QM Systems Body-in-White Robotic Assembly Line

Body-in-White robotic composite assembly

A case study demonstrating the use of Robotics to produce composite structures for the Automotive industry

QM Systems, have designed and manufactured a 50m body-in-white production line at our site in Worcester, with final install and commissioning taking place on on site at Penso in Coventry.

This flexible solution allows the build of several van body variants, producing a finished van from 15 panels every 42 minutes.

The production line utilises 4 ABB Robots, 2 of which are mounted on a 20m 7th axis. Working in unison they handle framing gates, composite panels and the application of adhesives.

This line is part of the Flexible Lightweight Architectures for Volume Applications (FLAVA) programme, formed in 2017 by Penso and Solvay. In conjunction with Mercedes-Benz Vans the group was awarded Government funding as part of a £16.3 million investment to accelerate the use of high volume lightweight composite structures within the automotive industry.
Using this technology has enabled Penso to provide a wide range of vehicles to meet demands in the home delivery sector, reducing typical cargo body mass by up to 40% within the 3.5T GVW range. This gives huge savings in fuel economy, labour and production efficiency.

System Process

  • Carbon fibre panels, in magazines are presented to the production line
  • 2 robots select a panel and move it to an indexing station
  • Panels are selected once indexed and moved to an adhesive station
  • A 2-part adhesive is applied around the circumference of the panel
  • Panels are moved into framing stations, where they are held in place and cured
  • The process is repeated with a total of 15 panels
  • Modular conveyor system carries the carbon fibre structure through the assembly process

Integrated systems

  • 2x ABB 7600 robots
  • 2x ABB 4600 adhesive application robots
  • 2KM 2-part adhesive dosing system
  • Balluff I/O and sensors
  • Siemens PLC and HMIs

In Partnership With