There at the booth, Christina Van De Walker and Udo Skarke, Plastics Division vice president, showed me an automated setup for welding toy elephants …
… and showcasing how their welders can network with other plant equipment.
In short, one of Herrmann Ultrasonics’ standard modular ultrasonic welders, a HiQ DIALOG, was networked to a small Universal Robots’ touch-sensitive robot. The robot takes three parts of a plastic elephant toy—tusks and two body halves—and puts them together on a sonotrode tray. Then a camera checks to see that all the parts are present and stacked properly. Next, the welder arm comes down to apply vibrations and ultrasonically weld the elephant halves together. Finally, a marking station tags the toy with the date, time, and application number.
Here’s a video of the automated setup in action … turn up your speakers:
In the real world, semi-automated multi-head welding machines often integrate several processes to get high functional density in confined spaces. So, machine builders add parts assembly, component detection, sensing, and even test processes to the actual joining process. The only catch is that the ultrasonic welding machine must connect the auxiliary functions and create interfaces.
The good news is that it’s easier than ever integrate extra processes and auxiliary functions to ultrasonic multi-head machines as well as manual work stations and ultrasonic welding systems. Functional integration simplifies production monitoring and quality assurance processes.
According to information Van De Walker sent to me, the concept of functional integration originates from design theory “pursuing the goal of covering as many technical functions as possible with as few components as possible. There is no need to interrupt the process chain; this contributes to reducing unit costs and increasing production safety.”