The key combination

Sabine Neubauer

Sector-specific, industry-proven and ready for immediate use: that’s what our ready2_use packages stand for. The preconfigured packages can quickly be integrated seamlessly into existing production systems. A new addition to the product portfolio is the self-pierce riveting process.

“Application-oriented solutions that give our customers an advantage in global competition
are best developed in cooperation with a partner,” explains Burkhard Stimmel, KUKA portfolio
manager. “This enables us to provide our customers with products that off er real added value.”

The ready2_rivet self-pierce riveting solution, which is used primarily for body-in-white (BiW) applications, was created jointly with Böllhoff, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and vendors of fasteners and assembly systems. “The combination is the key,” Stimmel reveals. “Using the KUKA robot and controller paired with the expertise in mechanical joining technology of our partner Böllhoff, we were able to develop an automated, flexible and turnkey solution.”

Customers benefit from the low effort required to integrate the self-pierce riveting application and from its versatility. We offer coordinated and preconfi gured systems that are quick to deploy and easy to operate. With their characteristics optimized for robotic riveting applications and their quick-change devices for tools, magazines or dies, we offer the performance that is required for all typical riveting tasks.

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A genuine all-rounder

Böllhoff provides the self-pierce riveting technology. The KR QUANTEC series robot is from KUKA, as is the KR C4 robot controller. The controller convinces through its worldwide compatibility:

  • it works reliably with different mains voltages and types, even in extreme cold, heat or humidity.
  • What’s more, the KR C4 speaks 25 languages – including the major Asian ones
  • and meets all globally relevant ISO and US standards.

While the application had already proved to be a crowd-puller at the Böllhoff booth during the HMI, the presentation at the AMTS – the international Automotive Manufacturing Technology & Material Show in Shanghai – demonstrated how important the language adaptation is as a sales argument. “The trade fair in China was a marvelous opportunity for the colleagues to present our new product to the market,” says Marco Plewe, Marketing Director of the KUKA Automotive Division. And he continues: “Customers were really keen to find out about the various application and operator control options.” All queries were quickly answered, however, as the KUKA smartPAD makes operator control easy and intuitive, even for inexperienced users. Moreover, it serves to simplify operator control and supports the process control of the overall system.

State-of-the-art joining technologies

Böllhoff supplies the application components. The expert for mechanical joining technology uses its tried-and-tested self-pierce riveting process for joints that are accessible from both sides. “Lightweight construction in the automotive industry demands advanced joining technologies,” says Horst Wittop from Böllhoff . “With our process, we set the rivets in a single operation without drilling pilot holes. Together with KUKA, we were able to implement perfectly coordinated components.”

Setting rivets in the age of industrie 4.0

Manufacturing in production shops is undergoing a transformation. The reason for this is the increasing international competition and changing market demand. Product life cycles are becoming shorter. This naturally also applies to the automotive sector. Changing model series require solutions that are flexible and quick to put into operation. Lightweight construction, the technology of the future for saving materials and energy, calls for specialist expertise. If, for example, aluminum and steel are to be joined, factors such as the respective strengths of the materials and their deformation characteristics play an important role. Ready2_rivet is the answer to these challenges. The self-pierce riveting application can be seamlessly integrated into the existing production environment and boosts productivity and efficiency. It remains versatile at all times and can be adapted to new requirements – in keeping with the philosophy of Industrie 4.0.

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