Schweissen & Schneiden, which translates to ‘welding and cutting’, is one of the most important shows for automotive technicians looking to peruse the latest and greatest in these fields. Held only once every four years, it virtually guarantees that this will be no mere rehash of shows past; instead, the products on display will likely be new to even the most knowledgeable of trade practitioners.

The ‘Olympics of Welding Technology’

With a strapline that emphasizes the once-every-four-years format, the S&S trade fair is widely regarded as the most important showcase of welding technology. For more than 50 years, global welding know-how and the world market have met here to view equipment that covers products, processes, services and machines. This latest event, the 17th in the series, will be held from September 12th – 19th at Messe Essen, Germany. In 2005, S&S attracted 1,010 exhibitors and 57,749 visitors – 22% of the latter placing orders while at the fair. Estimates of total spend were put at over EUR1 billion.

At the last event, display items encompassed the whole world of welding: full plants and equipment for joining, cutting and coating metallic and non-metallic materials and composites, heat treatment techniques, demonstrations of fully-automated plant technologies, health and safety devices, and quality assurance equipment, to name just a few areas that might interest carmakers.

If improving production efficiency in chassis and bodyin- white is an identifiable route to increasing margins in your company, then a visit to Messe Essen for the Schweissen & Schneiden fair will be time well spent. The following is just a sample of what some select companies will have on display.

Trumpf, Hall 3.0, Stand 154

In spite of weakening market demand over the period 2008 – ‘09, which necessitated a cut in flex-time and working hours in its industrial laser manufacturing arm, Trumpf is still expecting to post profits for the same period. “Flexible tools that allow us to quickly adapt production and working hours to match demand have so far proven their value,” said Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, President of Trumpf Group. “We reacted quickly to the global economic crisis and were able to reduce our costs and achieved an acceptable income before taxes during the past fiscal year.”

Further adding to Trumpf ’s upbeat outlook is a range of new products, which includes TruDisk and TruDiode lasers. TruDisk offers a power output of up to 16kW, double the output per disk and beam quality of 2, 4 and 8 mm*mrad. Featuring a compact design, the 4kW class requires 60% less floorspace, enabling manufacturers to further reduce the number of components. Factor in the anticipated service life of these units and investment and operating costs can be considerably reduced.

The direct-diode TruDiode lasers produce a high-quality beam, which even at lower power outputs in the multikilowatt range are equivalent to that of a lamp-pumped Nd:YAG laser. This makes them the choice for welding applications now performed with lamp-pumped models, while also being up to 40% more energy efficient. The TruDiode lasers further offer a modular, space-saving construction, making it easier to integrate the lasers into an existing production system.

Carl Cloos, Hall 3.0, Stand 547

The 2009 Schweissen & Schneiden fair at Messe Essen will see Carl Cloos Schweisstechnik present a range of innovative welding products and robotic technologies.

Of particular note is the Laser Hybrid welding head, which features a seven-axis robot for optimum torch and laser orientation during the MSG Laser Hybrid high capacity process. This further offers easy tracking of the weld seam, even when changing welding direction, while coupling of the laser beam in the MSG torch position is said to be guaranteed. This is designed to prevent welding interruptions at the contours, ensuring shorter cycle times. Even with laser capacities of up to 20kW, the new machine returns improved power usage.

Cloos will also unveil the new CPST-20 kN workpiece positioner, designed to optimise positioning performance for robotic welding, particularly with steel. The new positioner is equipped with integrated, flexible clamping technology and can accept various shapes and lengths of steel product. The control is freely-programmable, and can be integrated with the Qirox robot controller. The workpiece positioner is said to be an economic choice, even for small batch sizes.

Further, the newly-developed, synergy-controlled AC pulsed arc power sources in the Qineo Champ series will be on display. With power output ranging from 350 to 600A, these can handle MIG/MAG and MIG brazing, but are best suited to cold process (CP), high-capacity welding of thin plate. Operation involves calling up the curve characteristics, with the welding process made hotter or colder by means of a rotary knob. The CP process is characterised by a low heat input into the weld seam, minimising component distortion, while achieving higher weld speeds, even with aluminium. The new Vari Drive feature is said to offer trouble-free welding of coated plate, preventing drop short-circuit and reducing spatter formation.

Fronius, Hall 3.0, Stand 302/304

Fronius has announced that it plans to have some ‘special surprises’ on offer at this year’s Schweissen & Schneiden exposition, including products for both manual and automated arc welding, together with new equipment for resistance spot welding.

Focusing on the themes of precision, reproducibility and availability, Fronius is planning on having its new generation of arc welding systems at Messe Essen. According to the company, its joining experts have perfected a resistance spot welding system using continuous process tapes and will be demonstrating their results at the show with practical examples. The stand itself will reportedly take the form of a software-supported welding environment. “I am positive that we will impress visitors with our depth of innovation and its scope, not to mention our impressive product range,” commented Wolfgang Lattner, Head of the Welding Technology Division.

One piece of equipment on display will be a new version of TimeTwin, featuring higher deposition rates in high-performance welding when joining thick sheets. Using the CMT process, Fronius claims that this returns virtually spatter-free welds, while heat input is pushed further towards the ‘cold’ end of the scale. This results in less material distortion, improved process control and the ability to join materials that could not previously be used in conjunction with arc welding.

3M, Hall 1.0, Stand 217

With the slogan ‘Optimum comfort, reliable welder protection’, 3M has announced plans to how its new Speedglas 9100 welding shield at the upcoming Schweissen & Schneiden fair.

The new shield features an all-new head suspension that profiles any head shape for a secure and stable fit, without having to make the headband unnecessarily tight. The shield is deeper and wider, providing greater coverage of the ears, neck and sides of the head. In addition, the Speedglas 9100 has a lowered pivot point, resulting in improved balance and stability.

The extra-large Speedglas 9100XX filter is 30% larger than other filters in the range, further offering an increased range of options, increased versatility and greater optical control, all at what is described as an ‘entry-level price’.

Sperian Welding Protection, Hall 3.0, Stand 318

Users have indicated that in the factory environment, comfort is the main factor in the use of protective eye equipment. Sperian has responded to this by launching its DuraMaxx range of high-performance goggles that combine comfort, anti-fog, ease of use and durability.

Tested in several countries, the goggles’ ocular ergonomics offer perfect vision and enhanced protection. Using Durastreme technology, the lenses are specially treated with high-performance coatings, anti-fog on the inside and antiscratch on the outside.

Additionally, DuraMaxx goggles have an elastic headband made from a soft elastomer, with pivoting attachments that adjust perfectly to the face to ensure optimal fit. The goggles come with a choice of five different lenses (clear, gray, yellow, IR3 and IR5), providing a solution for various applications.

Sperian believes it is vital to build awareness about eye protection and will continue to encourage workers to use goggles and eye protection.