Lane cites additional benefits of the offline programming software. For example, D&S can perform reach studies on new and existing weldments to verify that the robot can access all weld positions without exceeding its own capabilities, and that the parts are positioned for the best possible welding scenario to achieve proper penetration and weld strength. In addition, the tooling system’s design-verification capability ensures that the robot has proper access to each weldment without interference from clamps and other components.
Delivered: A Robotic-Welding Workhorse
Along with the software, D&S Manufacturing purchased a complete robotic welding cell from Rimrock-Wolf Robotics, a LeanArc 500B, with components and capabilities key to the installation’s success. For example, the cell features an ABB IRB 2400L robot with expanded reach capability; a servo-controlled, three-axis indexing IRBP 500B positioner that can rotate the weldment around its own axis and handle to 1100 lb.; a Wolf Cell Control that provides the operator with complete cell control from one location; and Advanced Weld Control seam tracking.
The robotic-welding cell at D&S operates two shifts per day, with one operator on each shift. The operator can load parts on one side of the cell while the robot welds on the other. Jobs that previous took 2 hr. to perform manually are now completed in 35 to 40 min.
“Our goal was to cut welding time in half and we have exceeded that projection,” Lane says. He recently has completed first programming of a part with more than 50 paths and believes it has saved “more than a week of work” versus the old process of manually teaching the robot its paths.
Besides employing the offline programming software for more new projects, Lane is training a technician to use it and download to the machine as the need arises. The next step, Lane says, is to install a second system similar to the first and keep them both busy with offline part programming.
After its arrival, “we’ll look at placing machine tools next to the robots for milling and drilling operations that will help improve production-floor processing,” he explains. MF
Information for this article provided by Rimrock-Wolf Robotics, Fort Collins, CO. Tel. 970/225-7600; www.rimrockcorp.com.
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