Master-Feeder-System MFS-V3 for Laser Wire Feeding
Precise Laser Wire Feeding
In close collaboration with leading vehicle manufacturers, the developers and product managers of ABICOR BINZEL ROBOTIC SYSTEMS analyzed the special requirements for laser brazing and welding applications in auto body construction to create a wire feeder system coordinated to the high demands of automobile production.
The result is the MFS-V3 wire feeder system (third generation master feeder system) with a reimagined eBOX. With its modern and precisely matched components, the eBOX is made special for laser brazing demands of vehicle makers around the world.
A wide-range input or the multivoltage connection for supply voltage or a modular mainboard allows the Master-Feed-System to operate different types of motors for varying sizes and outputs, including servomotors.
In addition, the AIDA eBOXes - an specific automation initiative of global car manufacturers - have safety relays to make it possible to feed wire for service work after a voltage drop by actuating the central key switch.
Another advantage of the new development is a more precise digital wire feeding through a fast 32-bit controller, which minimizes in-process response times.
Optimized maintenance and service interfaces (SD card) mean a user-friendly operation in a complete wire feed package.
Adaptable and user-friendly operating / service software
The operating/service software of the new eBox was redeveloped to include the very extensive process monitoring and multiple parameters that can vary and be dependent of the application, including simplified visualization, process documentation, and a fault memory with plain text display.
Two operation modes can differentiate monitoring with control or observation. For example. in the direct operation mode, all parameters are set by the higher-level controller, and in job operation mode the parameters can be set in the operating /service software and stored in the eBOX. In this case, the individual jobs are only selected by the higher-level controller. This saves valuable bus transmission time and increases the cycle frequency of the overall system. In addition, there are numerous additional settings and options that can be adjusted individually to the application, such as hot wire function, wire end sensor, or wire retraction.
The user-friendly interface of the service software can be operated through the system PC and via the control panel (MF Control) from ABICOR BINZEL ROBOTIC SYSTEMS. Key settings are easy to access and intuitvely controlled.
After pre-set, maintenance intervals are output either directly in the operating / service software or per bus message to avoid downtimes and ensure reliable production. An integrated wire buffer function makes the process more secure with wire feeding to increase the quality of the laser seams, reduce the acceleration time, and prepare the system for the next application.
Wire is fed through the rear drive into the MasterLiner after each feed cycle. This can be set to a limited extent and be application-specific in the software from the intake current of the rear drive. The wire buffer function guarantees that there is sufficient wire in the MasterLiner and friction during wire feeding is minimal. The system performs from an independent activation (separate control loops) of the two drives. With medium and short feed distances, the wire feed process can be operated with just one drive (front drive). Operators benefit from cost reductions that result from saving the second drive.
Overview of the advantages of the MFS-V3:
Performance and functionality:
- Digital wire feeding system with fast and precise control for high-precision laser applications
- Two controlled drives for high-dynamic operations
- Wire buffer function for virtually frictionless wire feeding and low maintenance
- Adjustable tolerance range for the wire speed
- Usable with an in-process drive as a master pull system for short to medium distances
- Wide-range input for different supply voltages globally
- Analogue, digital or field bus activation possible
- Direct operation and job operation mode possible
- Safety circuit in the AIDA version
- Future-oriented, upgradeable structure (modular principle)
- Compatible with MFS-V2 – simple exchange and system upgrade
- Option: hot wire feeding available from ABICOR BINZEL
- Extensive service software with visualization and documentation
- Simple update via SD card slot
- User level release possible using key stick (USB)
- Freely configurable maintenance intervals
- Operating/service software via system PC and/or control panel (MF control)
- Fault memory with a plain text display
- Control panel (MF control) can be used for several systems
Optimizations to the proven MF-1 drive came from feedback from leading auto manufacturers with the aim of guaranteeing better wire feeding performance:
- Complete reworking of the pressure rocker for adjustment to increasing service requirements
- Optimization of the load transmission to the wire by adjusting the spring tension for different wire thicknesses
- Considerable simplification of the installation and dismantling of the wire feed rollers
- A new pressure system at the wire sensor prevents incorrect settings and ensures that the correct wire speed is shown
- Various ceramic wearing parts available for high requirements to extend the service life and reduce maintenance work
With the MFS-V3, ABICOR BINZEL ROBOTIC SYSTEMS has developed a future-oriented wire feeding system for laser applications that integrates into today's application-specific automobile production demands.
