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Kuka launches specialised system for riveting

Industrial Robot maker Kuka has launched something it calls ready2_rivet, which the company says is the “ideal self-pierce riveting solution for body-in-white applications”.

The new ready2_rivet solution is part of Kuka’s ready2_use range.

The self-pierce riveting solution for body-in-white applications has been developed jointly with Böllhoff, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of fasteners and assembly systems. 

“The combination is the key,” says Burkhard Stimmel, development Project Manager, Kuka. “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 for BiW applications.”

Customers benefit from the “low effort” required to integrate the self-pierce riveting application and from its versatility, adds Stimmel.

The different ready2_use packages are sector-specific, industry-proven and ready for immediate use – as the name suggests.

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

Ready2_rivet was developed together with Böllhoff, a Company which specialises in fastening and assembly technology.

Böllhoff provides the self-pierce riveting technology. The Kuka KR C4 robot controller convinces with its worldwide compatibility: it works reliably with different mains voltages and types, even in extreme cold, heat or humidity. It speaks 25 languages – including the major Asian ones – and meets all globally relevant ISO and US standards.

The Kuka smartPad makes operator control easy and intuitive, even for inexperienced users. In this case, the Kuka smartPad also serves to simplify operator control and supports the process control of the overall system. Böllhoff provides 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 modern 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.”

Both companies contributed their industry know-how in the automotive sector and their respective expertise in robotic and joining technology to bring a competitive product -– the ready2_rivet package -– to market.

Manufacturing in production shops is undergoing a transformation, says Kuka. 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, Claims Kuka.

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.