KUKA launches application systems for automotive assembly

SAM and HRK automation processes cut weight, time and environmental impact.

Comments Off on KUKA launches application systems for automotive assembly September 14, 2011
by Design Engineering Staff

Augsburg, Germany — KUKA Systems unveiled two automated application technologies the company developed in-house in partnership with a European-based, global automobile manufacturer that has signed on as launch customer for both.

The first, called SAM for short, uses an acrylate acoustic insulating compound for vehicle sound-proofing, which is applied by a robotic cell, in place of the traditional bitumen or butyl mats that have to be custom-cut and hand-positioned.

The robot cell consists of three KUKA KR 30 L16 industrial robots that apply the substance to doors, tailgates and other car parts on the assembly line. According to the company, acrylate is more environmentally friendly and lighter than bitumen mats. In addition, the application system can be adapted to any vehicle type or model and has achieved more than 98 percent operational availability.

The second technology, referred to as HRK by the company, consists of point-by-point and sequential wax application for corrosion protection, using a dual, automated sweep and in-line nozzle cleaning performed during the process.

Both systems draw on Kuka’s experience automating bonding and sealing processes for composite materials, the company says. The advantages include a uniform distribution of tension and application of force over the entire bonding surface. The adhesive and sealant has the additional properties of serving as an electrical insulator and providing protection against corrosion.