Digital Spot Welding and Car Safety

By Therese
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Safety first. You hear it quite often because it’s on people’s minds. It’s also important for car manufacturers, and many brag about their vehicles’ safety in television ads. So like many others, when I went shopping for a car recently, safety was at the top of my list. But how do I judge how safe a car is?

I asked my local mechanically-inclined friends. Several criteria actually make a car safe, but I found out that the metal structure of a car is hugely important.

Take spot welds, for example. Sheet metal parts are often bonded together by applying pressure and high electrical currents at specific points called spot welds. This makes the joined parts stronger, safer, and more uniform in appearance.

Spot welds not only make a vehicle safer, but can also help in reducing rattles and road noises. I learned that spot welds are used throughout a vehicle – up to 5,000 spot welds in one car! Who knew?

That sounded pretty safe to me and looking for a vehicle with this amount of spot welding definitely impressed me. Since they are done early in the vehicle production, I had to trust that they were there. I found out that a good spot weld can’t easily been seen in the finished vehicle.

Feeling pretty confident in my new knowledge of spot welds and car safety, I pressed on with my purchasing research.

Okay, so 5,000 spot welds are good, but does it matter how the welds get there? Apparently it does.

Industrial robots are typically used to spot weld sheet metal parts together. The “old way” of programming spot welding robots is by hand on the factory floor, which interrupts automobile production.

The “new way” is to ensure the welding is accurate by programming the robots offline on a personal computer, all without stopping the production line. This reduces manufacturing costs, which keeps car prices down.

All of that means to me: a safer car without the high price. This was definitely worth the research.

Feel like taking a glance at how it works? Watch the video!  It shows our digital spot welding in action.

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Well, if you want to know the truth, safety was number two on my list of “must haves” in a car… The color red was first.

What’s at the top of your list?

Best,

Therese

From a Kid’s Bike to Arc Welding

By Therese
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Like many 8-year-old boys, my son spends a lot of his outdoor time riding his bike. He also likes to build things, tear them down, and repaint them. So it really comes as no surprise that his latest hobby is taking old bikes and refurbishing them.

Recently he put his new Schwinn bicycle in the garage and replaced it for what I saw as a rusty three-wheeled green machine bike, fairly new, but severely neglected.  He saw a fast, low-rider that could one day be the coolest bike in the neighborhood. Hmmm . . .was I not looking close enough at his vision? 

My husband took a closer look and pointed out some positives about the hunk of metal before us. Being an expert in the field, so to speak, my husband restores hot-rods and knows the good and bad about machinery. He saw how solid the bike was, with its steel construction and strong perfect welds that join it together.

Grabbing the moment to teach our son new skills, we started talking about bikes and how welds are important to a bike or any steel construction. We talked about how robots are used to make bikes and other complex machines, like heavy machinery, automobiles, and ships.  

My husband explained about welding and how it takes a lot of practice to master it. He started to explain to our son that many metal objects in our lives are welded and that robots are very good for welding. Arc welding things like this by hand could be a very slow and tedious process.

My son didn’t fully understand how a robot could do this (his robot only walks), so we dove into details about what a robot is and how it is programmed to weld. Eureka! He got it.

Speaking the language of computers comes so naturally to kids. Just as quickly as he asked the question, my son turned around to continue working on his bike. He is only 8, after all.

I looked again at the bike and thought about its welds and all the benefits of programming robot arc welds offline, so the real welding robots can keep on with production. I told my husband that robot arc welding can be easily simulated with Dassault Systèmes DELMIA Robotics, validating and optimizing robot programs.

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It can be used to position all workcell components (robot, workpiece, etc.) to ensure that the robot can efficiently and optimally reach all the necessary welds. Strong welds. The kind of welds I want holding my son’s bike together when he zips down the street at “record speeds.”

Learn more about arc welding with The Robot Whisperers.  Or if you’d like information about DELMIA’s solution, please click here.

Best,

Therese

A chat with The Robot Whisperers: IMTS + Arc Welding

By Marc
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It takes more than just a pretty face!

As handsome as they are, I don’t think we will see Mike and Tony in next season’s lineup of reality shows (although Mike is already contacting his agent to give it a shot). However I do believe we are seeing something special about these two ordinary guys who call themselves The Robot Whisperers.

I caught up with The Robot Whisperers during the recent IMTS tradeshow in Chicago, Illinois. IMTS is the largest bi-annual manufacturing technology show in the Western Hemisphere, where more than 80,000 attendees from over 100 countries came to see and buy equipment and tooling.  Those lucky folks also had the opportunity to meet these two good looking guys who also happen to have a passion and knack for Robotics.

Here’s a recap of my chat with Mike and Tony:

Q:  What about all the attention you’re getting and why  the online series?

Tony: I think it is instrumental for our audience to connect with real people and build a relationship. The whole premise of the “The Robot Whisperers” is that we’re just two ordinary guys with an extraordinary passion for robotics who want to share our knowledge (and a few secrets) in using highly advanced 3D robotic simulation and programming tools. The technology is here now, and we want to help people understand it and learn how to use it in their production environments. Manufacturers and suppliers know that to survive and succeed, they must keep up with technology to find ways to cut costs, get more work and most importantly– stay ahead of their competitors. – Plus, the fans are great. Do you want an autographed 8×10 photo?

Mike: I’m in it fame and fortune of course! No, seriously (as he laughs) – But I am out of photographs, sorry! — I would just add to Tony’s comments that this e-series is also about learning how to improve your relationship with your robots. I don’t mean to run out and buy them flowers and candy. Your spouse or your mom might like that. But like any type of automated equipment, robots can only perform as well as they are programmed to do their tasks. You can’t reason with them or persuade them to do their job. If it is not done correctly, it could be disastrous to your production environment. Using a more advanced 3D robotic simulation and programming technology, such as the DELMIA solutions showcased in our series, OEMs, tooling suppliers or any sized company can avoid costly and dangerous mistakes. Plus, companies will realize that they can engineer more quickly and launch their products and production systems faster.

Just then a reporter from MCAD Café whisked them away for an onsite camera interview. I got the footage.  Here is what the Robot Whisperers had to say…

The Robot Whisperers video interview on MCAD Cafè

Unfortunately not all 82,411 attendees could meet our Whisperers, but those who did had the chance to ask questions, get ideas and find answers to their most urgent manufacturing problems. So if you did miss them, be on the lookout: they might just show up at some event, in some city – somewhere! But until then, you can always find them online at www.3ds.com/therobotwhisperers

You also may be interested in their latest online series video trailer below:

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or…

Episode 2, “Robotology for Arc Welding

Happy (robot) programming!

Marc

Marc Rakowski works for Dassault Systèmes Americas.



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