Advanced Welding Solutions, webinar by KUKA Nordic
Today's topic is KUKA advanced welding solution and with that we actually are talking about mainly two types of solid state welding but of course most of you relate to KUKA as a robot supplier and we have been starting to use a slogan if you like which we call more than robots and with that we mean that of course we have probably the market's widest range of robot types but our robot program is so much more than just robots it's all the softwares and the functionalities around them but less known is that KUKA is also a world leading supplier and has been this for decades of solid state welding solution and two of the main types of solid-state welding we supply is for the first it's friction stir welding where we can supply standard cells or complete turnkey projects for friction stir welding and the other main type we supply is actually rotary friction welding machines complete machines so here KUKA is actually a machine builder and not a robot supplier in this aspect. A and some of you may know the brand KUKA for rotary friction welding machines but also Thompson which is a part of KUKA as well Because we already today have a large installed base worldwide of these types of machines So what are these technologies well Let's dive into them a little bit deeper there are some common factors between the both these two types of friction stir welding and rotary friction welding machines Why do we use friction welding at all? One very large and important part is that with friction wells there are no consumables required we are only joining two materials without adding any exterior material any way No filler no inert gas nothing we're just using the materials we want to bond Speaking of bonds with friction welding we get a complete homogeneous bond across the entire joint surface Not only where we normally otherwise would have added a filler, we get a complete and homogeneous bond And friction welding has another nice effect and that is that it allows us to join dissimilar metals I've written, but different metals of different types can be bonded together There is one other very important aspect of this is that actually when we do friction welding we are not melting the materials, we are welding together we are of course heating them But we are not melting them and that means that we don't really get the same type of problems you can get with warmer welding processes such as cracks and pores and other problems And as I already mentioned the process itself requires no filler material no flexing no shielding gases. So it's very effective and no as I already mentioned again no pores no cracks. The technology itself is very controllable inline controllable it's 100 procent repeatable we can ensure that each welding is done in the exact same way. We can have an online inline quality control as the weld happens and that gives us also a full traceability down to single part traceability in terms of quality control of the weldings that are done And of course, friction welding is actually defined as a sustainable technology as it requires no consumables as I mentioned. And less energy than other welding technologies so because of it as it has been defined as a sustainable technology. Which is of course important to us all
Where is typically friction stir welding used if we start off with friction stir welding And when we at KUKA talk about friction stir welding we do it with a robotic arm We will get back to that later but we do it with a robotic arm, to get the advantages you get when you use a robot at all in any other process But friction stir welding is mostly about joining metal sheets together and in our case it's mainly aluminium and non-ferocious metals that we join together. So the typical area of use is very much into the electric vehicle application fields. The e-mobility areas. So housing of battery packs or vehicles of any kind is a very large part of the area of application. It can also be in body shops for example we're joining metal sheets to the frame typically aluminium to steel ages and so on because again, we have the possibility to join different types of materials Heat exchanger or fuel cells are another area of application where we need very precise very thin canals between two sheets of metal And of course again the e-mobility field which requires a lot of enclosures for the various electronic parts needed in our hybrid or electrical cars. Not only the battery needs to be capsuled.
But also other electric components like the drives units the electronic boxes. And to the right you see how simple a friction stir welding cell actually could look If you look a little bit at the principle of friction stir welding, Well basically we are plunging what we call a probe down into the material the probe that is rotating That means that once we plunge the probe down into the material And the probe itself is defined of two parts basically a shoulder which is what we see and what is smaller and the part which sticks out you can see it here it's called the pin And there are two different techniques here either the complete shoulder and the pin can rotate Or just the pin, which gives us a little bit different quality aspects But basically we start plunging the pin into the material We start rotating the pin to build up the frictional heat required, so we stand still until that heat is the required temperature is reached And once that is done we start moving our our probe in the required pattern we need to do the weld Once that is done of course we then retract at the end of our welding we retract our probe And typically a world will look something like this in the material And of course there is a number of process parameters and settings such as axel force, tilt angle of the probe, traveling speed, offset depth of the probe, side tilting and so on. And KUKA cann not only supply the equipment for this, but we also can supply the know-how the expertise needed here Likewise it's important when we friction weld that the material is clapped together that we have a fixturing that is really good to the materials This is where our expertise comes into play And we do have extensive experience in friction stir welding with either as I mentioned before classic tooling with both a rotating shoulder or just a rotating pin. And we
have welded all types of aluminium in alloys in different types of seams. As you see in the bottom picture here. So it could be but switch where the we were placing two edges towards one another an overlapping weld which is in the middle picture here to weld two materials together Or a combination of the two as we see here But an overlap joints all these types of joints are possible to address with friction stir welding Let me just show you a video of this which describes it actually and this is an example of a battery housing clamped and friction stir welded. I'll start the video I hope you saw the video For the observant viewer you could see a few things there, we're not just welding together two metal sheets. The application in this case was actually sealing and creating cooling channels in the battery housing in this case Thanks to our knowledge in friction stir welding this has made us a really experienced supplier in the electric mobility area for assembly and manufacturing of battery packs for automotive Because it's not just a question of putting batteries together in the box, but to make sure that the lifespan of these battery packs are as much long as possible that means that they need to be cooled or heated depending on outside temperatures And this is done through the housing and to a large extent but I mentioned earlier that when it comes to friction stir welding we use a six arm robots which makes us pretty unique in the market if doing friction stir willing in this way. The question is of course why do we use that and not a portal robot or a CNC machine
