A client designed a welding work cell to manufacture components for their product. This workcell comprised of two welding bays, each containing a Miller Welder on an axis that was to be controlled by a servo. The customer specified how the workcell was to function to support the manufacture of their product.
Pacific Blue Engineering (PBE) designed a full turn-key control solution to deliver the specified functionality. PBE also designed and built an electrical enclosure to provide machine control and developed the necessary PLC and HMI programming. The controls solution included two Kinetix 350 Servos and Ethernet IP control of three Miller Welders, all being controlled by an Allen Bradley CompactLogix PLC with a Panel View Plus HMI providing controls for operators.
Since the workcell was an original design, every element had to be developed from scratch. Furthermore, the customer had specified requirements for multiple modes of operation by the machine. In the absence of reference material, due to the work cell being developed in-house, it is always challenging to provide a solution that meets the expectations of the customer. Examples from other machines were made available, but the translation to this particular application, that would yield a solution consistent with the other machine in the facility, was far from straightforward. With the new controls in place, the machine will be capable of either manufacturing two separate components or synchronously manufacturing mirrored components in each bay. This machine now clamps loaded parts and places welds on the component based on recipe values.
The project was the first with this customer for PBE and is to be commissioned in the coming weeks. Its success should provide a pathway for future project support by PBE.