Robot Mounted Ultrasonics Boost Productivity and Flexibility for Linecross Group

1st Tier Automotive supplier The Linecross Group have invested in a new robot cell for their Cannock facility which will boost productivity, process repeatability and flexibility for the production of automotive components.

The Linecross Group, comprising of Linecross and Linecross Composites, operate from two state of the art manufacturing facilities in Rutland and Cannock, serving a number of market sectors including: automotive, commercial, leisure and mass transport.

A general uplift in business levels, together with an increase in component volumes were the main catalysts behind the decision by Linecross to invest in automation. The proven track record of the ultrasonic process, and an increase in the use of this technology for welding and joining applications were also influential in making the move to automate the welding operations.

The new automated ultrasonic welding production system recently installed uses a KUKA 6-axis robot, which operates between dual workstations with intelligent workpiece fixturing, allowing different component part types to be processed while simultaneously loading / unloading. Directly mounted to the robot wrist is the Telsonic converter and sonotrode arrangement, powered by a Telsonic 35kHz MAG3512E generator system.

The robot-mounted system incorporates ambient and chilled air-cooling to allow repetitive welding on polymer materials which often require a high ultrasonic amplitude during processing.

One of the benefits of automating this process will be repetitive positioning and orientation of the sonotrode for every weld on each component. This, together with the consistency of the ultrasonic process, and the fact that the robot will never miss a weld, guarantees quality and consistency on all parts.  The existing suite of sonotrodes used on the original hand held systems are fully interchangeable with the robot system. Linecross will use this new system to produce a variety of automotive components such as consoles, seat frames and under-trays, mainly in glass filled nylon.

The project was led by Leicestershire-based DB-Automation, a specialist in designing and building bespoke high speed injection moulding automation. They worked alongside Telsonic to provide the turnkey system, with the integration of the Telsonic welding equipment and the KUKA robot.

Telsonic has a detailed understanding of Linecross’ products, materials and welding parameters, as a result of a long-standing working relationship with the Group spanning a number of years and several different projects. This knowledge was a valuable asset for DB-Automation when designing, building and installing the system.

Telsonic UK offer a comprehensive range of ultrasonic modules and systems for a variety of plastic and metal welding, cutting, sealing, cut’n’seal, food cutting and cleaning applications within a wide range of industries.

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