Mesh Automation

Robotic Buffing of Welds with MAC Cell

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Robotic Buffing of Welds with MAC Cell Case Study
Project Details

Post-processing of welds (removal of slag, arc gas contaminates and splatter) is often done today with manual labor using wire wheels or buffing pads. These labor-intensive activities are fraught with challenging safety, environmental, and ergonomic problems.

Technology developed by MESH for post weld buffing of welds and other surfaces can help solve these problems.

In this case study, the customer required a system that could relieve their operators from the manual tasks of post weld buffing of their weldments.   These large weldments are produced in high quantity and a number of configurations

MESH used their Generation II MAC cell as the base technology and provided a customized operator interface, buffing spindle and automated fixture to satisfy the customer’s cycle rate (<80 seconds) and quality parameters.

Fixture Design

Fixture design was an important part of the system due to the large number of parts that the customer was processing per day, the number of configurations and the short part runs.

The fixture designed and built by MESH included a common or zero feature with automated secondary features that could be actuated by the PLC depending on what part was going to be produced.   A vision camera was mounted above the fixture to provide verification to the machine that the right part was loaded to match the part selected in the HMI.

There were two fixtures mounted on a 360-degree servo positioner (controlled by the robot) with one side being exposed to the robot and the other side being in a safe zone (hard guarded from the robot and with light curtains) and available for the operator to load raw parts.

Part gripping was completed via toggle clamps located at each hole in the part.

Buffing and Tool Change Out
  • The spindle used in this machine was a 5KW servo with a BT40 tool changer. Six BT40 tools were provided with a tooling drawer for replacement of used wire wheels with fresh wire wheels.
  • ressure on the wire wheel is programmable and provided by an active compliance unit that monitors load via 10 load cells plus several accelerometers in real time using a controller that talks with the machines PLC to change pressure per the setting and load cell feedback.