Improving the design efficiency of welding robots

The Robot Report

Automated product development tools have reduced one robotics manufacturer’s production processes by 30 percent.

Robots are becoming more complex, forcing designers and engineers to approach the design and development process for robotic systems in new ways. From incorporating disparate electromechanical systems to quickly performing motion, thermal and stress analyses, the list of design challenges is extensive. These issues can easily increase a company’s costs, drive up development time and affect time to market.

One solution is to use sophisticated, tightly integrated product development tools that empower engineers to design and simulate mechanical and electrical systems with greater ease. These tools — which accelerate the 3D mechanical design process, address the integration of electric circuits and analyze stress, vibration and motion, to name a few benefits — go a long way toward minimizing design time and reducing time to delivery for robotics manufacturers.

These are just some of the rewards that Powermig, a company specializing in robotic welding technologies, has recently reaped, thanks to Siemens Digital Industries Software. Based in Brazil, Powermig specializes in robotic welding technologies such as robotic welding cells and automated material handling systems. For years, the company had modeled its electrical projects using two-dimensional and paint-based software systems. In addition to significantly extending the company’s product development time, this approach made it difficult for design engineers to turn around post-project modifications in a timely manner.

The Switch to Advanced Product Development Software

To overcome these challenges, Powermig switched to using Solid Edge®. Part of the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, Solid Edge incorporates a suite of affordable, easy-to-use tools that address all aspects of the product development process. Specifically, Powermig implemented Solid Edge to address the following challenges:

  • Improve response times for new commercial projects.
  • Enhance project quality and standardization.
  • Eliminate wasted time due to difficulties updating projects.
  • Integrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with Solid Edge.

Since 2019, Powermig has utilized Solid Edge 3D and electric design tools. Representing the future of three-dimensional product development, the software’s 3D design capabilities include generative modeling, as well as additive manufacturing and reverse engineering tools based on convergent modeling technology. Solid Edge electric design tools support the design and simulation of electrical systems — from simple electrical circuits to complex wire harnesses. Within the software, design engineers can route wiring and place components in 3D assemblies, analyze models to calculate correct wire lengths and harness designs, simulate circuits to ensure they perform according to specifications and much more.

Achieving New Levels of Automation

Thanks to Solid Edge, Powermig has been able to produce higher-quality, safer products, offer its clients standard and customized solutions and automate design processes. The company’s designers and engineers can now create new, innovative robotic welding systems with greater ease using the software’s three-dimensional design and simulation tools. Solid Edge includes built-in finite element analysis (FEA) tools, which the Powermig design engineers use to digitally validate robotic part and assembly designs within the Solid Edge environment, reducing the need for physical prototypes and speeding development time.

For example, Solid Edge automates the creation of finite element meshes, makes it easy for engineers to define boundary conditions and incorporates comprehensive graphical post-processing tools. It also enables designers and engineers to quickly perform various analyses, including full motion, stress, vibration, thermal and buckling simulations — all of which are important for optimizing robotic systems. Powermig engineers also frequently use the software’s weight and mass center analysis tools to optimize the gear reduction and motor sizing for their robotic assemblies.

Powermig engineers frequently utilize Solid Edge’s built-in FEA tools to optimize robotic structures throughout the design process.

Additional benefits of using the software include:

Reduced design, development and delivery times. Using their comprehensive database of 3D drawings, Powermig design engineers can assemble multiple configurations for robotic welding cells using Solid Edge’s Assembly Features. Thanks to automated commands within the software’s Assembly environment, designers can easily construct features like cutouts, holes, chamfers and threads. They can also mirror and pattern these features. Since implementing Solid Edge, Powermig has reported a 30-percent reduction in the time it takes to finish projects. The software has also enabled the company to make post-project design changes quickly, which has significantly reduced the time it takes to deliver projects to customers compared to previous processes.

Greater support for custom designs. Thanks to Solid Edge, Powermig design engineers better understand their customers’ needs and can design and deliver custom equipment. The company has also reduced its turnaround time for quotes from suppliers and improved the details of its projects as a whole. As a result, Powermig has become a much more agile company, delivering more custom projects and gaining competitiveness in the market.

More accurate product costing. Using Solid Edge’s electrical design tools, Powermig has improved its inventory management and product costing capabilities. For example, the company has reduced the amount of component shortages in its material requirements planning (MRP) system. It has also improved the accuracy of its product costing by reducing the amount of rework required during the production process. The company now enjoys 99-percent product costing accuracy upon project completions.

Powermig’s Next Steps

Since implementing Solid Edge, Powermig has gained a strong foothold in the robotic welding market. With its continued partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software, the company now plans to implement additional Siemens tools — including a cloud-based, design-centric project collaboration tool — to carve out an even greater space in the South American industrial sector. Powermig’s next challenge will be to integrate all of its project information using the Teamcenter portfolio.

To learn more about how Solid Edge can benefit your automation application, visit: https://www.siemens.com/robotics-design.

Additional Artwork

Since implementing Solid Edge, Powermig has reported a 30-percent reduction in the time it takes to finish its robotic welding projects.

Powermig engineers create new, innovative robotic welding systems with greater ease using Solid Edge’s 3D design and simulation tools.

Sponsored By Solid Edge from Siemens

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