What was the challenge?
Remote Laser Welding (RLW) offers the potential for greatly increased manufacturing productivity, by incorporating automation, enhanced precision, reduced weight and increased processing speed. However the main barrier for adoption of RLW has traditionally been a lack of methodologies for precise and effective planning & simulation of its application, leading to time-consuming (and expensive) trial-and-error procedures.
What was the solution?
During a 3.5 year collaborative programme, led by WMG’s Prof Darek Ceglarek and incorporating 12 industrial partners, a new solution was developed to include a range of new capabilities, such as:
- Jig and fixture design and optimisation
- Selection and optimisation of welding joining process parameters
- Off-Line Programming (OLP) of remote welding robots
- In-process joint quality monitoring
The results from the RLW Navigator programme led to the first ever fully digitally developed Remote Laser Welding process.
What was the impact?
The project has enabled the adoption of RLW (over the incumbent Resistance Spot Welding) leading to vastly improved productivity (up to 5x faster and with 60% less floor space), reduced costs, enhanced flexibility and reduced weight through RLW optimised design.
“… a significant game change”
Paul Meeson, Director of Mfg Eng, STADCO
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