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Challenge

When Sandbach based company, Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd, were considering to expand their robot welding capacity for larger assemblies to the yellow goods industry and to such companies like JCB, ERF and Foden, they needed a system that was both flexible and capable of keeping up with future demands. The family owned business led my Managing Director, David Binns had already been an established user of MOTOMAN robots since 1997 and this equipment had provided good returns. The new system should be able to cope with small production runs as this is the nature of this leading fabricator. Main consideration should be given to large fabrications weighing up to 2000 kg with a maximum length of 3 meters and a width of 2.6 m. In addition the robot system should be able to weld all of the joints, which meant high accessibility from the robot. An other consideration was the restricted amount of floor space and the companies desire to occasionally be able to weld fabrications in excess of 4 m in length in a twin station robot cell.

Solution

YASKAWA's solution comprises two HSB 5000 single axes head and tail stock work piece positioners, which were position in an "in-line" configuration, both set to 4 m distance between fixture plates. The tail stock units are mounted on a manual linear track so the distance between face plates of one of the positioners can be increased. Due to restricted floor area, this means that the other positioner has to be shortened and the safety fence between the two positioners is therefore moveable including the associated safety zoning for the two work stations. Suspended from the gantry system is a MOTOMAN HP6 welding robot. The gantry has a 7.9 m linear servo slide along the Y axis so the robot can visit each of the work stations and cover all joints of the long work pieces. In addition the gantry system features a 1.8 m linear servo slide in the X axis so the robot can accommodate very wide assemblies as well as a 1.2 m linear servo stroke in the Z axis. The latter allows the robot to access areas deep inside a complex assembly. As is normal when welding large fabrication it can sometimes be difficult to guarantee the exact position of all of the joints and in this case the system also features the ComArc tactile joint sensor. Maximum flexibility is also achieved by having the through the arc joint following systems which automatically compensates for deviations in the programmed path due to heat distortion during the welding process.

Results

According to Mr David Binns: "Not only has the system been a major asset in ensuring that Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd were able to cope with increased demands for welded assemblies, but it has also allowed us to address our production costs in an area where it is difficult to employ skilled welders." Mr Binns also recognises the added value of having servo controlled positioners which ensure increased weld quality and at least 10% savings in manufacturing cost. One of the reasons for selection YASKAWA for this project was that all auxiliary equipment such as the gantry system and positioners are standard MOTOMAN products with a high reputation for reliability and excellent integration with the MOTOMAN robot system.

Motoman welding robot at Newfield Fabrications

Fabricator invests in gantry robot system to cope with demands

Customer

Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd

Product

Welded assemblies for the yellow goods and truck sector

Country

UK

Industry

General industry

Application

Arc welding

System Components

MOTOMAN HP6 robot
MOTOMAN XYZ gantry system
MOTOMAN HSB 5000 positioners
MOTOMAN ComArc joint sensor
MOTOMAN ComArc seam follower

Results

Ability to produce large robot welded assemblies at a competitive cost

Reduced dependence on skilled welders

Maximum flexibility with tight floor space

Reduction manufacturing cost with servo positioners: 10%

Contact

YASKAWA UK Ltd

SHORT FACTS