ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION FOR ULTRASONIC WELDING
Ultrasonic robotic welding of plastic has not increased in recent years, say suppliers. They cite two reasons for this.
Many end-users prefer using an actuation system to a robot for larger parts because the stack is too heavy and slows down the robot’s arm too much,We’ve seen a decline of six-axis-robots integrated with 15- or 20-kilohertz systems. Manufacturers seem to prefer using robots with lighter stacks for 35- or 40-kilohertz systems.
Another problem with robots is that they generally produce backlash or deflection. Additionally, robotic movement has difficulty producing the dynamic follow-through necessary for a high-quality ultrasonic weld.
As a result, robots are best for ultrasonic spot welding or staking, rather than conventional welding.Staking or spot welding intentionally disturb the surface on contact and are usually done on the B side of a part. A conventional ultrasonic weld is one in which horn contact is not visibile.
Ultrasonic robotic welding tends to be used for large plastic parts that require several welds, such as door panels. Often times, these robotic systems incorporate multiple welding horns that can be easily programmed and changed. Welding parameters can also be programmed and changed as needed.
Non-robotic automated applications often involve several ultrasonic stacks. Some automated applications present an opportunity for suppliers to help engineers increase their productivity through shorter cycle times. For example, a prospective customer has mounted an ultrasonic welder to a gantry crane so it can be quickly moved among welding locations.
The customer is using a competitor’s pneumatic welder, and each weld takes 1.20 seconds. A servo welder can cut the cycle time by 0.25 second, to 0.95 second.
Like automakers, furniture manufacturers often use automated systems that perform multiple welds on one part or simultaneous welds on multiple parts.This is because ultrasonic welding is great for joining fabrics to plastic.
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