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How To | Automated chassis welding

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AUTOMATED CHASSIS WELDING

21 October 2016
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1 INTRODUCTION

In the past, chassis construction (tube cutting, bending and welding) was done by hand, whereas in recent years the larger companies have found the strength to invest in automated machinery. In particular, the phase involving the welding of tubes is a key aspect in the production of bodyshells and significantly influences its performance in terms of lap times, performance during the race and, more in general, the actual lifespan of the chassis. Nowadays, there are two surviving philosophies on chassis construction: the “traditional”, manual approach (analysed in an article already published on this very TKart channel), and the approach featuring automated welding. Let’s take a look at how the latter works.

2 PROS AND CONS

Parolin, an Italian manufacturer founded in 1986 by Albino Parolin, has worked with both operator manual welding and automated welding, the first robot having been bought 20 years ago, for a number of years. Nowadays, in part due to this experience, the company is even more committed to automation. Indeed, thanks to the great technological strides that have taken place, Parolin regards automated welding as being markedly superior, with an improved efficiency of approximately 70%. In addition, the accuracy and consistency of welding are increasing.

3 WELDING (AND MORE) BY COMPUTER

Switching from a combined manual and robotic system to one that involves 100% robotic welding (with new, increasingly accurate machinery) was neither easy nor immediate. In fact, upstream tasks require meticulous preparation of the tube and bodyshell accessories, finished to a hundredth of a millimetre precisely because of the accuracy required when using modern welding robots. That’s why, nowadays, welds are not the only part of the process at Parolin that is robotised: from the key phase of laser cutting tubes and sheet metal to the bending machines and CNC tube benders, the entire automated process uses computerised machinery that is essential to preparing the material of the bodyshell. According to the company itself, the years of research and development represent the driving force behind Parolin’s ability to create a balance between the various machines, which has in turn led to the utmost quality levels that it now achieves.

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