The 20/20 on Machine Vision
We look at machine vision: what it is, how it functions in the future-facing industrial environment, and whether it’s right for your business.
Over the last 25 years, Facteon has developed revolutionary laser welding technologies. To ensure our customers are always competitive, we have continued to develop and refine many proprietary techniques and processes. Whether you’re operating in the appliance, automotive or any other industry, there are three key laser weld requirements that our customers and their customers expect. Superior mechanical performance ensures the safety of the product in the market. Corrosion resistance is another essential element that contributes to product safety. Particularly in the production of high-end product, a cosmetically appealing weld is central to a customer’s perception of product quality. Whether your customers demand a weld that’s strong; corrosion resistant; cosmetically appealing; or a combination of the above, Facteon has developed proven technology that delivers every time. The failure of a laser weld in the market can be catastrophic. If your business utilises or is considering laser welding technology, read on.
A strong laser weld prevents failure under load or at speed. This is a key requirement for our customers in the appliance industry, such as Fisher & Paykel Appliances and Haier. As a washing machine drum can spin at up to 1,400 revolutions per minute, a laser weld failure with such forces at play would be catastrophic. Irrespective of industry, the main concern for manufacturers is that a single, isolated incident in which a laser weld fails can result in product recalls, litigation and damage to your brand reputation on a grand scale. To ensure the structural integrity of our welds, we conduct rigorous testing at the machine commissioning phase. In completing Erickson and tensile testing, we assess whether the weld will split when load is applied directly to the join, during downstream post-processing or final operation by the end user. We regularly supply testing equipment and training to our customers for ongoing assessment of weld quality as their welding machine ages.
Backing our commitment to delivering strong laser welds is a Research and Development program. Currently, the R&D team is developing a weld monitoring system that assesses weld geometry and gives each weld a pass or fail grade, based on pre-defined quality standards. When utilised by a manufacturer, wastage of raw materials will be avoided as faulty product isn’t processed to completion. The system records data in real-time, allowing your QC team to immediately respond to downward trends. As this data is recorded and stored securely in the cloud, your team can access the information anywhere, any time. The ability to identify trends prevents downstream waste, loss of product yield and product recalls.
There are multiple factors that affect weld quality. These include weld speed, power and gas flows to the weld area during the process. Over the past two years, the focus of our R&D team has been on developing proprietary techniques to protect the weld during manufacture. An inadequately protected weld can show signs of corrosion following prolonged exposure to water and frequently changing conditions. This is often the case for home appliances, such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators. There are several different types of corrosion including surface and crevice. So, it’s not easy to protect against all of these. A weld at risk of corrosion often also lacks structural integrity and the desired cosmetic finish. For that reason, Facteon is developing technologies to assess the colour of a weld. If the weld is oxidized at the time of manufacture, it’s at higher risk of corrosion in future. As this information is collected and processed in real-time, you can avoid costly production line slowdowns and unnecessary wastage of raw materials. The flexibility of this system makes the technology well-suited to a range of applications, particularly in the appliance and automotive industries.
As technology develops, consumers come to expect a high standard of product. A slightly discoloured weld may have previously been acceptable. But now, our customers are finding that they need the latest technology to deliver strong but cosmetically appealing welds. Any areas of the product that are seen by the customer must have a pristine finish. Facteon has developed proprietary techniques to deliver a stronger weld that’s cosmetically appealing. Our R&D team have determined the key variables that must be controlled to meet this challenging need, which have driven the design of our latest generation of fibre welding machines. This results in a stronger weld with a higher quality finish and ultimately, signals a high-end product that’s manufactured to last.
Whether you operate in the appliance or automotive industry, Facteon’s proprietary welding technologies and techniques deliver superior welds every time. As the first in the world to develop a laser welding technology for the production of stainless steel washing machine drums in the early 1990’s, Facteon has a long history of innovating technology that changes the way our customers manufacture. We’re committed to staying ahead of the curve. That means our customers can remain competitive. Despite a rich history in the appliance sector, Facteon’s technology has the potential to revolutionise the operations of any factory that requires metal joining. Facteon’s dedicated R&D team works closely with our in-house Industrial IoT and machinery design experts to deliver smart, world-class welding technologies.
With our own manufacturing roots, Facteon often engages with customers in a Design for Manufacture capacity. Early engagement prevents your product development team from making costly design mistakes. We can work with your in-house experts to align your product design with the manufacturing possibilities. The Facteon team’s depth of experience in laser welding is unrivalled in Industry. If your operations require strong, corrosion resistant, cosmetically appealing welds, Facteon has the latest technology set to revolutionise your operations.