KUKA supplies systems for bonding and sealing technology
The first so-called adhesive bonding robot was installed in the body shop of a major automotive manufacturer in 1985 for hem flange bonding. As early as 26 years ago, Augsburg-based system builder KUKA Systems was a leading company in the development of new technologies. One of the early applications was glass bonding in final assembly of vehicles. “KUKA was one of the first system builders to implement bonding and sealing technology in projects in the fields of body-in-white, paintwork and final assembly,” explains Gerhard Hartmann, Product Group Manager for Technology Solutions at KUKA Systems GmbH.
The advantages of the automated bonding process are not hard to find. “The uniform distribution of tension and application of force over the entire bonding surface is a major advantage. The adhesive and sealant has the additional properties of serving as an electrical insulator and providing protection against corrosion,” adds Hartmann. Deformation of workpieces through the application of heat is also avoided. Bonding technology is also indispensable for composite material construction of the future, such as plastic-steel or steel-aluminum.
Adhesives and sealants
There are many good reasons for the automated application of adhesives and sealants during body-in-white construction and assembly. 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 precisely at high speed.
Robotic cells for bonding and sealing can be converted to fully-automatic systems using intelligent process components. Such systems might include components for machining, nozzle cleaning and positioning, as well as measuring systems and software packages, for example. Curing systems for rapid hardening of the adhesive and sealant complete the spectrum.
Alongside “conventional” variants with robot-guided dispensing heads, other solutions are also implemented with component handling at a stationary adhesive and sealant nozzle. This is particularly useful in cases where the robot has to perform other operations, such as automatic handling or assembly operations, in addition to the application of adhesive and sealant.