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 Loading Bay Equipment Welding using Robotic Solutions

Loading Bay Equipment Welding using Robotic Solutions

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The Customer’s Challenge

The customer is a leading manufacturer of entrance automation and loading bay equipment. With a turn over annually of over 200 crores and 70% of the market share in India, they required a solution to ramp up their dock-leveler production due to their enormous demand. The components parts had to be assembled and welded together do that they can be connected to a lip plate which is also welded using our system. The factory has huge number of skilled labors only to do the welding of job while sitting on the fixture. This occupied a lot of the factory’s floor space and labor. The company was facing huge issues in achieving the targeted production, consistency in the quality and labor management especially during the Co-Vid times. Madox had been given an opportunity to study the process and propose the improvement solutions.

The MadoX Approach

Many manufacturers are struggling to keep their production efficient while at the same time responsive to changing market needs. The solution arrived for the above scenario is automating the process, so that the manpower depended production struggle and quality issues can be eliminated totally. We made a detailed study on the production requirement and a cycle time study for each variant. By using a robotic welding system, the customer improved the production cycle time and consistency. We also proposed to extract the production data for each shift for the effective utilization of the system. The proposed optimized production output per shift along with optimized process met the customers demand.

About the Project

The project involved the following components

case-study➢ Robot -KukaKR120 R-3100-2 – 1 Set
➢ Welding Power Source Kemppi A7450– 1 Set
➢ Dinse Welding Torch – 1 Set
➢ Linear Track Arrangement – 1 Set
➢ Work Tables – 2 Set
➢ Tack Welding Fixtures – 1 Set
➢ Interfacing panel with Siemens PLC & HMI
➢ Field Sensors
➢ Safety systems

The robot is mounted on a linear track and connected to the welding power source with torch. The work table is rectangle in shape and has locating pins for matching the pallets that are lifted from the tack welding station. The linear track has mechanical rack and pinion arrangement for exact positioning of the robot that is driven by a servo motor and variable frequency drive. The position sensors will ensure the alignment of the robot after each movement. The table can be accommodated with multiple variations based on the production component. The system is designed with 100% efficiency so that the welding and loading can happen together. The robot idle time is only during the linear movement along the track and positioning which is of 5 seconds.

The Process/Operation

The process starts when the operator loads the component to the fixture and press cycle start button on the operator panel. The robot, during the component loading is moved to the opposite side to avoid any collision during loading and unloading. The system will make safety check with all system interlocks and various sensors and give signal to the robot to move towards the job after loading.  After the desired position is reached, the robot gets locked at the exact position and feedback will be given to the system. The robot will start by touch sensing of the parts at the exact location before proceeding with the welding based on the available program. During this, the second set components will be getting loaded by the operator. Against completion of the loading the cycle start button can be pressed by the operator on the other side and the robot will move towards that table to begin the welding. The reference on the table can be modified to adjust of the other component to also be welded. Once the arrangement is changed, the operator simply selects the required program and proceeds with the welding as desired. The cycle continues and the production data will get loaded in the PLC system.

The Customer Payoff

The welding is no longer a production bottle neck. By reducing the operation cycle time, the capacity is now double above originally rated capacity and quality consistency issue has been wiped out from the production output. The customer has reduced the 4 skilled manpower in each shift which itself is giving back the ROI for the project. The customer has plans to add another 2 more similar cells based on the outcome from the initial one.

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