Product Assembly Considerations
During product assembly, there are often requirements to join two or more parts using a type of welding technology. The type of welding used hinges on the part material, joint strength, leak tight requirements, and numerous other factors.
ATS has extensive experience with several welding processes including ultrasonic, resistance, and laser. In all cases, we design and develop the process to account for part shape, joint definition, fixturing, and environment. Welding operations have been delivered on a wide range of automation platforms including rotary dials, power & free conveyors, and our ATS SupertrakTM linear servo conveyor.
As each welding process is a unique combination of tooling, part presentation, motion profile, and weld apparatus, we work closely with our customers to develop the right welding recipe with appropriate process monitors to deliver the desired process robustness.
Ultrasonic welding is widely used for both metal and plastic applications. End products and applications that use ultrasonic welding range from medical devices to ink tanks to conductor termination. In many cases, hermetic seals are a desired outcome of the weld process resulting in a subsequent leak test to verify process integrity.
ATS has integrated numerous brands of ultrasonic welders. Welders are integrated into the automation system, and tooled for either one-up and multiple-up weld horns. As part of process design, welders are configured with force and displacement monitoring; these capabilities allow for active process monitoring during weld development, and for long term production quality control.
Resistance welding is used in metal to metal joining applications ranging from armature commutators, to end cap welding in nuclear fuel bundles, to wiper modules. Where hermetic seals are required, helium mass spectrometers are often employed to validate weld integrity.
Process monitoring is crucial to welding process development and production quality control. Monitoring parameters include force, displacement, current, and in some cases heat signature (using IR heat sensors). Quick change tooling tips and head design can play an important role in maximizing production uptime.
Laser welding is used predominantly in precision metal to metal joining applications ranging from fuel injectors to electrical components to automotive pumps. Laser welding of plastics is becoming an increasingly important tool for manufacturing, especially in the production of life sciences products.
ATS leverages its extensive experience and knowledge base in laser processing to deliver laser welding systems that excel in performance.