goals of production speed and wider profit margins.