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Sonopod® – Reconfigurable Ultrasonic Welding of Automotive Trim

Sonopod® Case Study

Reconfigurable Solution for Ultrasonic Welding of Automotive Interior and Exterior Trim

The Client’s Challenge

One of the UK’s major 1st tier automotive suppliers approached Robopod Ltd to solve two challenges:

  • the need to obtain repeatable processing from an operator-dependant process
  • to permanently stake together two prominent trim parts mounted externally on a new vehicle model

The customer, who is familiar with Robopod®‘s reputation for robust solutions, have invested in production equipment to satisfy increased demand for their products as well as improving quality. The planned payback will be within two years.

The Client’s Specific Needs

To ease the production of reliably joining 2 external mouldings for a new automotive model, without any marking to the A surface whilst still being strong enough to resist car washes & external forces. The machine needed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Welding both halves to tight tolerances without debris in the B surface
  • Checking the presence of 5 plastic clips
  • Cutting and disposing of the sprue that remains after moulding
  • Confirming different variants of colour based on end user demand
  • Processing a left and right-hand assembly simultaneously (one car set)

The Robopod® Solution

After detailed consideration of the client’s needs Robopod® selected an existing Sonopod® system which is available off-the -shelf as a standard design.

This allowed the weld points to be quickly and easily positioned from CAD data and integrated onto the existing bolster carriage. The carriage also supports the sensors that are checking the clips, verifying the colours and pneumatic nippers that automatically cut and remove the moulding sprue.

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Savings Delivered

By combining all these extra features onto one machine has provided the client with a series of savings:

Labour in double handling

Capital in multiple machines

Valuable floor space

WIP (work in progress)

The Detail

The machine operator manually assembles the two variants of assembly that can be processed on this machine (Basic or composite version) into CAD cut polyurethane material nests, carefully designed to avoid marking on the A surface.

On initiation by the operator the acoustic doors close then the assembly shuttles automatically under the processing head. The staking heads all lower together on a pneumatically driven bolster. While the sensors check presence of clips and correct colour the two 35kHz ultrasonic generators sequence through each head to produce a lozenge form. If any parts are sensed to be missing or to have failed a warning is provided on the HMI and a key reset can be applied to release or rework the failed components.

Each head is individually controllable to compensate for differences between the stakes and moulding variations

As the assemblies are particularly visible on the car it is essential to produce aesthetically perfect part every time.

The Results

The machine provides multi process functions with ease-of-loading for the operator and simple maintenance. Sonopod®‘s flexible solution has given their customer the ability to weld many styles of moulding on a re-toolable machine which can be easily adapted for future applications. The machine was delivered on time to a fixed price with straightforward plug and play installation.

For more information, please contact sales@mechatronic.co.uk.

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