Abstract: Welding robots are widely employed in automotive component manufacturing, with “spot welding” being the most common welding application in automotive stamping. While adaptive resistance welding control automatically compensates to maintain the required level of production and quality in the face of wear on welding gun nozzles, it falls short in compensating for degradation caused by slag and spatter on fixed fixtures, sensors, and gun head components. To address the deterioration resulting from slag and spatter during the welding process, dry ice jetting has proven to be an effective remedy. This article introduces the spot welding process, analyzes the formation of slag and spatter during the welding process of stamping components, and concludes that the dry ice jetting process is highly effective in cleaning welding robots during automotive stamping equipment operations.

  1. Background: According to Steinke and Rickel (2015), nothing can halt production plans as quickly or significantly as unplanned equipment failures. This emphasizes the critical importance of diligent, routine predictive and preventive maintenance (PM) for the success and efficiency of any manufacturing operation. Sensitive automated equipment, such as robotic welding units, requires targeted routine predictive and preventive maintenance management to ensure correct operation reliability and provide the longest possible lifespan. Effective plans involve routine system checks, adjustments, lubrication, component replacements, as well as software upgrades, performance testing, and analysis. Developing the optimal routine preventive maintenance plan for automated welding systems depends on adopting internal capabilities or selecting suppliers whose expertise and processes best suit production needs. However, collaborating with third-party PM suppliers allows internal maintenance personnel to focus on their core competencies, leaving inspections, cleaning, and maintenance to experienced preventive maintenance specialists proficient in automated welding equipment. The frequency and scope of any PM plan for automated components depend on the nature of manufacturing operations and the factory environment[1].

In simple terms, as explained by Steinke and Rickel (2015), maintaining automated welding power sources is not just about blowing away dirt; some cleaning and degreasing methods are more effective than others. Specialized processes are required for comprehensive cleaning and degreasing of power sources exposed to workshop contaminants over months or years. In this era of environmental regulations, environmentally friendly degreasing is another necessity. Not all shops offer this advantage; hence, potential service providers must ensure that the processes they use are environmentally safe[1]. Apart from being environmentally friendly, dry ice jetting can also reduce the time and increase productivity compared to traditional cleaning methods in automotive factories. This means no production halts, no cleanup afterwards, and no need for cooling or drying time, resulting in cleaning within hours instead of days.