WHEN Toyota's production line for the new model Camry starts next year, a new PLC-powered welding system will be in place, increasing production efficiencies and making maintenance procedures easier than ever before.
Toyota's Altona production line is more than four kilometres long and starts at the stamping shop, where sheet metal panels and parts making up the basic structure of the vehicle are produced. From there the components move into the body shop, where they are welded together to form the body shell.
The new system, devised by Toyota and SMC Pneumatics, incorporates an SMC EX500 serial distribution system (powered by PLC) to control the robotic jigs at each of three robotic enclosures on the production line.
Using the EX500 will reduce the total number of wires to two pairs - one 24V cable to power the jig and one communication cable to the SMC valves.
Previously, certain welding processes were controlled through hard wiring - making manipulation of the jigs cumbersome and difficult at some angles.
With the new system, not only will there be less wires, but the jig will have a rotation of 280°, enabling access to weld previously hard-to-reach areas.
A simple touch-screen display will guide operators through operating procedures, routine maintenance and fault identification.
According to Winston Samara, senior project engineer at Toyota, the company decided to use SMC's PLC-controlled EX500 communications device because it would result in more cost-effective production and make fault finding and maintenance faster and easier. SMC Pneumatics 02 9354 8222.