TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Mercedes-Benz soon is likely to adopt a system developed by Kuka Robot Group that can weld a whole body side from a laser welder located 13.2 ft. (4 m) from the steel, Kuka USA President and CEO Larry Drake reveals here at the Management Briefing Seminars.
Such laser welding is expensive, but it will eliminate many steps in the body welding process.(See related story: Kuka Plays Vital Role at Jeep Plant)
Drake says a body side can be welded in 12 seconds using the system.
Laser welding is adapted to the use of high-strength steels, which can involve panels of varying thickness, as body designers try to save weight with precision designs.
High-strength steel is more commonly used in Europe, where auto makers are aiming at better fuel efficiency than in North America.