Bidirectional automated line helps increase automaker’s productivity
When Maserati began designing the first
SUV in the brand’s more than 100-year history, it faced the double challenge of entering a new vehicle category while ensuring
the premium quality and sleek contours the
Turin, Italy-based company is known for.
Not only did the automaker need to build a new manufacturing line for the
SUV-sized body frame, but it also had to deploy advanced joining and finishing
processes to support the Levante’s mix of lightweight materials.
The company looked for a supplier that could build an automated manufacturing process to assemble and finish the front and rear aluminum doors of the
SUV and provide a scalable system that would allow the automaker to add a
second model while leveraging the original investment.
The company chose Comau to design and develop a compact, scalable system
that would produce high-quality framing, with real-time Industry 4.0 monitoring
Working alongside the Maserati team, Comau o;ered product design support regarding the wide-scale production of the aluminum doors. The firm
determined that a batch production strategy for the front and rear aluminum
doors was more e;icient than random mix manufacturing—a move that helped
increase the e;iciency of the new assembly line while lowering operating costs.
By conducting extensive research and virtual engineering scenarios, such as
PAM-STAMP® simulation, the team determined the correct geometry of the panels without a trial-and-error process, saving time and costs and eliminating the
possibility of unforeseen springback e;ect, which can be a significant problem
when working with aluminum during the hemming and finishing steps.
The system is based on articulated robots and advanced so;ware applications that fully and precisely automate complex body shop operations—a must
given the inherent complexity of working with lightweight aluminum structures.
The complete system comprises five articulated robots that are used within
an automated assembly process that includes part handling, riveting, sealing,
marriage, roller hemming, and spot welding of the SUV’s front and rear aluminum doors. To provide dual system scalability in terms of jobs per hour (JPH)
A forestry products manufacturer needed to
be able to heat a rotating weldment with limited space between welds. Existing weld preheat inductors that roll on top of the weldment would not fit between the weldments,
forcing the manufacturer to rely on torches.
Because of the safety issues and inconsistency associated with combustion
heating, the company decided to search for a new process.
Ajax Tocco analyzed the process and built a customized, compact, noncontact
weld preheat inductor that provides pinpoint heating accuracy; rapid heat rates;
and repeatable, traceable results. The inductor is far smaller than existing weld
preheat inductors for moving and rotating parts, so it can be located anywhere
the weld torch can be positioned.
The compact remote transformer and low-profile heating inductor are used
for preheating before GMAW. These items are part of a field install kit that is
compatible with and uses the manufacturer’s existing induction heating cables and accessories.
The heating inductor floats above the weldment without making contact,
which immediately increased the versatility and utilization of the 35-k W induction heater. The 1-in.-thick weldment is preheated to 400 degrees F at 18
inches per minute.
1745 Overland Ave. NE
Warren, OH 44483
Compact weld preheat inductor
eliminates need for torches
MORE MACHINES IN STOCK THAN EVER
Metal Fab Machines Available for Immediate Delivery
www.JMTUSA.com | 888-392-0560 | Info@JMTUSA.com
Call us today to learn how a machine from JMT gives you a
competitive advantage and a greater return on your investment!
Need to take delivery of a new press
brake or roll by the end of the year?
We’ve heavily invested in increasing
our stock this year and we have metal
fabrication machines ready to ship to
you today from our US headquarters.
placedbyNov.30th ifyoumention thisad.
and the introduction of a second model, the line was designed to enable bi-directional flexibility. The robots work in a single direction for the entire assembly process. To introduce a second model and/or increase production of the
Levante, Maserati can add a second set of rotating tables placed on the right
side of the five robots. With this capability, the line can reach up to 9. 9 JPH and
handle two distinct vehicles.
The system is designed to ensure continuous production by decoupling the
manual and automated assembly steps. Because the production line incorporates an integrated bu;er area, downtime is nearly eliminated. If the workers
stop, the robots continue to assemble using prestocked inner panels. Similarly,
if the automated line needs to stop, workers continue to build the panels, which
then are stocked in preparation for the robots.
In the first section of the line, the die-cast aluminum sheets are received and
hand-assembled to build the inner door panels. These panels then are moved
to the decoupling bu;er, where they are fed manually into the automated assembly process using a flexible batch production strategy. The robots are fed
by the rotating table and work in a single direction to perform the programmed
activities, according to predetermined sequences, that are needed to complete
During the testing phase, Comau engineers assessed and verified best-pro-cess parameters, which then were implemented to produce a series of prototypes. This analysis allowed the team to ensure top performance by putting
into practice the agreed-upon parameters and comparing them to the trial
output. The co-engineering phase was pushed until the validation of the parameters, especially for sealing, hemming, and closures, could guarantee optimal process times and aesthetic perfection.
21000 Telegraph Road
Southfield, MI 48033