Minimizing dimensional variation and robot traveling time in welding stations
Complex assembled products as an automotive car body consist of about 300 sheet metal parts joined by up to 4000 spot welds. In the body factory, there are several hundred robots organized into lines of welding stations. The distribution of welds between robots and the welding sequences have a significant influence on both dimensional quality and throughput. Therefore, this paper proposes a novel method for quality and throughput optimization based on a systematic search algorithm which exploits properties of the welding process. It uses approximated lower bounds to speed up the search and to estimate the quality of the solution. The method is successfully tested on reference assemblies, including detailed fixtures, welding robots and guns.