Ultrasonic welding: instrument panel inserts for the Audi Q3

The special ultrasonic machine delivered to Hungary only takes 60 seconds to weld inserts into the instrument panels of the Audi Q3. And that’s not the only record!

At 9.30 metres the machine is probably the longest single sliding table machine ever built by SONOTRONIC. With its 178 feed units the machine is also amongst the leaders in this category. The length of the machine and the number of feed units were essential in order to achieve the maximum machine cycle time of 60 seconds demanded by the client, SMP, for the left hand drive version of the instrument panel. Finally, up to 1000 units are produced per day at the Hungarian factory in Kecskemét. For this reason the machine was also to incorporate a clever solution, to enable the component to be turned the right way before being removed at the end. In practice, this meant placing the middle section and defrost channel in the main support of the instrument panel, using ultrasound. As is now frequently demanded, this applied to several variants, i.e. the basic and 3D Premium Sound version, both for left and right-hand drive instrument panels.

In order to satisfy these requirements, our colleagues in Sales have once again come up with something: the result was this 9.30 metre long machine with 178 feed units, which are accommodated in three tool bridges with five stations. The left hand drive version is processed in three of the five stations and the right hand drive version in four of the five, which is why, in the latter case, the cycle time is also about ten seconds longer. Using the tool holder with swing frame, the operator in the insert area can automatically change from one version to the other. The workpiece is likewise removed automatically with the last bridge. The length of the machine is also a result of the fact that at the end, the component still in the machine, is turned 180 degrees, so that the operator can remove it in the position that is right for him  and insert it in the next processing station (incidentally, also a SONOTRONIC machine). So as to save cycle time and costs again here, this was achieved with a second drive, but using the same guide rails inside the work room. A conveyor belt finally takes the turned component out of the machine.

Using this machine concept SONOTRONIC was able successfully, to assert itself against the competition when the project was awarded. Both the price and cycle time advantages were on our side. The competing concept was unable to achieve the demanded cycle time of just 60 seconds for the left hand drive version, even using robot handling for removal, which at the same time, made it more expensive. From a design viewpoint it was, of course, difficult with this machine to accommodate the 178 feed units needed in the work room, to solve the welding problem. Again this was impressively achieved, as a look inside the machine confirms.

Effective: Sep 10, 2017