This Panasonic robotic welding arm offers repeatability and quality to precision high volume parts for Kloeckner Metals customers. Here’s how:
Changeover between parts is eliminated. Our custom-made headstocks and tailstocks (welding positioners) give us four welding surfaces on which the robotic welding arm never stops working. It has two sides and can flip, welding on one side as it changes parts on the other. Since the robotic welding arm never stops working, changeover between parts is eliminated.
Exact welds, every time. The welding arm achieves the exact same weld in the same spot every time. This improves quality and durability across the board – even the most experienced welders struggle to produce perfect welds all the time!
Consistent weld sequencing. Weld sequencing is the order of component parts of a weldment or structure. Sequencing is important because parts can be distorted or drawn out when products have tight tolerances, and are also being produced at high volume. Our robotic welding arm offers consistency. Once programmed, the robot can achieve the intended weld sequence as many times as needed.
Important Welding Considerations with Automotive Lightweighting
The benefits of a robotic welding arm are especially advantageous for customers in the automotive industry where welding is one of the main manufacturing costs.
New Materials, New processes
Another major consideration is the widespread use of aluminum sheet and AHSS and UHSS for automotive lightweighting. These more difficult-to-weld materials often require more skilled and experienced weld operators. (Check out our guide to welding aluminum for further explanation).
Automotive lightweighting satisfies stricter emissions standards with high strength-to-weight ratios and promising performance, increasing demand for aluminum in cars. For example, Drive Aluminum cites a 20% increase in aluminum content in vehicle manufacturing from 2015 to 2022.
Aluminum sheet goes into closure components, like the inner and outer hood, roof, fender, doors and tailgate. Other aluminum products like aluminum plate and aluminum tube are found in engines, transmissions and drivelines, wheels, heat exchangers, heat shields, suspensions and subframes, steering components, and brakes. Increasingly, we see aluminum in battery electric vehicles including the battery box, motor housing, converter housing, and battery motor system housing as well.
Typical Welding Challenges
Some of the typical welding challenges for automotive manufacturing include:
joining different types materials (i.e., aluminum with steel)
joining materials of different thicknesses
welding very thin materials (especially in the case of exhaust gas systems)
The Solution to Welding Challenges
To keep up with international competitors and to ensure affordability for consumers while also achieving mandatory requirements (i.e., crashworthiness and shock resistance) and meeting strict emissions standards, OEMs seek out more efficient production processes.
Our new robotic welding arm saves manufacturers precious time, and does not require expert weld operators to accomplish repeatable, quality, high precision welds at volume, solving many of the challenges that the industry faces in welding automotive components at scale.
We couldn’t be more proud to contribute the innovative welding solutions that meet the unique needs of automotive manufacturers. Investing in advanced technology and automation improves total production output, and we are happy to pass along this efficiency to our customers.
Natalie Spira is Kloeckner's Acquisition Marketing Manager. Previously, she was the Founder and CEO of Fraction Marketing, a marketing agency providing fractional support to scaling startups with a focus on acquisition marketing and demand generation. Natalie holds a MBA from Tel Aviv University with concentrations in entrepreneurship and marketing and a BA in English from UCLA.