In our last blog we introduced five ways a well-managed weld cell contributes to efforts to maintain uptime in a lean plant. We concluded that sometimes the innovative creativity of people working the cell can be both a blessing and a challenge. The challenge is when they come up with retrofits inappropriate for welding line applications. For example, they may want to make components more water resistant in an effort to protect them against water expulsion or welding spatter. Any benefits from these work-arounds are usually short-lived.
Weld spatter is a more complex issue than it might seem. It relates to both good housekeeping and safety, which are both primary elements in any company’s lean philosophy. Ignoring them can result in a cascade of effects that need to be controlled, minimized and if possible eliminated. Successful strategies have ranged from improving control systems to minimizing caustic materials to improving coatings. But dealing with molten metal spatter may overshadow an equally problematic substance: corrosive weld water.
Water expulsion causes a variety of problems, including skin irritation as a result of an operator’s exposure to weld water during tip changes. Another safety problem occurs when weld water gathers in pools on the floor, creating slipping hazards.
Beyond potentially harming employees, the treated water can also damage weld line equipment and any nearby components as it sprays uncontrolled in an area, leading to unnecessary and more frequent downtime to make repairs. Downtime is the enemy of any lean adherent.
How water can be retracted
The Parker Water Retract Actuator was developed specifically to eliminate water weld expulsion in automated weld cells. When a weld tip needs to be changed, whether it has been redressed or not, the water supply is cut off and then the actuator pulls and holds with suction, any water still left in the weld gun or in the water lines behind it. Dry tip changes are now possible.
While water flow monitors work well in shutting off a water supply when a leak is detected, they don’t prevent the water already under pressure remaining in the line behind the weld tips from being expelled onto operators, equipment and the floor when the tips are removed to be changed.
By preventing any and all waste fluid from contributing to wasted time and hazardous conditions, the welding cell can become an important contributor to the plant-wide adoption of lean best practices.
To get more information immediately, download our new whitepaper “Four Solutions for Preventing Resistance Welding Line Downtime,”
Article contributed by Parker Automotive Team. See more on our In-Plant Automotive website. Contact a Parker Specialist to learn more about these and other weld cell solutions.
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