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The BIW Manufacturing Strategy

By COMAU

As one of world’s largest providers for body welding systems, COMAU has developed over 150 innovative products in the past 10 years to support the challenging and changing requirements of body-in-white (BIW) manufacturing.

Each COMAU product is developed and tested to exceed the highest requirements of industrial standards in regards to flexibility, quality, speed and reliability.

These innovations, which cover the entire range of bodyshop equipment and manufacturing processes, have come together to create the highly resilient and extremely effective manufacturing solution - COMAUflex.

COMAUflex is a highly flexible, turnkey solution that enables automotive manufacturers to increase overall efficiency and reduce operating costs compared to alternative body welding systems. The stand-alone, modular assembly platform can be installed on site in a matter of days and can be easily expanded to accommodate additional products or variants with zero productivity loss or assembly downtime.

As a total manufacturing and assembly solution, COMAUflex incorporates COMAU's proven body-in-white manufacturing equipment within an integrated system that is efficient, technically advanced and completely expandable. This is especially important as customer requirements, industrial regulations and environmental legislation are driving the automotive industry towards an increasing number of models with strong BIW structures.

The comprehensive system includes:

Powerroll and Versaroll transfer systems that help reduce non value-added time in high production volume plants by up to 60% compared to skid or robot hand-off solutions. Further reduction of non-value added time is achieved by COMAU's Tool-Trays, which enable the exchange of tooling for underbody and bodyside assemblies during the transfer time of the Versaroll system, in less than 5 seconds, and are flexible enough to cover up to 5 independent toolings for different models.

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High-Density-Welding (HDW) allows up to 18 robots to simultaneously weld in one station and provides the highest spot quantity with the lowest required footprint. COMAU's HDW system features COMAU NH4 hollow wrist robots and the compact Versaguns. Both the location of the inverted robots and all the wiring and piping, are completely standardised.

RecogniSense®, the single camera 3D robot guidance solution, ensures effortless loading and unloading of parts from racks or any kind of conveyor. Unlike alternative solutions, RecogniSense® is based on the pure recognition of each object feature, which reduces the amount of mechanical equipment needed to guarantee the precise and repeatable location of parts. RecogniSense® eliminates the complexity of this task while increasing the overall efficiency of the production lines.

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COMAU's break-away technology decreases downtimes and maximises manufacturing performance by reducing the mean time to repair in the event of a crash by up to 70%.

Used primarily in end-effectors (robot end of the arm handling tool), break-away details mean that instead of replacing the crashed equipment with a spare end-effector or rebuilding the damaged equipment, only one break-away bolt with its spring package has to be replaced. This leads to tremendous savings in terms of investment as well as spare parts inventory.

COMAU's integrated Sequence Part Delivery (SPD) bodyshop logistics reduces the entire material flow of one manufacturing line to a flexible and scalable cart which is transferred to the consuming station by a slow moving conveyor, thereby optimising utilisation and as a consequence reducing the number of operators.

Together with further standard products and solutions, these innovative technologies create the COMAUflex advantage. COMAUflex is the world's only fully integrated BIW manufacturing solution that guarantees zero-loss launch of new models, reduced overall footprint and significantly lower lifecycle costs. What's more, the flexibility and scalability of COMAUflex ensures reduced cycle times, integration of different process technologies and increased production as BIW needs evolve to meet current market demands.