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ScannerControlBox Simplifies and Accelerates Robotic Integration

Blackbird Robotersysteme GmbH, system experts for remote laser welding system, has expanded its portfolio with an especially compact scanner controller. The ScannerControlBox (SCB) will become the self-confident little sister of the proven ScanControlUnit (SCU-3). Both controller solutions permit the easy integration of a welding system in automatic production systems and robot cells. For this purpose, the new SCB needs less space and is quickly installed.

Remote laser welding with scanners is widespread in the automotive industry, but due to the large scanning field and the highly dynamic changes in direction of robots, the possibility of precise seam tracking and inspection of the weld seams was missing for a long time. For this reason, Blackbird introduced coaxial, camera-based seam tracking for on-the-fly laser welding back in 2014. Since 2015, work has been carried out to implement optical coherence tomography (OCT) as a universal tool for pre-, in- and post-process tasks in laser processing with galvanometer scanners. For all applications, the users are facing the challenge to integrate the laser scanners as smoothly as possible in the existing or planned production systems.

Demanding Laser Processes in sight

An intelligent tool with integrated process monitoring was created through the unique combination of a main scan system with on-the-fly functionality, a separate OCT scanner with 4 axes and an OCT sensor. The thirteen acquired position data are combined with the measured OCT distance values ​​to spatially map the OCT measurement value. In this way, the workpiece edges can be identified, the generated height profile of the laser processing can be evaluated and control signals can be sent to the processing scan head. Thanks to the development of an Open Interface Extension (OIE), sensors of all kinds can also be synchronized with the scan system. The overall solution can be controlled via a common user interface.

Blackbird developed the SCB and tested its use in several pilot projects to offer its customers a smaller but still industry-suitable solution. The feedback of the users was consistently positive. Weighing 37 kg, the new controller solution is comparably light weight, it can be comfortably wall mounted and therefore saves valuable space. The interfaces are accessible from below, which allows basically a plug and play mode installation. The controller can be connected and commissioned without additional pre-settings and driver installations.

The function scope of the new controller is reduced to specific needs and it is outstandingly qualified, for example, for welding applications in the electrical mobility environment and for the on-the-fly operation. It was possible to lower the energy consumption to a minimum through the performance-applicable selection of components. The high performance processor guarantees an efficient data processing and program handling. In case of limited space availability, the SCB can therefore also be used as an alternative to the larger SCU-3 sister.

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