Real-Time Integrated Weld Analyzer
One of the most commonly used joining methods for sheet metals in the automotive and aerospace industries uses joule heating to produce heat from electric current flow. Periodic destructive tests, such as peel and chisel tests, are often used to inspect the quality of a spot weld. Non-destructive off-line methods are also available, however both have the main disadvantage of having to remove the part from the production line in order to complete the test.
RIWA provides a solution to this by evaluating spot welds in real-time, making it an advanced non-destructive in-line ultrasonic system.
A high frequency ultrasonic transducer is integrated into the welding electrode. This transducer generates ultrasonic waves that pass through the electrode cap into the welded plates. These waves are reflected back and received by the same transducer. The special software performs analysis and reports the size of the measured weld and its location with respect to the plate surface. Alternatively, the software can display a red, yellow, and green dot for quick weld quality estimation. A welding engineer can easily determine the current weld quality as well as stability of the process from collected statistics. At the present stage of development, the lifetime of the transducer is 3,000,000 welds.
The hardware is connected to the robot controller to get synchronizing signal and weld schedule information. RIWA system can be interfaced with the robot or PLC and stop the line in case the unacceptable weld is detected. The device does not need constant supervision and can analyze the weld signatures in the auto mode for many hours. The system can be plugged into the local network to inform the central manager/operator of any problems.