Perfect Welding

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Perfect Welding

Intelligent data interfaces help to optimize processes: Gestamp relies on welding systems from Fronius for Industry 4.0 and IoT

Application Story

2/17/2020 / Madrid, Spain
Fronius welding systems from the current TPS/i platform have extensive communication functions – including Ethernet-based interface protocols such as Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT). This protocol provides users with measurement data determined during the welding process in an intelligently processed source form. These data can then be collated, further analyzed, and evaluated independently of the system. The international automotive supplier Gestamp, which has been able to make its production processes more efficient and flexible using technology from Fronius, is already benefiting from this approach.
Fronius WeldCube, automotive

MQTT is one of the most widely used data transmission protocols in the Industry 4.0 environment. The protocol enables machines and plant, components and goods carriers to be digitally networked, thus creating the basis for optimizing production processes. Welding systems from the Fronius TPS/i series also communicate via MQTT and are therefore ideal for use in the “smart factory”. “Alternatively, we offer the OPC-UA protocol for data transmission in our welding systems,” says Peter Koeppl, key account manager at Fronius Spain. “However, the customer often wants to be able to analyze and process the raw data themselves.” Here too, Fronius is able to offer an impressive solution with its flexible, intelligent interface concept.

This is exactly the case with Gestamp. The Spanish international automotive supplier has more than 100 production sites in 22 countries. Gestamp relies on the TPS/i for welding its metallic components, whereby the devices are integrated into fully automated robotic welding cells and ensure consistently good results. The TPS/i collects and stores a lot of information for each weld seam, providing the user with the time, duration, and current measured values for current, voltage, wire speed, and power via the MQTT protocol.

Welding systems provide high-quality raw data for visualization and analysis

TPS/i welding systems process the measured data at a very high speed and above all in sync with the welding process being performed, which significantly increases the quality of the data. Gestamp transfers and stores this data in its own database systems, where the data are evaluated and visualized. This enables experts to continuously monitor, analyze, and optimize processes to avoid possible errors.

In addition, the information is compared with that of other manufacturing processes. For each component produced at Gestamp, the data are recorded in a digital certificate: only if all the parameters in the certificate are within the defined limits is the component forwarded to the next production step. If the system detects any deviations, a manual check is carried out by an employee. This ensures efficient production according to the highest quality standards – perfect for the demanding customers of the automotive industry.

Additionally to the extensive communication and analysis functions, the TPS/i also boasts a modular design that enables numerous applications. The high processor performance of the MIG/MAG devices allows the welding processes to be precisely controlled. The welding systems represent an important part of the Industry 4.0 strategy that Gestamp is consistently pursuing to meet the increasing demands of its customers. The useful collection and analysis of as much production-relevant data as possible is key to this strategy. Individual work steps – such as welding – are digitally networked and continuously controlled and monitored. The resulting “smart factory” enables Gestamp to design its manufacturing processes more efficiently and with greater variety, both to prove the quality of the components and to detect problems at an early stage. Expensive scrap or production stoppages are thereby avoided.