Welding Car Side Panels

Vision systems guide pick-and-place process, provide complete traceability

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Manual labor is typically required when welding car side panels together. Large and small sheet metal parts must be accurately loaded into the robotic welding cell. After welding is complete, the number of welds and their location is verified manually with visual inspection. Finally, an operator removes the side panel from the inspection station and places it into a transport frame. These manual handling and visual inspection operations have been difficult to automate because it’s challenging for a robot to locate the bulky side panels with enough accuracy for a robot to pick them up.

Side Panel Placement

Automated racking, de-racking and inspection of side panels in a supply rack is now possible with a new 3D vision system that locates part position, identifies part defects and forwards the data to the robot controller. The robot controller uses the real-time data from the vision system to adapt the robot’s approach to the part’s position in 3D space. One robot collects small parts from a component magazine and a second robot picks large components from a transport rack. Both robots move to the welding station and place the parts in the correct position on the turntable.

After the welding process is completed by the spot welding robot, the first and second robots inspect the spot welds using a camera. The number, location and accuracy of the spot welds are determined. Finally, the second robot removes the welded side panel from the welding station and places it into the transport frame.
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