Sunday, February 9, 2020

Work, Work, Work...

The boss asked me if I could automate a semi-manual spot welding operation.
We needed to take a small square of sheet metal and accurately weld it to a larger rectangle.

Order of Operation:

  1. Use some of the vacuum cups to destack the small square.Use the rest to destack the larger rectangle.
  2. Pick both up and transfer them to the "qualification" table where the large piece is dropped and shoved into position against hard stops.
  3. Drop the small blank on the large and shove it into position on top.
  4. Pick both up again, now accurately positioned on the robot tooling, and close a small clamp to prevent drifting.
  5. Swing over to the spot welder I bought on Ebay for $1600 (!) and make 5 spot welds.
  6. Swing over to the dimpler and place 4 dimples in the larger piece. Every other piece is dimpled to cause the entire stack to be level when done, since the small and large blank together are thicker than just the large blank. 
  7. Stack the finished product on a customer pallet.
The operator interface is being done through the robot's "teach pendant" because it was cheap to do it that way. This saved the cost of an external interface, although I might add one later for "sexiness".
The robot was from another line and was due to be scrapped because of no resale value.
I did the design and programming and a lot of the wiring.
I got a lot of help from some some really good guys in the maintenance department who did the fabrications I designed. They also had some good ideas to incorporate.

We took some pride in our effort.


  1. Good stuff.

    That was some very calm resistance spot welding. Ours tended to be "juicier", that is, with more expulsion.

    1. I had fun scheduling that.
      I actually introduced slope and pulsation welding to the first automated weld shop in GM at Willow Run in the 80's.
      Little bit of a fight doing that.
      When we got the body shop sparkless, they asked us to make the sparks fly for a tv ad :)

  2. No muss, no fuss, just a completed project. Nicely done.

  3. Nicely done! And I'm guessing a little more work than you indicated, plus the levels of cooperation that took! :-)

  4. I admire your skill. I couldn't even begin to approach that.

    1. We each have our wheelhouse.
      I am not equipped to do what you do.

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