Advantages of Robotic Ultrasonic Welding
When it comes to robotic welding applications, spot and arc welding are the most common. However, advancements in robotic technology along with the push for more fully automated factories and more diverse materials have led to the expansion of welding automation to less conventional methods. One of those methods is ultrasonic welding. Ultrasonic welding can be automated with six-axis robots, like the FANUC M-710ic/50. While not as popular as traditional robotic welding methods, it provides many advantages which include:
- • Welds Plastic - Unlike other robotic welding applications, ultrasonic welding can be used for plastic workpieces. This gives robotic ultrasonic welding an advantage over other welding methods. Manufacturers with a high mix of parts or with high part turnover may prefer this method as it gives them greater flexibility when it comes to materials.
- • Fast Speeds - Ultrasonic welding robots can operate at incredibly fast speeds. The Yaskawa Motoman MH50 using the ultrasonic method can complete welds within 200 to 500 milliseconds. These speeds allow for faster cycle times of up to 80 cycles per minute. Faster cycle times will increase productivity.
- • No Tooling Warmup - The end-effector used for ultrasonic welding does not require time to warmup unlike other types of welding tooling. Articulated robots can immediately start welding. Significant time is saved by avoiding tooling warmup, which also contributes to faster production times overall.
- • No Part Cooling - Other robotic welding methods may require cooling time for parts post weld before they are ready to move to the next phase of a manufacturing process. With robotic ultrasonic welding no part cooling time is needed. Parts can immediately be processed for the next step, keeping productions consistently running.
- • Welds Dangerous Workpieces - Some workpieces can be dangerous for human welders to work with. In the electronics industry, battery packs require welding, but the high amount of stored energy makes this too hazardous for humans. Ultrasonic welding robots, however, are equipped to safely weld the battery packs, relieving workers of this dangerous task.
- • Flexible - Ultrasonic welding robots provide greater flexibility when it comes to workpiece materials since they can weld both metals and plastics. In addition, six-axis robots themselves provide flexibility as they can automate several different types of applications. Should a manufacturer no longer need an ultrasonic welding robot, that robot can be redeployed for another application.
- • Uniform Welds - Ultrasonic welding robots can produce uniform, high-quality welds. This is especially true for plastic workpieces. Robotic ultrasonic welding creates seamless welds with no irregularities for a smooth weld joint.
- • Handle Heavy Tooling - The tooling used for ultrasonic welding can be heavy, with some weighing 70 pounds or more. High payload industrial robots are designed to operate heavy tooling without compromising the application. The ABB 4600-60 can operate an ultrasonic head without failure.
- • Reduced Costs - Automating an ultrasonic welding application will reduce costs overall. The accuracy of robots will eliminate material waste and rework. Fast cycle times will allow higher throughput with more parts welded in significantly less time, helping to reduce production costs. Reducing costs along with higher productivity will expand profit potential.