Page 19 - MetalForming July 2012
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                MI. PTM added the Aro system to its newly formed advanced engineering center in mid-2011. The center, born in 2009, focuses on prototype and short- run production and occupies a 30,000- sq.-ft. facility in Frazier, MI. It’s soon moving to a new 57,000-sq.-ft. facility under construction on PTM’s 72-acre main campus in Fairhaven, MI—also home to the firm’s 125,000-sq.-ft. main production plant. The new prototype/ small-lot production facility, due to open in mid-2013, will house five- and three- axis laser cutting and welding machines, a handful of stamping presses, coordi- nate-measuring machines, six manual- ly operated resistance-welding guns and a few pedestal RSW machines.
On the Docket: 82,500 Spot Welds
Manufacturing engineer Chris Gast- meier led PTM on its mission to take its RSW capabilities to the next level. The impetus for the investment: a new wheel-housing assembly program
ERP Software for Growing Manufacturers
directed to the company early in 2011 from a large automotive-OEM cus- tomer. The program, which kicked off last October, required PTM to assemble 300 prototype wheel housings—150 each of left- and right-hand assem- blies. Each comprised 18 stamped com- ponents assembled via 275 spot welds—300 assemblies, 275 welds each, amounts to 82,500 welds. Some welds join two sheets, others join three sheets; some joints contain adhesive and a few of the parts are of galvanized sheet. Material thickness ranges from 0.023 to 0.085 in.
Completing the variety of welds throughout the assembly requires a PTM operator to manually move a welding gun from spot to spot. Without the Aro adaptive controller, he typical- ly would set the system up for one pro- grammed weld schedule and move around the fixtured assembly to com- plete like welds (same or similar weld- joint thickness and surface condition). He then would have to stop welding,
put the gun down and move to the con- troller to call up the next weld schedule needed to complete another set of like welds. Then he would pick the gun back up and complete those welds, and so on. That process would require excessive and repetitive movement around the assembly. It also would inhibit weld productivity, as the oper- ator would waste time moving and adjusting the weld control, sacrificing actual welding time.
Bring the Heat
Using the Aro, the process becomes streamlined since the control, in real time, measures resistance in each weld joint and adjusts the weld schedule accordingly. The operator can move quickly from weld to weld regardless of joint thickness or other variables, with little to no wasted movement. Thus he makes welds based on proximity and convenience rather than on the required weld schedule. No need to worry about galvanized or bare steel,
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                       MetalForming/July 2012 17
work up estimate for abc co.
research production bottleneck
check inventory for Jones, inc. job

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