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Welding solutions for Industrie 4.0

Blechexpo / Schweisstec in Stuttgart is the international trade fair for sheet metal working and joining technology. KUKA Industries is presenting its welding expertise there from 7 to 10 November. A broad portfolio awaits interested trade fair visitors in Hall B3, Booth 6313. With a simulated manufacturing process, KUKA is demonstrating its welding expertise in intelligent production to an interested specialist audience.

27 October 2017

As part of this, the manufacture of a battery box for electric vehicles is taking center stage at the trade fair booth. At the fair, the company is showing its expertise in the area of Industrie 4.0 in addition to its welding experience.

Manufacturing scenario 4.0 – a complete overview of the data

Collecting and evaluating data to optimize the process – process monitoring is the name of the game here. After all, those who maintain a consistent and permanent overview of data can reduce downtimes and detect improvement potential in order to increase product quality and manufacture more efficiently. "At our booth, trade fair visitors get a look inside a smart manufacturing process in the form of a networked welding system," explains Siegfried Heissler, Vice President / Division Head of ARCLAS at KUKA Industries. The production-relevant data for equipment, robot motions and components are collected and consolidated via the KUKA parameter control and documentation system PCD 507 – all in near-real time. All the important process variables are thus brought together in one place and made available for further analysis in KUKA SmartProduction. The cloud-based software application KUKA SmartProduction allows users to access and analyze system components from anywhere and at any time, which is the basis for implementing Industrie 4.0.

"In addition to this, we offer process screening, available as of early 2018. This is a software application for the visualization, analysis and recording of the manufacturing and handling processes of automated KUKA manufacturing cells. It can be used to observe several devices at the same time and from different points of view," explains Marc-Christoph Obst, Portfolio Manager at KUKA Industries. The devices become visible through the depiction of paths and values in the real process video using the augmented reality function. The detailed documentation of a sequence with synchronously recorded process variables accelerates the commissioning and start-up of new processes and increases process quality. If required, such documentation provides experts – including those at a remote location – with useful information about faults and thus supports troubleshooting.

KUKA flexibleCELL spot

An aluminum component is first machined using spot welding. This occurs via the stand-ardized compact welding cell, KUKA flexibleCELL spot. The robot cell consists of modular standard packages and is equipped with the new KP3-V2H S speed positioner, the fastest three-axis positioner on the market. The new ready2_spot speed package enables par-ticularly quick and easy implementation of the spot welding application. The preconfigured and tested bundle is ready for operation in just a few steps. 

New ready2_ packages

In a robotic cell, KUKA is demonstrating how arc welding technology can be automated easily using the ready2_arc and ready2_grip application packages. While the welding robot is working, the gripper robot flexibly places the component in the optimal position. The technology specialist thus demonstrates how the different application packages can be combined.

Top quality in battery production

The company also relies on new joining technologies such as friction stir welding, which is used in the manufacture of battery enclosures. Here, friction stir welding presents an alternative to conventional joining processes. The innovative process is particularly suited to the high-quality joining of a wide array of aluminum alloys and other non-ferrous metals with low melting points.