Robots that take care of their welds!

In Vitré (35), MMO designs, manufactures and markets medical beds. A decade ago, the company chose Valk Welding as partner for two robotic welding cells that are essential for the assembly of the tubular frames of its products.

MMO Medical

At the gates of Brittany, for more than 70 years, MMO has been designing, manufacturing and marketing healthcare beds and furniture for hospitals, clinics and other health or medical-social establishments, EHPAD (Accommodation for dependent elderly people) and USLD (Long-Term Care Units). About 20% of this furniture is exported.
"We concentrate our production on everything that goes into the patients' rooms, beds, bedside tables and chairs with a range of products that is divided into three families, short stay medicalized room, long stay medicalized room and psychiatric room. "explains Jean-Luc Gendrot, Production Director at MMO.

Within the ALIAN INDUSTRIE Group, the Breton SME (75 employees) aligns 13 models of beds, some of which, complex, are equipped with electric jacks which animate different functions of the medical bed. In addition, each unit includes multiple accessories (rails, extensions, backrests, supports, etc...) to offer the patient maximum comfort.
The bed frames are made of a tubular metal structure that holds various laminated panels (HPL) from 6 mm to 12 mm thick, which support the bedding.
With an average weight of 180 kg, this robust structure is made up of about ten essential parts to which auxiliary components must be added, depending on the configuration.
The elementary steel tubes, from 1.25 to 2 mm thick, are prepared on an Adige laser cutting center and their shaping on a BLM numerically controlled bending machine. Before passing through a painting booth, the various metal elements are welded either manually on four independent stations or on two adjacent robotized welding cells.

" Designed in-house, our parts are cut, machined, welded, painted and then assembled to make 100% French healthcare beds. Thus, from January to September 2020, we produced about 70 tons of welded structures, the majority of which were produced using our two Valk Welding robotic cells.
The first robot acquired in 2009 was joined last summer by a second more efficient one, which increased our capacity by 25% with, as a bonus, excellent welding quality. Indeed, our welds (in classic MIG) are not only perfectly smooth, but also completely grain-free and no longer require finishing before painting" continues Jean-Luc Gendrot.

"Designed in-house, our parts are cut, machined, welded, painted and then assembled to make 100% French healthcare beds."

One point of contact for our robotic welding

This latest acquisition integrates a Panasonic TL-1800WG robot equipped with Super Active Wire Process (SAWP) technology, a torch process with an incorporated servo-motor, combining welding quality and cost reduction. Piloted with new software, the SAWP generates a very stable arc transfer with virtually no spatter, whatever the orientation of the torch.

As with the first robot, the second is also mounted on a monobloc E-shaped beam, connecting the two workstations separated by blackout panels. Ultra rigid, this base facilitates the installation and precise adjustment of the assembly.
Each six-axis robot operates, alternately in pendular mode, on the welding zones thanks to its seventh linear axis. This principle allows the operator to load or unload one workspace while the robot is constantly in action on the other, for cycle times that last seven to eight minutes.

For both robots, MMO currently aligns 22 interchangeable welding jigs made in-house in order to optimize the positioning according to the welds to be performed automatically. Depending on the manufacturing orders, these templates are successively mounted on the indexed horizontal axis rotary positioner, which is 2500 mm long by 1200 mm in diameter and identical for each welding cell. This eighth axis is also controlled by the numerical control.

"What is most important with the second robot is that it operates from our existing programming, thanks to the use of "macros" in the DTPS off-line programming software. Moreover, this same PC-based software allows programming without interrupting production in order to study and simulate the welding trajectories with no risk of collisions. What makes our productions safe is that with Valk Welding, we have a single contact for all our robotized welding including operator training, up to the supply of the welding wire (10/10th) delivered in drums of 250”

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