The Right Positioner for your Application
Understanding the available positioner features and options can help facilitate the decision-making process to further improve quality, decrease cycle times, and provide excellence on the welding line. Here we discuss important positioner information to help bring a better understanding of all the options and features available to manufacturers.
What is a welding positioner?
A positioner allows for 360 degrees of rotation and access to a part through the rotation and rotators. The use of a positioner can accelerate production and improve weld quality.
When designing a robotic workcell, it is important to understand the way you manuever the workpiece into position for the robot to work on. Choosing the right type of positioner will depend on the type of product, the application and how the part needs to be moved to optimize production.
Positioner capacity can vary in style, size, and capacity and each is uniquely designed for specific application requirements, as seen below.
A robotic workcell stationary table positioner is pretty basic. This is a fixed table where a work piece can be placed. Once the work piece is placed on the table, the workcell robot manipulates the piece, and then the piece is moved to the next area.
Single Axis Positioner
The single axis positioner is the most affordable and basic type available. It can be mounted as a headstock on a floor or table top to help accommodate simple and small part welding. A headstock and a tailstock can be combined to support long part spans and the load or two headstocks can be used in conjunction with a single tailstock.
Innovative Fixture Mounting Technology
MotoMount has compliant bearings on the head and tailstock which helps to reduce the stress on the positioner and subsequent tooling by allowing up to two degrees misalignment in any plane. This technology also improves the repeatability of the fixture by up to 75 percent.
Ferris Wheel Positioner
This is a two-station design that offers the best floor space efficiency. It is ideal for medium-to large-sized parts that are 3 to 5 m long and they are generally rated by capacity. The automotive industry uses these positioners a lot due to the size capacities, small footprint, and excellent cycle time.
Ferris Wheel Positioners was named so as it will turn in an over-under fashion. There are two trunnion axes on each side of a major “sweep” axis that are servo-driven. This helps to reduce cycle time by allowing parts to turn into position while the trunnion stations rotate over or under the sweep axis. The two stations allow the operator to be unloading and loading one side while the part on the other side is being welded. A central arc screen divides the two sides keeping the operator safe from spatter and arc flash exposure.
Turntable positioners rotate in a “lazy Susan” motion to move parts from the operator’s loading/unloading station to the inside of a workcell. They use a base with axis mounted to the floor and a table top where stationary tooling can be added. An arc screen is used to divide the two workstations. Small to medium sized parts are ideal for this positioner.
H-Frames include an additional headstock and tailstock on each side in lieu of a table. Another axis can be added where the head and tailstock attach to the floor-mounted base allowing for a part to be turned end-over-end as well as spun with the headstock while being welded. This can weld medium parts with complex, multi-sided weldments.
Other servo axes, headstocks, and bases can be combined to make a variety of specialty positioners such as “tilt-rotate” or “skyhook” positioners. This increases the flexibility to accommodate parts and tooling of different sizes and complexities. These positioners can be mounted to walls, tracks, or other surfaces for increased access or agility. A six-axis robot can also be used as a “jig-less” solution. Parts that are large, boxy, or tubular are well-suited for these types of positioners.
A robotic cell can also use another workcell as a positioner if it lends to a leaner, more efficient application. Robots can load and unload parts or position parts for robots to manipulate or weld.
Standard coordinated motion provides fast and consistent travel speeds while ensuring reliable motion between positioner axes and the welding robot.
Integrated tooling power, air, and communications helps to easily troubleshoot and prevent cable damage.
Be sure that the positioners in place are designed specifically for welding and satisfy current specs.
Optional Functional Safety Unit helps to ensure worker safety.
RobotWorx integrates robotic workcells from Motoman, FANUC, ABB, KUKA, Universal Robots, and our very own RobotWorx brand. These workcells can be customized to your application needs with the right type of positioners, end effectors, size and safety features.
For more information about automating with a customized robotic work cell from RobotWorx, contact us today at 740-251-4312.