New GateFramer quickens car-making pace

01 July 2013

ABB Robotics new GateFramer robotic car body framing system can frame multiple car models on the same line while maintaining short cycle times, incredible accuracy, unsurpassed reliability and ease of operation.

Over the past decade the auto industry has changed at a blistering pace. Where once it was common to build one car on one line, manufacturers are now moving to a flexible production concept where multiple cars can be produced on the same line. The new GateFramer robotic car body framing system builds on ABB’s nearly 20 years of framing experience by providing the industry with the flexible, accurate, expandable and fast solution that today’s car manufacturers demand-resulting in less investment over the lifetime of the system.

The GateFramer works on a simple concept: control all motion in the system through ABB’s robust and proven robot controller, the IRC5. Up to six different car body variants can be framed on the same line by swapping gates that hold each car model’s tooling. With the IRC5 in control, gates can be shuffled in the background to get ready for the next body while the robots weld the body currently in the machine. The result is a consistent gate exchange time of only 18 seconds for a completely random sequence of models production-meaning production planners are given unparalleled freedom to adjust mixed-model sequencing to meet demand.

The GateFramer’s unique design has up to four integrated welding robots just behind each gate for easy access to the body side, and up to six shelf mounted robots on an overhead platform, allowing a total of up to 14 robots to be accommodated into each station. Up to 77 geometry welds can be completed inside the framer to ensure excellent geometry integrity of the vehicle.

“While other framing solutions exist, none of them are as robust or easy to programme and operate as our new GateFramer,” says Alan Stapelberg, ABB Robotics Body in White product manager. He said there is no other more flexible and reliable solution on the market.

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