The project

Aims

 

Development of an eco-efficient, self-programmable process for automatic and efficient laser welding of complex mixes of small batches.

The autonomy of the system is based upon a closed loop between the image detection of optical sensors and the programming and actuation of the robot that makes ECOWELD + independent of offline programming and therefore enabling:

1- Use in operations that today are performed manually due to the low number of batches to produce, which does not allow the return of the investment in automation within a reasonable time;

2- Use of laser technology that for repeatability and safety reasons can not be industrialized in the case of manual operations.

The Process

 

ECOWELD + is a revolutionary process for  robotic welding of metal components able to:

- recognize automatically the positioning and dimensions of the components to be welded, even in the absence of CAD information on the geometry of the parts;

- recognize automatically the welding path highlighted by recognizable signs;

- self-programming on the basis of this recognition in order to perform laser, plasma, TIG, MIG, MAG welding and hybrid variants of these processes;

- perform and certify the welds obtained;

- guarantee a competitive total cost of ownership compared to traditional wire welding system.

Modules

- Vision system for the acquisition of the welding scene including the graphic signs positioned on the components to be welded;

- Software module that processes the image by translating it into a welding path that can be fed as input to the robot controller or to the online programming software;

- ABB anthropomorphic robot arm;

- TIG / MIG / MAG arc welding equipment;

- Knowledge based module for laser and plasma welding (WPS for various materials and joints);

- Process monitoring and certification module (mechanical, metallurgical, dimensional);

- SPC module + historical memory (Cp, Cpk, collection and processing of critical events);

- Integration of hybrid laser welding head.

Impacts

The potential impact of ECOWELD + is very high:

- It is the key enabling factor for the adoption of automatic welding in the small business world (SMEs in this sector accounts for 99%, 75% by employment and 50% by turnover of the Italian market, the second in Europe after Germany);

- It is the enabler for the introduction of new technologies in the world of Small Business, in particular for the adoption of laser technology that is rarely employed in non-automated contexts;

- Small Business' driver to lead its business towards applications with greater added value than the average fragmented processing for third parties, whose ever smaller margins represent a serious threat to employment and industrial wealth
at Regional, National and European level.