Innovative robot welding systems in automotive construction
The AL-KO Kober Group develops and manufactures innovative products in the areas of Automotive Technology, Garden + Hobby and Aerospace. The internationally successful group of companies employs more than 4,000 people at locations all over the world. In spite of all the globalization and expansion in the successful company, production of tried-and-tested AL-KO trailer axles and components for the European market is traditionally undertaken at the company's headquarters in the village of Kötz in Swabia, which lies in southwestern Germany. Axles for commercial vehicle trailers and caravans from AL-KO are regarded as benchmarks in the industry.
Welding of trailer axles is a highly demanding task
Welds on vehicle components are exposed to high dynamic loadings, as a result of which welding trailer axles is one of the most demanding tasks in joining technology. Reliable welding processes and state-of-the-art production technology are essential prerequisites for guaranteeing maximum component quality at the same time as unrestricted flexibility.
Two welding cells increase flexibility
For its production of rocker arms, anti-theft devices and various add-on parts for commercial vehicle trailer axles, AL-KO relies on two identical welding cells from the leading system integrator, Robolution. Production in these stations is dominated by small batch sizes of between 10 and 500 parts, with an enormous number of variants. The Robolution universal cells with their two different special positioners bring an incredible flexibility to bear, while using the six-axis KUKA KR 16 welding robot guarantees both outstanding quality and productivity.
Industrial six-axis robot provides outstanding welding results
With 5-axis positioners and TurnFix, an additional special positioner attached to the longitudinal side of the system, the ground-breaking cells are able to achieve sensationally low non-productive times. The intelligent configuration of the systems with orbital positioner and TurnFix means that loading is possible at two stations without interrupting the welding process. The six-axis KR 16 robot is characterized by speed and precision and thereby produces outstanding welding results.
Quick change-over and a high range of producable parts
At the moment, just under 100 different programs for parts variants are stored on the systems. In most cases, changing over to a different parts variant is possible within five minutes. The range of parts extends from various small parts through to components with a maximum length of 800 millimeters. At any time, complete welding programs as well as fixtures can be transferred from one system to the other. This provides additional flexibility. Also, warehousing and spare parts stocking could hardly be more straightforward. If there were an incident on one system, it would be possible to weld particularly urgent orders on the other system without losing any time.