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Super-MIG Beta-site Installation, Performance and Results

WSI is very proud to announce the successful installation of Super-MIG into a Tier One Exhaust manufacturing facility.

Beta-Site Proposal Description:In a joint partnership, WSI and a Tier One Exhaust Manufacture agreed to install Super-MIG into an existing production welding cell that produces Catalytic Converters.  The welding cell consisted of, a single station for manual load/unload of the pre-assembled converters, an overhead ram advanced to clamp the upper/lower halves of the converter, and dual robotic MIG welders simultaneously work to weld each side of the converter assembly. 

Objective:To replace one side of the robotic MIG welding application, with a WSI provided Super-MIGä Interface, Torch, and Torch Cleaning Device. The intent, to operate Super-MIGä in conjunction with the standard MIG welding robot on the opposing side Thus, using the customer specified gas mixture and weld wire, and meet all weld profile and penetration requirements as specified by the product engineering specifications while improving welding speed and reducing weld related failures due to burn thru at the point of arc start. 

Benefits: Due to the dual robotic welding cell scenario, WSI will be able to validate the weld quality, via cross sectioning parts welded with both standard MIG and Super-MIGä, thus providing the necessary data to support production process compatibility without the cost and resources necessary for Re-Ppap of product.  While increasing throughput and reducing weld failures resulting in reduced repair rates.  WSI/PLT will gain the data necessary to validate Super-MIGä production readiness, consumables lifetime data, and lessons learned from the installation, support and training experience. 

Product Description:Two piece “Shoe Box” style Catalytic Converter.Material: 409 Stainless Steel, 1.2 mm Thk.  

Process Description:                   

 Welding Process                  GMAW

Position of Weld                    Horiz./Fillet

Welding Speed                     35 IPM

Filler Metal Spec.                  AWS/ASME SF A5.9

Filler Metal Class.                 409ti

Filler Metal Dia.                     .045”

Shielding Gas                        Argon 98% / Ox 2%

Torch                                      American Weldquip Air Cooled

Power Source:                      MotoArc 350i

Robot                                      Motoman SK6

Cycle Time:                            39.3 Seconds

Product Re-Work Rate         80%  

Super-MIG™ Installation: In preparation for the application of Super-MIG™ the existing standard MIG welding torch, hoses and cables were removed from the RH robot.  The Super-MIG™ Interface was rolled into position within proximity to the Robot Control and Standard Mig power supply.  The interface was connected to these components with the cables and hoses provided with the Super-MIG™ package.  Second, the robot was fitted with the Super-MIG™ torch and cable dressing in the same manner as a standard MIG torch.   Please note that an additional gas line is required to be connected to the Super-MIG™ torch to feed the Plasma arc with in the torch.  This was accomplished via a small bottle mounted near the interface.  Flow rate of 3LPM 100% Argon is required for plasma arc. The third step was to find a position within the welding cell for the Super-MIG™ Torch Cleaning Device that would allow the robot easy access.   The Super-MIG™ Cleaning Device is supplied with a standard riser that can be mounted to the floor or to the base of the weld cell.  We chose to tack weld it into position to save time.   Once all of the components were connected and the power restored to the machine, robot programming was revised to accommodate the new torch, cleaning device, Tool Center Point and Super-MIG™ weld parameters.       

Super-MIG™ Start-up and Performance:

WSI and PLT technicians used approximately ten parts in the process of robot programming and weld parameter refinement.   

The following are the product and process improvements documented after the installation of Super-MIG™ on the RH robot:

Welding Process                  GTAW/GMAW

Position of Weld                    Horiz./Fillet

Welding Speed                   67 IPM

Filler Metal Spec.                  AWS/ASME SF A5.9

Filler Metal Class.                 409ti

Filler Metal Dia.                     .045”GMAW

Shielding Gas                        Argon 98% / Ox 2%

Plasma Gas                           Argon 100%

Torch                                      Super-MIG™ Plasma/MIG Arc-Water Cooled

Power Source:                      MotoArc 350i

Robot                                      Motoman SK6

Cycle Time:                          27.3 Seconds (12 second reduction)

Product Re-Work Rate      0%  

Lessoned Learned: Super-MIG™ is designed to be easily integrated in to currently running and new process equipment purchases.Due to the age (approx. 10 years) of  the machine used, Motoman service was called to assist with the robot programming, connection and proper addressing of the system I/O utilized by the Super-MIG™ components.   WSI-PLT technicians will in the future field check all installations to ensure proper components and resources are accounted for.  

Conclusion:Super-MIG™ was installed and ran successfully (with no component failures) for only a short time due to the following reasons:

  • The product being used was at the end of its production life.
  • In conjunction with the end customer of the product, the decision was made not to proceed to introduce the product made using Super-MIG™ into production.  The product specification requires that the product be welded using GMAW (gas, metal arc weld) and it is considered undetermined if Plasma assisted GMAW meets the specifications for standard MIG.  Therefore an investment would have been required to re-certify a product that was about to become a service product only.

 Welding Solutions Inc., Plasma-Laser Technologies, and our customers indorse the theory that if the weld is produced using the specified filler wire, shielding gas mixture, and the weld profile characteristics meet all specifications for leg, root and penetration as specified by the product requirements it should be deemed acceptable.  Plasma assisted Mig arc welding should be considered a process improvement not a new process for welding.  Utilization of Super-MIG™ is currently being included in the process development for near future product launches.   

Currently there are changes being drafted in to the American Welding Society “Specification for Automotive Weld Quality – Arc Welding of Steel” National Standards that will address “Hybrid Arc Welding and Weld Quality Acceptance Criteria” The benefits observed and documented in the short time that Super-MIG was utilized were; increased welding speed from 35 IPM to 67 IPM, increased weld penetration, reduced weld spatter, and 0% weld failures due to burn thru.

Jag Cat

Overall Super-MIG™ produced a faster, stronger, cleaner and more reliable welded product.

Ray Davis, Sales and Marketing Manager, WSI

Last updated on 05 Jul 2006.