Control Sytem eBOX V3
In the third generation of the master feeder system, a comprehensive new development of the eBOX control unit has been used to meet the complex requirements of wire feeding in laser applications. The result is a completely reworked and optimised eBOX with modular and precisely coordinately components. As the nerve center of the system, it is ideally equipped for the ever-increasing requirement profile in laser applications – particularly in car manufacturing – all over the world.
The eBOX represents the communication interface between the higher-level plant control and the wire drives of the MFS-V3. It houses all the electronic control elements and is available as an analogue/digital version and digitally for various fieldbus systems/interfaces.
Fully digital control circuits as well as consistent separation of logic (Multibus I/O board) and drive technology (axis controller) ensure that individual system components are reproducible in the case of servicing and can be replaced without further adaptation. Time-consuming calibration of analogue tachometer systems or other components therefore belong to the past: fully digital control for a futureproof system.
MFS service software – for complete control
MFS service software is the comprehensive software package for management, diagnostics, operating status display, fault evaluation and quality recording.
For the third version of the MFS, the tried and tested service software has been completely reworked, improved and extended with many additional functions.
As usual, the software – which is now licence-free as standard – can be used with the existing system PC in conjunction with an eBOX. As an alternative for managing several eBOX devices, the innovative MF-Control operating panel with fine and precise touchscreen is now also available, making operator work easier.
The simple and intuitive software user interface allows straightforward use of all functions. For safety, users can be given different usage rights. This is done by assigning a user level. Users identify themselves and log in with a user login and password or alternatively with a key.
The option of job programming in offline mode offers a great advantage that operates independently of the robot, which prevents system standstill. This allows management of several eBOX devices at the same time with software and the MF-Control operating panel.
The main features at a glance:
- Setting and editing of up to 64 different jobs
- Comprehensible documentation of the processes
- Fault display in plain text
- Fault log with analysis and troubleshooting
- Creation and management of freely definable maintenance intervals possible
- Diagnostics: clear system status display, which shows directly whether the system is operational or whether there is a fault
- Several eBOX devices can be given station information by assigning the IP address
- Saved station information is shown in the log files
- Multilingual user interface: six different languages can be selected (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Polish)
- Setting the wire buffer function
- Three user levels:
• 0 (read authorisation)
• 1 (authorised to load the config. files)
• 2 (administrator rights)
Flex supply – wire feeding close to the action
The Flex supply provides superior feeding of the wire into the process and works as the interface between the wire feeding system and the workpiece. It is fixed to the laser optic and adjusts exactly to its movements.
The Flex supply acts as the securing nut fitted on the MF1 drive, and the feeding body with wire feeding nozzle. The connection between the two components is made by a flexible liner. Depending on the wire diameter and material, various liners and wire feeding nozzles can be utilized.
The feeding body is available both for cold and for hot wire feeding applications. The cold wire variant comes with or without gas feed. The hot wire version is available with gas feeding and cooling; the gas and the coolant are fed separately to the feeding body.
Flex Supply Advantages:
- Can be shortened individually due to the flexible liner between feeding body and securing nut
- Feeding body for cold & hot wire with or without process gas
- Can be adapted to all standard laser optics
- Quick, safe fitting and changing of the body with a specially adjustable clip system
- Excellent accessibility and optimal seam surfaces due to new design with coaxial gas feed
- With the new design, the gas nozzle is no longer required, which reduces the wear parts
Front drive MF1 – the driving force
The robust and powerful MF1 front drive brings the Master-Feeder-System to life. Developed specifically for laser applications, MF1 excels in performance with its small size, low weight, and variety of connection systems. It can be used individually or in conjunction with the rear drives (master pull or dual push-push system).
