Assembly in Action: Robot Cuts Welding Times in Half
June 23, 2008
The Kverneland Group (Kverne-land, Norway) makes a wide range of farm equipment, including ploughs, cultivators, harrows, seeders, fertilizers and rotary tillers.
At its factory in Kerteminde, Denmark, the company manufactures its Taarup line of “conditioner” disc mowers, which allow farmers to dry their hay faster, increasing the efficiency with which they can create feed for their animals.
“The Taarup range offers machines that cover the entire grass-processing operation, from mowing, harvesting, baling and packing to mixing and feeding,” says Kverneland’s Ulrik Bastholm. “It varies from small machines to rakes, forage harvesters, round bale wrappers, bale choppers and feeding equipment.”
Recently the company installed a robotic welding system to automate the way it installs the dozens of tines that make up its harvesters’ conditioner rotors, some of which are 12 feet long. In the process, it was able to consolidate four workstations into one. Central to the new systems is an IRB 2400 robot from ABB Inc. (Auburn Hills, MI)
According to Bastholm, the robot can complete the welding for a single rotor in about 45 minutes, half the time of the previous system. In addition, just one operator is needed, compared with the three operators that were required in the past.
“It is...better for the operator, who does not need to take the bars and put on 144 tines, while welding them manually,” Bastholm says. “The ABB robot takes care of all that automatically.”
Bastholm notes that by entering in parameters like rotor diameter, and the number and angle of the tines, engineers can create their welding patterns well in advance, further boosting efficiency. In addition, he says the system has improved product quality and reduced work stoppages, with the robot continuing to work during regularly scheduled employee break periods.
For more on robotic assembly, call 248-391-8530 visit www.abb.com/us.