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In the past few years, Truck manufacturer TATRA TRUCKS in the Czech town Koprivnice has made big steps in the improvement of efficiency of the production, lowering the produc¬tion costs, increasing the quality, and improving the durability and liability o

The use of the welding robot installation which Valk Welding delivered for the production of backbone tubes for the chassis (so-called intermediate shafts), plays a big role in this.

Standardizing individual product groups and subgroups of different production lines was one of the most important measures taken to enable the goals of efficiency im­provement, cost reduction, and quality in­crease. Standardizing the outside diameter of the backbone tubes was the base for a modular chassis structure. This requires the introduction of new procedures and production technologies, among which the robotised welding of the backbone tubes, and the finishing on the CNC lathe and milling machines.

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BACKBONE TUBES FOR CHASSIS

The backbone tubes are standardized to a dimension of 273 mm ø. ‘’An important innovation is the fact that the new bearing supports are now welded onto the outside surface with the robot. The high require­ments of the quality of the welds, and especially the increasing demands of our customers brought us to take this funda­mental step. The new innovative design so­lutions cleared the way for an effective and modular chassis structure,’’ Milan Olšanský from TATRA TRUCKS explains .

WELDING ROBOT ON E-SHAPED FRAME

‘’At TATRA TRUCKS, we have installed a Pan­asonic TL-1800WG3 welding robot on an E-shaped frame (E-3100), with two work­stations arranged side by side, a Panadice 500 manipulator, and a special support to support the backbone tubes during the welding. The special support can be shifted over the full length of the E-shaped frame, so the backbone tubes can be welded with the robot upto a length of 1,800 mm (with the possibility of maximum 2,500 mm). The workplace is also equipped with a fume extraction device, and is completely CE approved ,’’ says Richard Mares of Valk Welding CZ.

HIGH-QUALITY WELDING

The design of the backbone tubes are adjusted to make it suitable for robot welding. The welding process is set after multiple tests with a variety of parameters. The bearing supports are assembled when clamped and are welded without being pre-tacked, to prevent deformation. Partly because of the high-quality welding, the bearing supports managed to withstand a minimum of 1,000,000 cycles during the durability test, which helped TATRA TRUCKS improving the liability even more.

NO PROGRAMMING NEEDED

Valk Welding developed one master parametric programme, using QPT so all types of bearing supports can be welded with the robot. Even the bearing supports that do not fit within the standard product range can be welded without any program­ming effort. The operator only needs to set up the parameters of the correspond­ing bearing support, and the master programme automatically generates the program for the welding robot.

TATRA PHOENIX EURO 6

TATRA TRUCKS, the oldest automobile factory in Middle Europe, is a prominent Czech manufacturer of heavy trucks for civilian and other use and is known for its unique and proven chassis concept. This concept is the base for the renewed chassis for the newest TATRA Phoenix Euro 6 product line, which was devel­oped in close collaboration with DAF and PACCAR. With the unique combina­tion of the very strong TATRA chassis and the reliable and modern DAF cabin and PACCAR components, TATRA deliv­ers modern trucks of which more than half of them are sold outside the Czech Republic.

www.tatra.trucks.com

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