Original Date: 04/07/1997
Revision Date: 04/14/2003
Information : Weld Cell
The fabrication of weapons systems components manufactured at Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) require several different processes. All parts are tack welded in dedicated fixtures, preheated in ovens, placed into finish weld fixtures, and then finish-welded by semiautomatic or manual means. Upon completion, they are sent to the inspection department for visual and magnetic particle inspection of all welds. The weldments are then sent back to the weld shop for repair of any discontinuities. All welding, moving, fixturing, defixturing, and repair are very labor intensive and time consuming.
RIA has developed a flexible welding system (FWS) which enhances the efficiency of these operations and in turn improves productivity. The FWS consists of a Laser Guided Vehicle (LGV), a flow-through automatic preheat oven, two 6-axis articulated robots, and four 12,000 pound capacity positioners. Once the tacked weldments are loaded into a fixture, the FWS takes over the entire process. The operator does not touch the parts until the LGV delivers the finished product to the inspection/repair station. At that time, the operator performs visual and magnetic particle inspection and repairs any discontinuities. The benefits obtained include consistent, spatter free welds; a 75% reduction in post weld clean up; corner wrapping of welds which reduces starts and stops by 75%; and simultaneous welding, material handling, and inspection operation on multiple parts in a designated 7,000 square foot area.
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