Strategies for Optimization of Spot Welding Sequence with Respect to Geometrical Variation in Sheet Metal Assemblies
Paper in proceedings, 2010
During the assembly process of sheet metal parts, a lot of factors affect the final geometrical quality. It is important to have knowledge about the characteristics of as many as possible of those factors, not only to be able to reduce their effect, but also to be able to include those factors in variation simulations. Those tolerance simulations are crucial tools in early stages in automotive industry in order to predict the outcome in critical dimensions and it is of course important to have as good accuracy as possible in the simulations. One of the factors affecting the final geometry is the spot welding sequence. In this paper it is shown how the spot welding sequence affects the amount of geometrical variation in a sheet metal assembly. A method for including the welding sequence in tolerance simulations is described. Of course, it is desirable to find an optimal sequence, i.e. a sequence that minimizes the geometrical variation in the final assembly. Since this is a fast growing problem - the number of possible sequences for N welding points is N!, it is not practicable to test all possible sequences. In this work some different strategies for finding an optimal sequence are tested on several industrial case studies. The tested strategies are based on general guidelines, on minimizing variation in each welding step respectively calculations of the movements in unwelded points in each step. The strategies based on general guidelines was not successful, neither was the one based on minimization of the variation in each step. The strategy based on movements in the unwelded points seems however promising. It resulted in the best or one of the better sequences for all of the eight tested industrial case studies. ©2010 by ASME.