Increase Precision and Repeatability
A trailer manufacturer was ramping up production and having trouble finding welders. To address this challenge, they were implementing robotic welders and needed to increase the precision of their parts for welding by the robots.
The manufacturer had previously been saw cutting a channel and then taking it over to the plasma table to cut the features out. This worked well when they were hand welding it, but they had difficulty holding tolerances any tighter than +/-0.125” and the robot was more reliable with +/-0.063” tolerances. To address this problem, they approached West Central Steel for help.
West Central Steel analyzed the part and worked with the manufacturer to understand the tolerances needed. Based on their feedback and the part specifications, it was an ideal candidate for our Structural 3D Plasma.
Structural 3D Plasma uses a high definition plasma head mounted on a 6-axis robotic arm. This allows the plasma to cut on not only the top of a part, but both sides and the bottom while eliminating the tolerance stack up that happens when parts are moved from one machine to the other.
Cutting the part on West Central Steel’s Structural 3D Plasma machine allowed the tolerances to be repeatably reduced to +/- 0.063”. Additionally, the new process better accommodated the inherent variations in the material that comes from the steel mills, thus reducing the scrap costs.
The part from West Central Steel allowed the manufacturer to implement their robotic welders and significantly increase the production capacity of the weld cell while making their current production team far more efficient.