The process team supports the sales and tender engineering department at the tendering stage by carrying out weld tests. Thereafter, the process team advises about the welding equipment to be used and any modifications to the product geometry so that optimal welding quality can be guaranteed.
After the sales order has been received from the customer, one member of the process team is assigned to take responsibility for the process on the machine. He collects the necessary data for the welding process. This data describes the materials to be welded, the welding equipment, and the welding specifications, etc. This process team member maintains close contact with project management, engineering and the sales department about the specifications of the machine and the materials required.
Once the machine has been built and is operational, the person responsible for the process coordinates the optimization process. He also has a number of specialists at his disposal including mechanics, robot welders and measurement technicians. With the highly detailed documentation and careful elaboration and implementation of the optimization process, the final goal eventually comes into sight. The final goal is to achieve the proper customer product that meets all the requirements in respect of weld quality, dimensions and cycle times. The process quality department provides courses for keeping the technical expertise fully up-to-date at AWL, as well as with the customer.
AWL has its own laboratory containing a wide range of equipment for examining welding assignments. A laser welding machine, a robot MAG welding cell, various spot welders, manual welding equipment for preliminary series, a tensile strength tester and an eccentric press, etc., are all available in our laboratory. Furthermore, we have our own macro laboratory for making highly accurate examinations of welding quality, and we also have an extensive measurement room including a 3D CMM measurement machine and two platinum FARO arms.
The measurement room
Our jigs are measured out in our fully equipped testing room using two platinum Faro arms. The nominal CAD model of the jig is used as a reference.
For measuring the (customers) products we have a Wenzel CNC measuring machine that measures the welded work pieces made on our machines. If desired, the pre acceptance unit can be provided with an extensive statistical analysis. So you will exactly know the measurements results (SPC)of your products exactly before the machine is installed in its production location.
The AWL welding laboratory has an IPG 6 kW fiber laser. The laser is equipped with a dual beam switch which guides the laser power to two Precitec optics. Both optics are fitted on an ABB robot and have a focal distance of 500 mm. AWL has other optics and several equipment available and can carry out ‘custom’ weld tests. According to your preference, special made clamping systems or even your own production jigs can be integrated in the laser cell so that various weld tests and larger preliminary series can be carried out.
The process optimization process is the busiest period of an entire project. The new AWL machine and the (often prototype) customer’s components come together for the first time to match the desired criteria, for product dimensions, weld quality and output. The starting point is always the nominal measured jig. The cycle times, weld quality, product dimensions and other qualities are accurately set in a number of iterative steps so that an optimal product will be achieved. These activities are regularly tuned to project management and the customer. This is how we guarantee success.
The quality control consists of a very extensive check on the dimensions and the weld quality of the products that are produced on our machines. As well as visual checks on the welds, macros are created and or peeling tests are done and if required x-ray tests are also carried out. An accurate cycle time measurement is also done. The checks are carefully documented and the results are presented to the customer.
AWL’s Metallurgic Laboratory is where the welding quality of our machines is checked.
The Metallurgic Laboratory carries out peeling tests and creates macros (cut and etch) in order to assess the quality of spot, arc and laser welds. This is done in addition to the surface visual and length checks that are carried out before destructive testing. Whereas peeling tests give a quick overview of the connection surface (spot diameter) and strength of the weld, macros provide an insight into the penetration into the base material and also show up various other characteristics of the weld, which results (partly) in uncovering any potential imperfections. Using the required welding standards, an assessment is made as to whether the weld is acceptable or should be rejected. The results from peeling tests and macros are all documented and digitally stored.
Courses and training
The process quality department is also responsible for guaranteeing and spreading welding knowledge and information within AWL. The department provides various courses for keeping AWL employees up-to-date with the latest information. This includes information about MAG welding, robot (MAG) welding, laser welding, laser safety, spot welding and several kinds of welding equipment. A training course is provided for the end users when handing over a machine to a customer.
Other test facilities
In our own laboratories we have a wide range of welding machines at our disposal. As well as the standard spot welding machines (50 Hz and MF) we also have MAG welding robots and a laser cell. There is also an eccentric press and a tensile strength tester. At the customer’s request, or depending on the type of project, we can also carry out feasibility studies in the laboratory.