Oxidation buildup is one of the challenges faced when trying to spot weld aluminum. Even when creating a good weld, oxidation can build up on the weld tips.

“Buildup of oxidation causes inconsistencies in the welds,” Andre Young said. Young is a Business Development Manager for Automotive OEM and Tier 1 at KUKA Robotics.

According to Young, each OEM and Tier 1 manufacturer of sheet metal has its techniques to combat oxidation issues. Sometimes, they will abrade the surface to remove the oxidation layer, and other people will perform a chemical cleaning on the aluminum. No matter the method, over time, oxidation buildup will require tip dressing to clean up the spot-welding tip.

Another tool in the tool belt for spot welders is KUKA Robotics’ RoboSpin, application software that executes rotational motion about the TCP (tool center point) during the welding process.

It prevents adherence of the tips to the metal, which improves weld quality and extends tip life.

“The rotation performs the abrading as it creates the weld and wipes the tips clean as it’s rotating,” Young said. “You’re getting good contact with the aluminum, reducing that resistance at the surface, directing energy to where you want it and creating a good weld.”

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