Nissan robot 'breakthrough' streamlines parts production for retired models

The robots can shape sheet steel without expensive stamping dies.

Nissan has announced a manufacturing 'breakthrough' that uses a pair of robots to shape sheet steel without expensive stamping dies.

Known as dual-sided dieless forming, the technology essentially places a robotic arm on each side of a steel sheet to manipulate the plate into the desired shape. The arms are synchronized, pressing from both sides with mirrored diamond-coated tools that slide across the steel without the need for lubrication.
The company admits the approach is not an entirely new idea. Previous attempts have been stymied by challenges in programming two robots to operate synchronously with consistent quality, however. Single-sided forming has been more reliable but only for simpler parts with less complex shapes.
The only catch is time; the robots take much longer to shape a piece of steel sheet than a traditional stamping press used for mass production. The technology is consequently better suited for low-volume parts production.
Nissan says it could use the new robotic forming technique to build small-batch parts for older vehicles that are no longer in production.

Read more!