For any piece of automated manufacturing equipment, whether it is a metal wire bending arm, a precision laser-cutter, or an extraordinarily sophisticated welder with multiple adjustable welding heads, it takes both hardware and software in order for the machine to work right.
The control mechanism for the Versaweld CSR102-1230-3-MFDC NC Jig Welding System from IDEAL is no exception to this rule. In fact, this revolutionary new welding machine possesses two different sets of controls: one for controlling the motion of the machine (CNC) and a separate, dedicated control for the welding heads themselves.
Controlling the Machine
The CNC controller for the machine itself is a SINUMERIK 840 DSL 32-Bit-Microprocessor from Siemens. What does this particular controller do? It enables:
- Digital control of up to 32 axes. Basically, it can control every joint of the machine at the same time, in different directions.
- The ability to store 500 different motion programs on an included 1 gigabyte flash card.
- Teach-in operation for programming the travel of the machine’s parts.
- Program testing and correction.
- Diagnostics of current production run.
These are just a few of the capabilities of the machine controller that the IDEAL welder uses to control the movements of the machine’s arms while in operation. This device boasts a LCD display with an alphanumeric keyboard to make it easier for the operator to program operations manually when needed.
This control mechanism also sports a USB-based interface to allow the import or export of data.
Controlling the Welder
The operations for the welding heads are managed by a separate control mechanism than the one responsible for the movement of the “arms.”
The weld controller is responsible for controlling:
- Weld, squeeze, and hold time,
- Memory for weld programs,
- Up and Down slope,
- Pulse weld operation; AND
- Heat percentage (current intensity).
By placing these operations on a separate controller, the IDEAL welder is able to have millisecond-fast operations for the welding head, even as the arm is in motion.
The controller for the welder is a Medium Frequency DC (MFDC) Welding Controller. It is the 1,000-cycles technology of this controller that enables the welder to achieve its 2/1,000 of a second weld speed, allowing for a higher-quality surface finish of welded parts and reducing spatter, sharps, and other undesirable deformations to a welded part.
Overall, the highly sophisticated controllers and the software that run them allow the Versaweld NC Jig welder to fulfill a variety of welding tasks that would be deemed impossible for other machines. With the unit now on the Marlin Steel manufacturing floor being the only one outside of Germany, we are in a unique position among American manufacturers to bring quality engineered quick with the best quality welds.