Kuka announces major order for welding robots for EVs

The German industrial robot and automation expert Kuka is building welding robots for the production of EVs for an automotive customer in the double-digit million euro range. The robotics specialist is supplying the robots, including the cells in which the welding process will take place.

Image: Kuka

According to Kuka, the unnamed customer from the automotive industry has ordered a total of 23 cells with integrated robots. According to the Augsburg-based company, this is the largest single order in this area to date. The cells are so-called FSW cells (FSW stands for Friction Stir Welding), which contain KR FORTEC robots and other components and are integrated as a whole into production lines for electric vehicles.

According to Kuka, the cells are used in several production steps in the production lines: “The robots in the cells weld battery trays together and join cooling plates to the battery trays in a second production step. KUKA is also responsible for the entire friction stir welding process.” As the name suggests, battery trays are there to house the batteries. To do this, they must be leak-proof and resilient, support the correct temperature of the batteries and, in the event of an accident, prevent the vehicle occupants from being endangered by the battery. Their seams are specially welded.

In friction stir welding or FSW welding, a rotating, pin-like tool is guided between the contact surfaces of the component, according to Kuka. The frictional heat plasticises the material and the parts are joined together. In this way, even difficult-to-weld or dissimilar materials such as aluminium can be welded to magnesium, copper or steel, Kuka wrote. Additionally, “This process consumes less energy and material; shielding gas or flux cored wire is not required as in conventional processes.”



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