Precision at the Smallest of Scales

Automated Resistance Welding Improves Small-Device Manufacturing


Photos courtesy of Amada Miyachi America

Traditionally, resistance welding has been a relatively manual process with an operator physically holding or positioning a part into or under the resistance weld head and then pressing a foot pedal to execute the weld. This has held true for large-scale product manufacturers as well as those in the micro and medical device industries. Automating this process, in a manner similar to automated laser welding systems, can be of great benefit where throughput, accuracy and process repeatability are critical. This proved to be the case for one of ILT’s medical device customers.


For 15 years, a globally recognized medical device manufacturer relied on ILT’s laser welding systems. But when the materials involved in the development of a new product called for high-precision resistance welding, the manufacturer called ILT, asking for an automated solution.


For the first time in its history, ILT integrated the necessary power supplies, weld heads, displacement monitors and accessories to build an automated system that could accurately process small-scale resistance welding. These new systems were heavily tested in house; ultimately, three working systems were delivered to the manufacturer. “We’ve always integrated laser-based applications into our systems,” says ILT Project Manager Jim Jacklen, “although really, everything that makes us exceptional laser integrators also makes us exceptional integrators of non-laser applications—like resistance welding.”


The resistance welding systems from ILT were integrated into production successfully, improving the manufacturer’s throughput, accuracy and process repeatability. Additionally, each system included all of the extras—including the HMI-2200 control software, data collection, part positioning, reporting, and system support—that manufacturers have come to expect from ILT systems. “Our software and our service have always set us apart,” says Jacklen, “and both come with every system we build—including those with resistance welding capabilities. We want people to know we have this capability. We’ve done it, and we’ve been successful.”