Twenty years without a day off


In the late 1990s, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation (KMM) implemented a Kawasaki J series robot to weld the frame sides of Kawasaki Vulcan 800 motorcycles. More than 20 years later, this reliable robot was still running in KMM’s facility, welding different parts for a more in-demand product.

During its lifetime, this robot has run for more than 39,000 hours, the equivalent of 20 years’ worth of eight-hour shifts. It only logged 57 maintenance entries and showed flexibility by working on two different welding lines.

“The robot paid for itself in less than two years back in the ‘90s, so we’ve basically been using it for free for more than 20 years,” said KMM Chief Engineer Scott Gordon. “It really helps with the capital expense budget when you don’t have to replace something frequently.”

When KMM stopped making the Vulcan 800 motorcycle in 2004, it was able to reprogram the robot to weld steering shafts in a product that was steeply growing in popularity: ATVs. “We were making up to 60,000 (ATVs) per year, and they all had a steering shaft,” Scott added. “So, it was a very busy robot when it was first implemented.”

Manufacturers need to be agile enough to react to the ever-changing needs of their market. Kawasaki’s reliable robots can be reprogrammed using AS Language to tackle different applications, giving them the versatility they need to keep up with demand.

Kawasaki’s state-of-the-art BA and R series welding robots match the quality of an expert welder on their best day – every day. Each robot is equipped as standard with welding-specific software for quick and easy programming of the process path. Adaptive welding functionality is available to modify robot position, weave pattern and speed during welding to fill variable joints, which yields high-quality welds every cycle.

Utilizing the J series robot helped KMM cut costs, improve product quality, increase efficiency, and adapt to market needs. “The robot just ran and ran and ran,” said Gordon. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but it never squeaked.”


About Author

Comments are closed.