Güdel’s Articulate Gantries Keep Axle Production Moving

Güdel‘s Gantry Robots have established a reputation for performance and reliability, particularly in applications where large, heavy components need to be transported accurately over large distances.   

In a recent project for Midlands based MTI Welding Technologies Limited, Güdel UK provided the Gantry Robots which are at the heart of an automated cell used to friction-weld axle sub-assemblies for articulated trailers.

The production cell, designed and built by MTI Welding Technologies at their Kingswinford site for a German customer, integrates the company’s world-leading double head friction-welding technology with 2 Güdel gantry robots, a machine vision system and a series of product conveying / handling systems.

Güdel’s Gantry Robot Systems are at the heart of the automated cell designed and built by

Each axle sub assembly comprises of 3 individual component parts: the main axle tube which is 1.4 metres long, 150mm in diameter and weighs 70kg, and two steel forged and machined spindle hubs, which each weigh 18kg. The tubes are presented to the main gantry on a Güdel supplied infeed conveyor. They are then located and radially orientated, before being picked up by the Güdel ZP5 2 axis gantry robot, which loads them into the double-head MTI friction welding machine. This robot spans the complete cell and has dual heads, one at the load side and the other at the unload side of the system.

Also within the manufacturing cell is a smaller, 4-axis Güdel FP3 gantry robot, which is used to pick the spindle hubs from trays. The parts are then radially orientated using an integrated machine vision system, and loaded to a specially tooled pallet conveyor system which transports them to the main gantry, used to load the welder.

Both left hand and right hand spindle hubs are loaded to the conveyor system, which transports them to the main gantry robot ready for collection. The main welder loading gantry then picks the spindles up, alongside the axle tube it picked previously, allowing it to load all 3 parts simultaneously into the friction-welding machine. The robot places the main axle tube to the welder clamp system, to retain the radial orientation, before loading each spindle hub to a collet chuck. This dual head concept on the main gantry robot optimises the unload / load time between machine cycles, allowing a completed assembly to be produced by the system every 70 seconds.

Meanwhile, a second head on the ZP5 robot unloads a completed assembly from the friction welding machine, moving it to the Güdel-supplied output conveyor and allowing a fresh set of 3 individual parts to be loaded ready for the next welding cycle.

In addition to the ZP5 and FP3 Gantry robots, Güdel UK also integrated the Siemens control system to the robots and designed and manufactured the component gripper systems. This is another example of Güdel UK working together with a specialist machine-builder to provide a fully integrated solution for the end-user.

Automation Update