Daimler subsidiary relies on economic waxing machine when it comes to cavity waxing.
Reliable rust protection of cavities in car bodies and attachment parts even to the last crevice contributes significantly to the durability of motor vehicles. Wherever space is at a premium, cycles times are short and paint stations may even need to be integrated, the innovative waxing machine with multiple nozzles from IPR represents an economic and service-friendly solution. This is especially true for high quantities and uniform hole patterns. Since January 2016 the fully automatic system at Smart in Hambach, Lorraine/France seals car bodies at minute cycles. This is more efficient and economical in terms of output than a comparable robot version.
Painting precedes waxing: The body of the new Smart BR453 drives into the plant mounted on a 7th axis. Fixed securely, a pneumatic lifting unit lifts the body by a few centimeters. The waxing machine, developed and built by IPR Intelligente Peripherien für Roboter in Schwaigern, starts with the incremental sealing of those parts that shall be especially protected against corrosion during future everyday use. Controlled fully automatically, 42 lance-type injection nozzles, attached to compressed air and wax supply hoses, do their job on both sides of the unfinished body: Movement by movement and with 100 per cent repeat accuracy these pneumatically powered drive and handling systems enter those 40 larger and smaller setting points, which serve as access to the respective process zones, with precision. The hissing compressed air sound, lasting only a few seconds, indicates that a cavity is just being covered with a finely atomized wax coat. Depending on the size, geometry and accessibility of the respective body parts, various nozzles, also manufactured by IPR, with different nozzle patterns and exit openings with orifices between 0.8 mm and 1.00 mm diameter, are used. This ensures that the protective wax fog uniformly reaches and covers all areas. The rule: “As much as necessary, as little as possible” is applied, especially for economic reasons!
IPR has specialized in the development and manufacturing of products for all aspects of industrial robots for over 25 years. Cavity waxing of vehicles has become an additional focus for several years. As one of the leading providers, IPR develops components, processes, application techniques up to complete facilities for innovative cavity waxing in automotive production. IPR has gained comprehensive process know-how over the years: Utilizing technologies such as hot flooding, cold flooding, fog application as well as air-mix/air-less methods, IPR offers target and task related sealing concepts according to customer preference. Many car manufacturers belong to the customers of the rust-proofing specialist.
At Smart, there was practically no alternative to the waxing machine from IPR. Space, cycle times and the paint facility were established. The principle decision was made with the change to the new Smart model series BR453 in 2014. The number of setting points had nearly doubled. Utilizing handling and nozzle technology from IPR, which was replaced by hand, depending on the task and demand. Meanwhile, the requirements on ambient air had changed regarding the health of the employees: Continuing manual cavity waxing would have required a high-performance and expensive air circulation and filtering system.
What were the arguments in favor of the waxing machine instead of a robotic solution? “A robot needs approximately 7-8 seconds per setting point; it could therefore carry out no more than 8 setting points in 58 seconds. 21 positions on each side would then require 3 robots to handle the job in the given time. The costs of a robot solution as well as the space demand would have been many times higher”, realized Pascal Walker from Production Planning at Smart in Hambach.
With each waxing machine at the Smart plant 21 stainless steel nozzles each are working on each side of the body. 72 seconds are allowed for the entry and exit of the body, and no more than 58 seconds for the pure application. During this time, each model is sprayed with roughly 800 ml of wax fog (Pfinder 17/17); the waxing system seals 50 vehicles per hour. The handling and nozzle equipment used in the machine is robust, insusceptible to malfunctions, and has been working at the Hambach plant without downtimes since January 2016. Service-friendliness is a special mark of distinction: One single nozzle cleaning process at the end of the shift is normally sufficient; a complete nozzle change is required only every 6 months. Each nozzle features individual specifications and can be separately configured from the control level. At Smart, the selection is made via Profinet; all data is collected and centrally archived via accompanying process data analysis. With comprehensive projects such as the one at Hambach, IPR is available not only for the complete automation, including all drive, application and control solutions, but also for creative, cooperative development cooperation and competent advice up to commissioning.
“In regard to the quantities, expected model life of the series and the given framework conditions, our decision for the fully automatic waxing system from IPR was right. The lower costs, convenient service concept and easy integration into the existing system all supported this move. Pascal Walker is convinced: “This is an investment that, under the given conditions, will probably pay for itself within 2 years.”