Wear and tear of spot welding hose and cable assemblies can greatly affect life cycle cost in robotic spot welding lines. Now Volvo have found a way to considerably reduce those costs by installing an Integrated DressPack solution from ABB Robotics
With an eye toward the total life cycle costs of a robot’s cable and hose package, Volvo Cars’ component factory in Olofström, Sweden chose ABB Robotics’ Integrated DressPack option for its IRB 6600 and IRB 6640 robots.
Stefan Axelsson, overall responsible for robots at the Volvo Car Corporation, explains “When exterior cables break from wear and tear, as frequently as every three months, it becomes very expensive for us. Now we are looking at a lifetime of several years. From a life cycle cost perspective, the additional investment made a lot of sense. We also save an enormous amount of time.”
With ABB’s IRB 6600ID and IRB 6640ID robots, water, air, electricity, welding power and signal and process controls are routed inside the arm of the robot to substantially reduce wear and tear when compared to having external cables and hoses. As a result of this, the common problem of weld splatter, which can seriously damage external cables, is solved.
“It was pretty easy for us to justify the Integrated DressPack option on our robots,” says Stefan Axelsson,
Smaller robot footprint in crowded places
The Integrated DressPack option allows for a more compact footprint in crowded workspaces. Its modular design allows for a quick and easy 20-minute cable change if, and when, necessary. “Floor space is money,” says Rikard Olsson, Robot Technician at Volvo Cars in Olofström. “And the less of it we use, the better.”
The process wrist requires less space than a solution with external cables and hoses, allowing it to enter narrow parts of a car body, for example.
“Floor space is money and the less of it we use the better”
In many cases without the Integrated DressPack option, the cable and hose set-up would be tweaked on robots individually to maximize their lifespan. “But one of the big advantages of the Integrated DressPack option is that it is standard and optimized” says Torbjörn Albertsson, Automotive Product Manager at ABB Robotics.
In Volvo, a relatively small area the size of several soccer fields, 90 robots are divided into four cells that work on the doors for various Volvo models. In the first cell, 22 IRB 6600 robots with Integrated DressPack technology (out of a total of 65 used in Olofström) work the XC60 model. More recently 50 new IRB 6640IDs also with Integrated DressPacks were installed in two new cells by German integrator Nothelfer.