Coldwater Machine Company has announced the addition of automated tool change capability to its SpotMeld™ robotic joining system. Capable of volumes required for high production environments, SpotMeld enables the joining of aluminum (1000 – 7000 series), magnesium, non-ferrous and dissimilar sheet materials, which has proved problematic with traditional joining technologies. SpotMeld systems can be mounted on any industrial robot or retrofit for replacement of existing processes such as resistance spot welding, laser welding and riveting.
“To achieve vehicle lightweighting strategies, automakers are moving to mixed material designs, which have been particularly challenging in the welding of body panels,” said Coldwater’s Dan Barry, vice president of sales and marketing. “The SpotMeld system is designed to join a variety of materials and meet the production requirements of today’s automotive manufacturing environment.”
The SpotMeld is based on Refill Friction Stir Spot Welding (RFSSW) technology. It uses rotational friction to heat the materials along with pressure to forge together the parts using wear-resistant tooling to join two or more surfaces. In addition to joining lightweight materials, benefits include high quality solid state joints that are near original material strength, a small heat affected zone, consistency in weld duplication and faster weld times -- as well as being environmentally cleaner and safer with no filler material, spatter, smoke, radiation or shield gasses.
As compared to laser welding and other aluminum-joining techniques, SpotMeld is an easier process to fixture and the automated tool change capability saves significant time as compared to self-piercing rivet changeover. Additionally, a variety of weld recipes can be used on demand by the robot controller, which results in a very flexible production system.
A major advantage of the Coldwater system is that the tool doesn’t fully penetrate through the bottom sheet, leaving a smooth surface with potential for use on exterior body panels. Alternative friction spot welding techniques typically use a solid pin that does not retract leaving a surface that has some material off-set on it as well as a 3 -4mm hole in the center of the weld.
Coldwater Machine‘s SpotMeld™ robotic joining system with automated tool change capability is well-suited for joining of lightweight body panels in high production environments
Coldwater Machine Company, a leading engineered solutions company that manufactures and integrates assembly automation and special machines for the Appliance, Automotive and Aerospace industries, has announced the availability of its Roll-Up and Laser Weld Module for the fabricating of clothes washer and dryer drums and baskets, or other round sheet metal wrappers. Based upon a standard Coldwater-developed process, each system may be modified to suit customer requirements.
Coldwater has automated the process from coil stock to finished basket or drum with a flexible and modular approach that allows on-the-fly automatic changeover to different part diameters and heights for improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
The process begins with a servo-controlled de-coiler that feeds stainless steel through a straightener into a proprietary trimming press. Here the material is sheared to the specified sheet lengths and edges are prepared for the laser welding process.
The material is automatically fed into the roll up and laser weld module that rolls the sheet into a hoop-shaped wrapper, which will become the basket or drum and the joint is then seam-welded with a laser in a single operation. This eliminates double handling of the part as in traditional processes and leads to improved quality and throughput. Laser welded parts are now ready for secondary operations such as spin forming and closure assembly.
High Quality Welds
Coldwater’s laser welding solutions can handle either CO2 or fiber delivered lasers. Quality is greatly improved with in-line 100% scanning and inspection of the weld joint. Coldwater’s systems apply continuous inward pressure to keep the gap tight as well as strong top and bottom clamping force throughout the weld process.
Modular and Flexible
The Roll-Up and Laser Weld system is modular in design so that it may be incorporated into existing manufacturing processes or coupled with other Coldwater Machine modules to provide a turnkey solution. In addition to stainless steel, the Roll-Up and Laser Weld module can handle a variety of materials including cold-rolled, pre-painted, stainless, galvanized, or other sheet metals and various material thicknesses. A large range of diameters and lengths can be handled automatically.
Coldwater Machine’s Roll-Up and Laser Weld system for dryer and washing machine drums and baskets is modular, provides excellent weld quality and helps to improve throughput
Our core business over the years has evolved from precision machining to providing dies, fixtures, and gages, and to providing turnkey automated systems for the Aerospace, Appliance and Automotive industries that include a wide range of flexible and agile metal forming and fabricating solutions.