Benefits of Automating Electron Beam Welding with Robots
Traditional welding processes automated by industrial robots typically include those that fall under the arc welding and spot welding categories. The advancement of robotic technology has expanded the scope of welding robots, making them capable of automating less conventional welding processes. One of those welding processes is EBW or electron beam welding. Electron beam welding joins metals together through a beam of high velocity electrons in a vacuum-controlled environment. Robots capable of automating this process include the Yaskawa Motoman MA1900and the FANUC Arcmate 120ic. Below is a list of the main benefits of automating electron beam welding with robots.
- • Weld dissimilar metals - Electron beam welding robots are capable of welding dissimilar metals together. For instance, the FANUC Arcmate100ic can weld a copper workpiece to a stainless steel workpiece. This allows for greater flexibility and is more cost-effective as inexpensive metals can be welded to expensive metals. EBW robots focus on melting the metal with the lower melting point, which allows dissimilar metals to be joined together.
- • Weld different metal thicknesses - Automating electron beam welding with robots makes welding metals of varying thicknesses together possible. A thin metal workpiece can be welded to a thick metal workpiece. EBW robots can be deployed for welding a wide variety of metal workpieces as they are not limited by thickness as opposed to other robotic welding processes.
- • Decrease cycle times - Automating electron beam welding with robots will decrease cycle times for greater throughput and productivity. Industrial robots operate at fast speeds and move from workpiece to workpiece without delays. Arc welding robots can weld up to 30 mm per second with the electron beam method. Not only are cycle times reduced, but they also become consistent with robotic automation.
- • Improved weld quality - Automating an electron beam application prevents the chance of human error since human involvement is eliminated. Articulated robots operate with great precision resulting in extremely accurate welds. Eliminating human errors combined with the accuracy of robots will improve weld quality to ensure clean, durable, long-lasting weld seams which will improve the overall quality of the finished product.
- • Highly Repeatable - When mass producing products it is important all products are uniform to one another and meet the same standards. Automating electron beam welding with robots creates a highly repeatable process to ensure all welds are the same and do not deviate from one another. Six axis robots are designed for high repeatability to ensure application outcomes are the same across all parts. Having a highly repeatable process allows for consistent and predictable productivity yields, weld quality, costs, and cycle times.
- • Weld reflective metals - Welding highly reflective metals such as copper and platinum metals is possible through the automation of EBW with robots. Other welding processes can have a difficult time welding reflective metals as they can repel the heat source. Welding robots are able to concentrate the beam of electrons on reflective metals allowing them to be melted.
- • Weld delicate metals - Delicate metals that are susceptible to distortion under high heat can be welded with EBW robots. EBW robots are able to control and localize the narrow weld zone so minimal heat is applied to the workpiece. This prevents distortion and additional post-weld finishing.