Automated Material Processing and Resistance Welding Machine
The customer requested an automated system to form and weld “honeycomb blankets” in a variety of sizes up to 48 x 120” from spooled titanium strip. All of the material handling steps, and machine processes needed to be precisely synchronized and monitored in order to meet the customer’s tight tolerances for good final products.
Machine Rate: 4 welds per second
Allen Bradley Compact Logix PLC
Allen Bradley PanelView 5500 HMI
Kinetix 5500 Servo Drives
Safety controller with zoned areas
Laser retroreflective sensor to verify material cutting
SDC designed and built a machine that successfully processed the material in single strips of titanium and then used a series of resistance welders to join the strips together to create the final product (honeycomb blanket).
First, the machine fed the titanium strip into the machine using a variable-speed powered dereeler to dispense the material through a pneumatic punch and through a servo-driven device that would form the material to the correct shape. The dereeler and former were monitored with various sensors to ensure the material was being fed at the correct tension, speed and timing. An inclinometer was used to measure the material on the spool and the machine would make automatic tension and speed adjustments, as needed. Once the material was formed, a set of servo-driven grippers, located on a carriage that traveled on a linear timing belt, would pull the material into the proper position for welding. Then, a pneumatic cutter would trim and cut the strip to the proper length.
Each strip was automatically welded to the last using multiple resistance welders mounted on the carriage. The system would squeeze the strips together for welding then would retract out of the way for the carriage to move to the next set of welds. The system would repeat this process until it moved all the way down the strip and completed all of the necessary welds.
Each strip needed to be precisely located in order to maintain proper alignment and create a good finished product. Numerous mechanisms were used to monitor and ensure precise and consistent placement.
The final blanket was handled by custom grippers with XYZ motion to pull the material out of the machine and onto a roller conveyor for manual removal.