As a system integrator, AWL provides added value as a specialist in spot and arc welding and in laser welding. Nowadays, other automation techniques such as glued joints, vision systems, product handling, quality control and traceability are just as important. All disciplines are represented in our organization. At AWL, we focus on the automotive, metalworking and automation industries, where high levels of automation and a high degree of flexibility are essential. We guarantee our customers’ global productivity by means of smart and reliable solutions in the field of high-end automation, robotization and joining techniques.
Forged by collaboration: Qube (cobot welding cell)
In a market where there’s a great shortage of welding expertise and an increasing demand for flexible and safe welding machines, AWL and OMRON have joined forces to develop a solution that meets this need: Qube - the cobot welding cell. AWL has expertise in the field of process improvement and welding, while OMRON’s strength lies in automation solutions that empower people and machines. This collaboration has resulted in the development of this flexible new cell.
Qube will make it easier for companies to automatically weld small batches and to learn how to weld new products. Ultimately, it will help them to boost their productivity and their employees' efficiency whilst allowing the people and the machines to work together safely in the same environment.
Joined forces for Qube: OMRON and AWL
Until now, there have been two main methods of welding in manufacturing: robot welding cells and manual welding. A robot welding cell is ideal for the production of large batches, but lacks flexibility and requires strict safety conditions. This makes it an inefficient and costly solution. In contrast, hand welding is a good solution if small, changing batches need to be welded by certified personnel.
However, what if your production company, falls between these extremes? For example, if you produce a series of 100 to 1,000 pieces and these series are often different product types? AWL has developed a perfect solution in collaboration with Omron: Qube - the cobot (collaborative robot) welding cell. This is the golden link between small and large series production.
Qube | The cobot welding cell
The new cell resembles a robot welding cell: a robot with a welding torch enclosed by four walls; a turntable with two working sides; and a welding fumes extractor. However, there are two important differences: the integration of a manual turntable and the cobot that does the welding. With this new cell, you can weld different types of metal, such as steel and aluminium, with MIG/ MAG. Due to the size of the turntable, various parts of different sizes can be connected.
There are three key benefits to the cobot welding cell:
Due to the rapid (up to 45% faster than a traditional robot) and simple programming of the cobot, no specialist programmer is required. Instead, a certified manual welder can programme the cobot. A production employee can then safely continue production, and the welding expert can move on to the next product. With the increasing scarcity of qualified welding personnel, this is an important advantage, especially for smaller production companies. The cobot welding cell is ideal for welding different, rapidly changing products using the same cell.
Qube can be used flexibly. As it has a small footprint, it takes up little space on the work floor. It’s easy to transport due to its weight: the cell can be lifted by a forklift truck or an overhead crane for flexible use in the workplace.
The rotary table allows the welder to work simultaneously with the cobot, which can lead to cycle times that are up to 50% shorter. The cobot welds with a repeating accuracy of one tenth of a millimetre, ensuring consistent product quality - more consistent than welding by hand. The chance of rejected parts is therefore smaller.
Everything has a fixed place within the cell, so the cobot can be moved around freely during programming. The welding expert can learn and assess the new weld in the cell together with the cobot, without the welder being in danger. After programming, any other employee can continue the welding process and only needs to control the supply of products to be welded. Working with the cobot welding cell is safe due to the shielding and safety equipment. It has CE approval for every product that is taught.