With the development of the Arc-Eye laser camera on Panasonic welding robots, Valk Welding has developed a unique welding tracking system, which has now been deployed by several Panasonic dealers worldwide.
A key project is the application of the Arc-Eye laser camera with AC Mig weldingapplication by the Australian robot integrator Orion Automation Systems Pty Ltd for the robotic welding of aluminum fishing boats.
Remco H. Valk explains: “As a preferred Panasonic system integrator, we use the Arc Eye laser camera not only for our own applications, but we share the system also with our Panasonic partners worldwide. In almost every continent, we now have a partner who uses these cameras for integration into Panasonic welding robots. Jeff Fordham, owner of the Australian robot integrator Orion Automation Systems Pty Ltd, together with their Australian customer, visited us and a number of references to assess and discuss the application for welding aluminum workpieces. After intensive training at our technical training center and online support during installation, Orion Automation Systems has successfully refined this automation project,”
Orion Automation Systems
Orion Automation Systems Pty Ltd is the distributor for Panasonic Robot Welding Systems in Australia and New Zealand with over 30 years of robotic welding experience, providing robotic MIG & TIG welding systems, robotic plasma cutting systems & robotic laser welding systems to industry. Owner Jeff Fordham tells us about the project: “We were approached by a major manufacturer of recreational fishing boats to assist them with the investigation of automating the welding of their aluminum boats through the use of Panasonic Welding Robots. The boats are manufactured by welding various grades and thickness of plate aluminum and at that time completed by manual operations.”
Trials at Panasonic Welding System's Technical Centre in Japan
Jeff Fordham: “Orion Automation completed robotic welding trials at Panasonic Welding System's Technical Centre in Japan using Panasonic's Robotic Active Welding Technology to weld the various grades of aluminum. Upon presentation of the robotically welded samples to the customer, further investigation was invested to identify over 100 metres of welds per hull that would be able to be robotically welded.”
Shape changes due to heat input
“As the boat hulls are manufactured in stages in sections that are tack welded, it was recognized that the hull structure changes shape as it is welded due to the heat input and the characteristics of welding aluminum. Therefore live positional corrections of the Panasonic Robot Welding manipulators was determined as necessary during welding,” explained Jeff Fordham. “We knew that Valk Welding and Panasonic Robot Welding Systems have worked together to provide the Arc-Eye laser camera as a tracking solution, which is seamlessly integrated to the Panasonic Robot Controllers. We decided to visit Valk Welding's operations in Alblasserdam, the Netherlands, together with the customer, to test the Arc-Eye laser camera system's ability to track the sections of the customer's hull sections and to confirm suitability for the Arc-Eye laser camera to track the highly reflective aluminum grades.” The Arc-Eye laser camera systems enable the welding robot to accurately track the welding seam during the welding process by scanning its position, width, depth and orientation and automatically correcting the welding robot track where necessary. The sensor of Arc-Eye laser camera registers all measurement deviations within the scanning range of the laser sensor. This does away with the need to measure deviations beforehand and correct them manually in the welding program. This substantially increases the return and quality of the robotised welding process.
Demonstration at Valk Welding
Valk Welding demonstrated the Arc-Eye Laser camera at their workshops, and also at their customer's factories who rely on the Arc-Eye laser camera to guide the Panasonic welding robots to accurately weld products. Once the project was underway, Orion Automation Systems technicians completed extensive training at Valk Welding's facilities in the Netherlands. During testing of the Arc-Eye laser camera in Australia at Orion Automations System's facility, Valk Welding's engineers provided on line support to assist with specific seam tracking programming by the use of remote connection. Through the installation and commissioning of the Arc-Eye laser camera with the Panasonic welding robots, Valk Welding continued to support Orion Automation Systems to ensure that the systems were successfully commissioned. www.orionautomation.com.au
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