The Oerlikon 24/7 superpac 550 robotic welding wire, developed by Sidergas in Italy, is a twist-free wire designed specifically for robotic welders to provide a continuous wire feed at the welding tip and obviate the need for stopping the robot to change drums.
Sidergas sales manager Carlo Gelmetti recently visited South Africa to demonstrate the advantages of the new pack. “In our experience it takes at least 15 minutes to change wire drums (or spools) using conventional methods. The result is that factories lose significant production time. “However, the Oerlikon 24/7 system significantly reduces the loss of production associated with welding wire changeovers,” he says.
“The most innovative feature of the welding system is the pack, which is designed to do away with the need to stop the robot to change packs. “The wire on the new drum is joined to the end of the wire on the old drum while the robot is, still operating,” explains OESA national sales manager Brian Johnson. The welding wire is, to all intents and purposes, continuous.
A specially-designed remote butt welder enables the user to join the end of a wire pack to the start of the new one even while the robot is operating. A portable vice and hand-held grinder is used to remove the flash upset that is created when the wires are joined. The start of the wire on the new drum feeds smoothly, without tangling, with the end of the wire on the empty drum. A patented plastic top protects the wire while assisting with the automatic changeover.
South African company GBG, a manufacturer of automotive suspension systems that supplies most of the original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the local industry, is the first company to use this state-of-the-art welding pack. GBG welding foreman Paul Medd says that, since using the Oerlikon robotic welding wire, not only has the loss of production downtime been radically reduced but the amount of welding-related accessories, such as tips and liners, has also significantly reduced.
To ensure that the chemistry of the wire is consistent, the Carbofil 1A wire is bought by Sidergas from a dedicated German steel mill. Sidergas then draws the wire to the correct size and coils it into the robotic packs.
The robotic welding wire is used widely in the production of original equipment for the automotive, construction and earthmoving industries in Canada, Japan, the US and most of Europe.
During his visit to South Africa, Gelmetti demonstrated the product to OEMs and component manufacturers in the Gauteng and Eastern Cape regions where the majority of South African OEMs and their suppliers operate.
Robotic welding wire in packs of 150 kg, 300 kg and 500 kg, and all accessories, are currently available locally from OESA, with the new 24/7 continuous wire systems available from November. OESA says it will have sufficient stock on hand locally to ensure that the product is readily available to end-users.