ABB robots are equipped to deal with a wealth of rail industry applications such as riveting, welding, assembly, material handling, machine tending, painting, inspection and deburring.
Rail manufacturers who have introduced robots to their processes have typically seen a significant increase in productivity and efficiency, with higher levels of output, product quality and flexibility amongst the improvements reported.
Robotic tools used previously for assembling road vehicles are readily adaptable for the rail industry. For example, the FlexFramer is one such tool that has been designed for main body assembly; the FlexiCell is a spot-welding cell built from standardized components; ModulFex is used for the sub-assembly of underbody, body sides, engine compartments and roofs; while SafeMove provides a predictable robot motion that can be restricted to the specific needs of the application.
ABB has already provided SNCF with automated spray painting booths at its Périgueux site in south-west France to help reduce paint consumption, increase production capacity and improve environmental standards. The solution included a preparation area, painting booth, a paint thinning area and a curing oven, which was equipped with two ABB IRB 5400 robots. The oven technology provided by ABB reduced the normal four-hour drying time to a mere
55 minutes. In addition, there was a decrease in required space as robots could be placed on shelf systems, walls or even on ceilings. In SNCF’s case this meant the space needed dropped from 210 to 80 square metres.