Swedish Lerocon AB’s welding machines perform resistance welding with a focus on fastener welding. Customer needs in this field are diverse, with each manufacturer possessing different requirements. To meet this demand, Lerocon engages in bespoke machinery design supported by a modular product range that facilitates unique customer solutions. These solutions address customer needs by bringing various components together in custom configurations, much like building designs from a Lego® library of existing parts.
CAD Designed for Bespoke Machinery Design
To be able to offer bespoke machinery design, you need a CAD system that supports modular design and lets you work faster, better, and easier. After years of struggling with other 3D modeling systems that fought against its bespoke approach to welding machine design, Lerocon found an ideal CAD solution in IRONCAD.
“We used to have one of the usual parametric 3D CAD platforms, but it did not offer the flexibility and speed we needed,” Lerocon recounted. “The system was based on constraints and it meant that we often had to redraw the components as the design intent didn’t match customer needs. In addition, you had to distinguish between parts and assembly files which really impacted our productivity. We lacked the freedom to work in a single file for the project and to then only link out to external files when it suited us.
“Therefore, a few years ago, we changed to IRONCAD. We can now construct our robot cells and welding machines by dragging and dropping assembly components from a catalog. Our standard concept includes fully or semi-automatic workpiece feeding systems where we reuse previous, proven solutions to the greatest possible extent. As IRONCAD allows changes completely free of design intent, we can reuse the previously created structures and adapt them to new customer needs without any problems.
“We never know what our next customers’ needs will be, but we can easily adapt thanks to all the options IRONCAD provides. We get to design the way we want, regardless of how the design was originally built.”
Machinery Design in Context
To keep track of the parts entering a robot cell, Lerocon uses an optical recognition system. It consists of a camera that examines parts on the conveyor belt as they are supplied to a robot. Software interprets the camera images, relaying the location and orientation of the components. With this information, the robot picks up the pieces and puts them in the right position within the welding machine.
While pursuing bespoke machinery design for these complex welding cells, it’s important to attend to the spatial relationships between the welding machine, the conveyor, and the rest of the cell. IRONCAD not only facilitates the machine design; it also ensures that these interactions between the welding unit and its surrounding components are seamless.
“Here we can use the 3D mechanism functions available in IRONCAD — for example, dropping in an
industrial robot to see how it can move and see if it reaches where it should,” Lerocon continued. “Our customers are under constant pressures to deliver faster, high-quality products at the right price. With our solutions, we provide this and help keep manufacturing companies competitive by increasing their capacity and lowering their costs through the automation delivered by our welding machines.”