Welding, stamping and joining in the automotive industry
Welding, stamping and joining in the automotive industry

Welding, stamping and new joining technologies

The continuously growing demands on automation in the automotive industry are a focus of Balluff. When it comes to stamping, welding and alternative joining technologies we offer the best solutions for advancing the automation of your production processes using future-oriented technology.

Welding: Reliably monitor welding processes and increase plant availability

Quality control begins during the manufacturing process. Only in this way can you quickly respond to deficiencies and prevent expensive rework and returns. Our intelligent SmartCameras automate visual inspections to ensure high product quality, for example, of weld seams. And you can easily monitor equipment conditions with the Balluff IO-Link SmartLight stack lights, which visualize the output signals from the sensors. Now you can recognize irregularities and trends in time to prevent critical operating states.

Welding creates harsh conditions: Flying sparks and metal and weld spatter can cause heat damage or stick to sensors and cables and impair their functionality. Balluff has a wide selection of weld-immune sensors with the appropriate cables and accessories. Designed with stainless steel faces or ceramic coatings, these sensors are tough enough to have a long life when used directly in the welding area. Their reliability in these conditions increases the quality and equipment availability in production. Our I/O and network modules optimized for welding applications also ensure reliable signal transmission in electromagnetic interference fields.

Application examples for welding

  • Securely transmit signals in electrically noisy fields

    Our rigged network modules can reliably handle weld spatter, welding currents and electromagnetic noise fields. They are available as IO-Link masters and IO-Link sensor/actuator hubs, each with 8 IO-Link ports for 16 inputs and outputs. Each input is short-circuit proof; each output is protected from overload. IO-Link enables the creation of a decentralized system architecture directly in the welding cell. Network nodes equipped with an IO-Link master communicate via existing fieldbus architecture like Ethernet/IP, directly with the main controller or control device on the machine. A wide variety of intelligent IO-Link sensors, actuators or I/O modules can be connected to the IO-Link ports. With IO-Link, they are easily parameterized. Comprehensive, smart diagnostics functions provide additional information over quick-connect unshielded standard industrial cables.

    Securely transmit signals in electrically noisy fields

  • Easily visualize operating states

    The Balluff IO-Link SmartLight stack light offers maximum flexibility in representing operating states. Using one of three available modes you can visualize trends in the process and intervene directly before critical conditions arise. You can choose from segment, level and runlight mode, while individually determining mode, colors and zones in number, size and color definition. Best of all, the settings can be changed on-the-fly, since our SmartLight is configurable from the controller. And like all IO-Link devices, our SmartLight can be connected and installed easily in your system using a standard sensor cable.

    IO-Link SmartLight visualizes operating states

  • Communicate without the weight

    Welding robots have become an indispensable part of the welding process. Many sensors and actuators are connected to the grippers, which can affect movement. Our IO-Link components save space and weight since they don't require multi-conductor cables. A traditional standard industrial cable is all you need for simple installation. IO-Link also ensures noise immunity for intelligent devices without the need for shielded cables.

    IO-Link components help welding robots operate

  • Optimal power supply

    Our intelligent Heartbeat power supplies guarantee reliable and efficient voltage supply. They are fully potted, offer IP67 protection and tolerate shock, vibration and heavy contamination. The Heartbeat power supply provides ongoing information about the internal condition of the unit: the current load, degree of wear and remaining service life of the power supply are reported via IO-Link and also visualized by LEDs. These functions make predictive maintenance of the device possible and provide early warning before a failure occurs. You always know when a unit needs to be replaced and can manage inventory levels accordingly.

    Intelligent Heartbeat power supplies guarantee reliable and efficient voltage supply

Stamping: Minimize downtime and setup time and ensure removal

Stamping places a load on the sensors as well as the tools. Balluff sensors and accessories function with high reliability even under high forces. Our rugged components let you minimize downtime and reduce your overall costs.

Increased product variety requires more frequent tool changes and equipment refitting. But when the presses stop, the costs don't. Our inductive couplers simplify tool changes by transmitting the power and signals without contact. This provides high flexibility while also preventing wear. An ID stored in the sensor/actuator hub prevents incorrect associations. With IO-Link sensors, the parameter data can be stored directly in the IO-Link master, so no time-consuming reentering of parameters is necessary. The system loads the data directly into the device.

Removal of stamped parts over slides or belt conveyors needs to run without interruption to avoid bottlenecks and protect the stamping tools from damage. Our light curtains and inductive sensors immediately report any backup to keep parts moving efficiently.

Application examples for stamping

  • Fast tool changing

    Our inductive couplers assist in automatic tool changes by transmitting data and power over an air gap without any mechanical contact. This minimizes setup times for tool and robotic gripper changing and ensures high uptime. The signal is transmitted again directly after the tool exchanges so production can restart without delay. The correct association is ensured by an ID stored in the sensor/actuator hub.

    Inductive couplers minimize setup times for tool and robotic gripper changes

  • Efficient tracking

    Install automated RFID technology identification to ensure the right tool is used at the right time in large press lines. In addition, an RFID system can collect part-specific product, production and quality information. Balluff UHF systems provide the capture ranges and high protection ratings you need. Setting the parameters is easy: use the Auto-Setup button on the reader to put the system in service in just moments.

    Automated identification with RFID technology in large press lines

  • Secure access to press lines

    When tool changes require that tools be moved in and out of the presses on rails, the area needs to be secured to prevent injury. Our non-contact protective devices detect fingers, hands or bodies and stop the machinery when danger threatens. Deflecting mirrors can secure three sides of the area.

    Non-contact protective devices secure press tools

New joining technologies: Ensure consistently high quality

The trend towards light construction has prompted innovation in the joining technology field. In addition to conventional steel, light metals such as aluminum, high-tensile steels and fiber composites are finding increasing use. Riveting, clinching, screwing, and gluing are being used with these different materials, and each process needs quality inspections.

Gluing especially is increasingly replacing other joining techniques. A modern car consists today of around 15 to 18 kilograms of adhesive. Glued-in front and rear windshields are not uncommon. But weak spots in gluing or using the wrong adhesive create a safety risk. Balluff's sensors help you meet your high quality standards.

Application examples for new joining techniques

  • Glue bead inspection

    When installing windshields, robots apply a glue bead from a nozzle. The highest precision is required. Balluff vision sensors reliably check the quality of the glue bead and identify any gaps. An external light ensures proper illumination of the working field.

    Vision sensors reliably check the quality of the glue bead

  • Reliable glue pot identification

    Various types of glue are used in the automobile industry. To ensure process reliability, the glue pots used in production are fitted with RFID tags. Before use, the Balluff RFID reader verifies that this is the correct pot.

    An RFID system verifies the glue pot

  • Quality inspection of self-pierce riveting

    Self-pierce riveting creates joins without thermal load of welding. To ensure the quality of the riveting remains consistent, regular inspections must verify whether the punch and die are in order. Our Balluff vision sensor automatically detects whether a defective punch or die is about to be used. This allows you to respond immediately.

    Quality inspection of in self-pierce riveting

Additional information

Approval lists Project manuals, approval lists and project information

Automobile industry and suppliers Efficiency and quality down to lot size 1

IO-Link With IO-Link toward improved process quality

High durability Maximum reliability in rough industrial sectors

Safety Machine safety with Balluff quality

Machine Vision Industrial image processing – complete solutions from a single source