Well the answer is quite simple we do it for the same reason why we use robots in any other type of production. Robot always gives us a very high degree of flexibility and the ability to have short production cycle with a high volume of differentiated products. Of course it also gives us the possibility to do a two two-dimensional friction weld which we saw in the video earlier, but of course since it's a six axis robot we can do it in a 3D environment as well we are not restricted to the 2D plane And of course it's a relatively simple solution which makes it flexible and scalable it's easy to scale up, and of course a robot is comparative to a CNC RIG or a portal robot a relatively low cost investments. And obviously we are a robot suppliers again Where we have a large installed base we have a global service team of this access So what can we supply then? Well we have standardized cells for friction stir weldings which we call cell for friction stir welding FSW in different sizes they are modular We can also sell friction stir welding as an application module which is basically a robot with its control cabinet a friction stir welding spindle and then we would also supply expertise and know-how into the process. So we can do it as standard cells we can supply the components or, if you like we can also supply them as turnkey projects and here are two interesting applications which has been done by KUKA In one case with KUKA on its own and other cases together with our partners in the market. Our system partners. So you see we can supply a wide range of applications not only a standard cell
And most importantly we will supply the knowledge required to ensure the quality of the process If we now leave the topic of friction stir welding and look to the rotary friction welding Which is based on the same principle but the application fields are a little bit different. In friction welding there are typically two parts that are moved towards one another under pressure and then rotated so we get the friction and build up the heat This is easiest described again with the video so I'll start a new video for you This video pretty much describes how the process looks like In the GoTo webinar panel there is a field called handouts if you have a look and under this I've uploaded a couple of pdfs which describes these two processes And our standard friction welding machines so if you're interested please you can download them from there or you will of course find them on our web page as well But friction welding rotor which you saw here has is actually not a really new technology has been around for 50 years plus And we have more than 1500 installations of these machines worldwide Again the interesting part here well one of the interesting parts is that different types of material can actually be welded together. In this example you see here it's everything from stainless steel to aluminium to copper and even titanium at the end. So that here we have the possibility to join completely different materials which could be important from a cost saving perspective for example Little bit extra knowledge it's even possible actually to friction weld wood together of course not to steel but different types of wood can actually be friction welded together Here is an example and a few examples of application fields where different types of materials have been welded together so in this case you see a connection plate a cable lug. Where you have a copper and aluminum combination it's a aluminium cable or leader with a connective plate in copper. This is the turbo rotor shaft where inconel and steel has been bonded together to make the complete shaft and fans in inconel had been extremely more expensive than doing these combination of materials Drive soft shafts with a combination of aluminium and steel, and as you know this is also important parts in the e-mobility to make lightweight and flexible drive units And actually as I mentioned before in this field KUKA acts as a machine builder we have a wide program of friction welding machines and they are sold under our own KUKA brand and also under the brand Thompson which is a part of KUKA And we have them and for obviously different welding diameters which also not only increases the size of the machine but it increases the cross-section and the pressure that's needed during the welding process. And we have also a complete new generation of
these machines from the smaller ones to the larger ones and both in horizontal orientation and in the vertical area orientation. And these machines are not sold only as machines if you like it's quite possible that you need an automated material handling around the machine Which could be either supplied by us or one of our local system partners This is a close-up of one of the KUKA rotary welding machines Which is really ergonomic ease of use machine if you have a process surveillance, a graphical process monitoring that means that the quality of the weld is actually monitored in real time. And you can ensure that each piece is welded correctly It is prepared to exist in an Industry 4.0 environment. What that means is anyone's guess or anyone's interpretation. But what it actually means is that it is connectable we can supply and receive information from other machines higher level machines put out production statistics and so on directly from the machine And of course as I mentioned in the beginning we are the world leader in these welding technologies and these are the common states, but we do not only supply the components and the parts. We supply the systems which ensure that these welds whether it's friction weld or friction stir weld that each single weld is up to the quality spec We do that in real time and inline so if there is a problem we can immediately discard that units And of course during today's webinar I've mainly talked about the machines and the solutions But of course we are there to assist you and you will not just run away to buy a machine immediately In each case we are there for the process consulting to make a proof of concept To recommend what type of technology we should use for you.
We can do test runs in our own facilities before we you start your productions, we supply the machine we can supply the automation around either directly from us or through our partners And afterwards we have a worldwide service organization taking care of you as our customers And with that we have basically come to the end of today's webinars on the topic of friction stir welding and rotary friction welding we actually have some, a few more technologies for these solid state welding solutions but I will leave that to another webinar opportunity. That means that we are more or less to an end of today's webinar which was meant to increase the awareness and hopefully wake some interest in our solutions with you