The centerpiece of the MF1 is the 4-roller drive in combination with the fast, digital motor control via the new eBOX. The 4-roller action guarantees minimum slippage and prevents wire deformation from pressure force. The short acceleration and response times, vital metrics for laser applications, are easily attainable.
The drive/specification speed is monitored and controlled by a built-in encoder. Actual wire speed is determined with the aid of the actual value transmitter for the wire and forwarded to the service software. The easy accessibility and the quality of the wearing parts allow quick and simply replacement of wearing parts and reduce downtimes.
MF1 Drive Performance Advantages:
- 4-roller drive
- Small size and light weight
- Monitoring of feeding speed by actual value transmitter (AVT) for the wire and service software
- Reworked pressure rocker for adaptation to increasing service requirements
Wire Feeding Hose MasterLiner – for Smooth Wire Flow
MasterLiner sets a new standard in wire feeding. They consist of individual segments, each of which can be rotated by 360°. Four small rollers in each segment ensure smooth wire feeding with virtually no resistance.
The MasterLiner system is available in the MasterLiner and the MasterLiner MAXI designs, in HD and FLEX versions. The flexible FLEX version – consisting of a corrugated tube and variable connection system – allows for easy, free assembly of the desired length as well as problem-free repair directly on site, saving time and money.
The heavy duty HD variant is sheathed in a resistant aramid fibre reinforced protective fabric and has been developed for extreme applications.
With the use of the roller-guided MasterLiner changing electrodes is no longer needed, meaning time-consuming maintenance work on the cable assembly no longer applies.
MasterLiner Performance Advantages:
- Low friction force
- Long durability
- Cleanable by ultrasonic bath
- Maintenance-free and low susceptibility to faults
- Wire feeding possible over long distances and with a single drive
- Suitable for all wire types
- Easy, quick setup and replacement due to quick-release
Rear drives – additional power if required
For certain applications, it is recommended to operate the MFS-V3 system with a second drive as a dual push-push system to guarantee reliable processing of the wire feeding.
One criterion in the decision is the length and condition of the wire feeding route. For long distances or complex routes affecting the liner management, a rear drive is needd to guarantee an even feed. Metrial properties are also significant. Soft wires such as aluminium require two drives to prevent any tensile forces acting upon the wire so the wire is pushed evenly and not pulled undesirably over the length.
With the additional drive, the forces acting on the individual components in the system are minimized and the wear reduced. The two drives are each addressed separately by the eBOX via their own control circuit to keep response times as low as possible. Synchronization between the drives is not necessary.
The wire buffer function of the system is new and controlled by the intake current of the rear drive. This ensures that the MasterLiner is refilled with enough wire after each cycle. This function guarantees better wire feeding performance, particularly at the start.
Structurally identical to the MF1 front drive, the MF1-Rear includes the positive characteristics of it's big brother.
The two are distinguished only by the actual value transmitter for the wire (AVT), which is not required in the MF1-Rear.
The identical wear parts system makes it the perfect addition to the main drive and lowers part costs.
The M-DRIVE has a large and powerful motor and – like the MF1 master drive and MF1-Rear – is based on the 4-roller principle to help guarantee superior performance.
As a rear drive, its special coil carriers make it particularly suitable for wire feeding from the coil.
Operating Panel MF-Control – Intuitive View
The MF-Control operating panel is an optional component of the Master-Feeder-System and represents the mobile alternative to the system PC by which the MFS service software is controlled.
Whereas the system PC remains permanently installed and connected to a single eBOX in the system, the small and light operating panel is mobile and can be used flexibly for multiple eBOX devices by plug & play via a CAN bus interface.
Using a Windows panel PC, the MFS-V3 Operating Panel has a precise touchscreen, allowing the full extent of the MFS service software to be used. In addition to the process monitoring and fault analysis functions, other Operating Panel features are integrated to make the work of the user much easier and more dynamic.
All the eBOX devices used are operable with the MFS Operating Panel. Changing process parameters in job mode or to create new jobs in offline mode then to load them to the respective eBOX when a connection exists is also possible.
The MF-Control Operating Panel is a helpful component of any servicing and maintenance department.
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