ABICOR Innovation Award 2004 (3rd Place)
Dipl.-Ing. Michael Kreimeyer (BIAS GmbH)
Adaptive working head system.
The increasing importance of tailored blank structures and patchwork tailored blanks made of identical and non-identical materials makes the use of adaptive working heads which pick up on specific process problems and provide approaches at a solution extremely useful. Thus, for example, the stability of the processes used depends not only on the homogeneous energy supply to the joint area but also to a great extent on the exact feeding of the auxiliary materials and additives. In addition, the exact positioning of the laser beam, arc or plasma arc in relation to the joint edge is essential, particularly when carrying out joining work using soldering or welding processes.
The adaptive working head provides the user with a system for laboratory or system applications which makes it possible to guarantee the tactile tracing of the process along the welded or soldered joint (butt joint or overlap joint) in the area of the tailored / patchwork tailored blanking. The advantage is that the working head is decoupled from the robot path. This is made possible by a pneumatic-mechanical working technique which is linked to the adaptive working head of the complete system via a freely programmable control system. Decoupling the working head system from the robot or portal line system results in a large tolerance in terms of component preparation and clamping technology. As well as tactile seam tracking, the working head system also applies variable pressure on the joint, making constant geometry along the joint possible. This leads to equal seam positions and shapes. In addition, exact positioning of the auxiliary materials and additives during the process is guaranteed by specially designed wire and gas feeding units. The angle and the position of the feed units remain constant in relation to the process. Thanks to an integrated camera system equipped with a special optical UV-IR block filter, the process workflow as well as the wire location and position can be controlled online. Furthermore, it is possible to couple the integrated camera system with other process monitoring systems. The working head can also be equipped with different optics for welding and soldering. This makes it possible for the user to carry out simultaneous soldering and welding on one component geometry, for example.
The outstanding feature of the adaptive working head system is that it guarantees high process stability. This means that high-quality joint connections can be produced with minimum costs for clamping and fixtures. In addition, this system allows a greater tolerance in relation to changes in joint geometry, so that lower costs can be expected in component preparation as well. This significantly reduces programming and testing costs. Thanks to the modular design of the overall system, the adaptive system can also be transferred to laser beam processes and conventional processes such as MIG, TIG and plasma welding.