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KUKA Systems launches application systems for automotive manufacturers

September 13, 2011 Written by  MP&P Staff
STERLING HEIGHTS, MI | AUGSBURG, Germany, Sept. 13, 2011 - KUKA Systems has unveiled two automated application technologies that the company claims will benefit automobile manufacturers as well as the environment. The two technologies were developed in-house with the encouragement of a European-based, global automobile manufacturer that has signed on as launch customer for both.
1. SAM: Injectable acoustic insulating compound

KUKA Systems' SAM technology allows automakers to use an acrylate acoustic insulating compound for vehicle sound-proofing, applied by a robotic cell, in place of the traditional bitumen or butyl mats that have to be custom-cut and hand-positioned. The robot cell consists of three KUKA KR 30 L16 industrial robots that apply the substance to doors, tailgates and other car parts on the assembly line. Acrylate is not only more environmentally friendly than bitumen mats, but also lighter. The automated application system is flexible enough to adjust to any vehicle type or model. It's also highly reliable, having achieved over 98% operational availability in a three-shift-a-day environment.

2. HRK: enhanced application of corrosion protection

The HRK process consists of point-by-point and sequential wax application for corrosion protection. Using a dual, automated sweep makes it possible to cover a larger area in less time than ever. The in-line nozzle cleaning performed during the process is an industry first, and is both resource-conserving and environmentally friendly, employing a water bath and automated disposal of the cleaning fluid.

"These technological breakthroughs underscore KUKA Systems' commitment to be out front supporting our customers with technology that maximizes production efficiency and environmental performance," says Larry Drake, president and CEO of KUKA Systems Group. "It also speaks to the decades of experience KUKA Systems has in developing bonding and sealing technology. Advanced solutions like these will play an increasingly important role in delivering the vehicles of tomorrow that must be stronger yet lighter and quieter to meet more stringent emissions and safety standards, while still appealing to car buyers."

Advanced bonding processes are indispensable for composite materials construction of the future, such as joining plastic to steel or steel to aluminum that cannot be welded together. The advantages include a uniform distribution of tension and application of force over the entire bonding surface. The adhesive and sealant has the additional properties of serving as an electrical insulator and providing protection against corrosion.

"There are many good reasons for the automated application of adhesives and sealants," says Gerhard Hartmann, Product Group Manager for Technology Solutions at KUKA Systems. "The quality with which the adhesive and sealant bead is applied remains constant. Different seam geometries can be generated quickly and easily, and the application is carried out with high speed and precision."

KUKA Systems was one of the first production line builders to implement bonding and sealing technology for the key stages of automobile manufacturing: body-in-white production, paintwork and final assembly. The company developed its first bonding solutions 26 years ago. One of the first was glass bonding in the final assembly of vehicles.

www.kuka-robotics.com/usa/en/