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Panasonic Welding Issues

Advanced TIP TIG Welding
TIP TIG Welding is always better quality than TIG and 100 to 500% faster with superior quality than TIG - MIG - FCAW.


Robot Welding. Exhaust Hanger Brackets
with Panasonic Equipment.


For me it was another one of those annoying Japanese, robot applications. Thanks to the Panasonic engineers, we had another simple weld application made unnecessarily complex. The Honda part supplier had the robot for six weeks and in that time period neither the Panasonic robot personnel or the Panasonic robot integrator could get the robot to consistently place two small welds, 15 mm in length, on a carbon steel rod to a thin gage galvanealed part (commonly called, exhaust bracket).

The exhaust hanger bracket was designed by engineers at Honda. I am sure the Honda engineers who designed the part had no idea how their MIG weld process ignorance also contributed to some of the welding issues generated.

The round carbon steel rod was 5/16 diameter and the thin gage galvanealed bracket the rod was welded to was only 0.047 thick. Think about it, you have lack of fusion concerns for the rod which is 5/16 thick, and weld burn through concerns for the thin part 0.047.

Poor weld design is common in the auto / truck industry. I have yet to meet a designer who has MIG welding process expertise. It's also a sad reflection today, that few designers of auto components take any interest or the time to read about the weld processes they recommend to join the parts they design.

After six weeks of playing around with the weld settings, the Panasonic and integrator team could only produce the following;
[] inconsistent weld profiles,
[] welds with porosity,
[] welds with burn through
[] welds with lack of weld fusion.

After wasting thousands of dollars on loss of productivity and weld rework the Panasonic people gave up and left the plant. The exhaust company was more than concerned, there were five days left before production had to begin on the Honda parts. The very frustrated plant manager gave me a call.

After spending a few hours of reviewing the robot welds.
I made the following observations.

[]The welds produced by the Panasonic personnel and integrator were too small. The short circuit, fast freeze, undersize welds were the primary cause of the excess weld porosity. I changed the weld size, this change resulted in more forgiving welds that had less less opportunity for weld porosity, however the Panasonic welds produced were still inconsistent.

[] As with many Panasonic robot applications, the weld inconsistency was readily noted in the arc sounds. This inconsistency was a direct result of the performance of the Panasonic Inverter power source.

This power source provided two outputs one for straight CO2 and the other for argon mixes. With welds that have an arc on time of less than 3 seconds, it's important that the weld equipment used has the capability of providing "consistent out put" for the robot weld start data, the weld data, and the end weld data. This power source could not provide this basic function with the low parameters utilized. I changed the weld mode and settings on the equipment, and was able to find settings that although were not recommended by Panasonic proved to be more consistent. It was not a 100% however the new data improved the consistency and stability for the small welds.

[] The fixture designed by the integrator did not allow for ideal positioning of the MIG gun. As the Panasonic integrator gave up on his responsibility to this customer, my fixture recommendations were made by the customer;s maintenance department.

[] The Panasonic MIG gun contact tip bore was on the minus size while the USA made MIG wire diameter was on the plus size but still within spec. Occasionally the MIG wire was restricted by the gun contact tip bore. I relieved this situation by drilling and increasing the tip bore diameter on the Panasonic tips. I thought it was ridiculous to have Panasonic guns in North America and recommended my client change to a Tregaskis gun.

[] Small welds require a higher degree of weld accuracy. The Panasonic cell lacked touch sensing or arc tracking and had no automated TCP control for the robot.

My changes took about approx. 20 hours to complete. After the changes were made and the weld process data was recorded, the company recognized that the daily success of this operation required no deviation from my recommendations. To ensure consistent acceptable weld results, I implemented my seven step robot process control program. (Part of my self teaching and process control welding training package) Finally seven weeks after the robot was delivered, the robot finally attained daily acceptable weld quality and productivity. I charged the company for a weeks work, about $5000 and I am still waiting for Panasonic and Honda engineers to send a thank you card.


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