Benefits of Automating Plasma Welding with Robots
Plasma welding is considered to be one of the highest quality arc welding methods. It can be used to weld just about any metal type while producing strong and precise weld seams. This welding method has also proven to be highly successful when automated by welding robots. Welding automation continues to be the trend in metal fabrication, especially with plasma welding. Some of the top benefits of automating plasma welding with robots include:
- • Offsets High Startup Costs - One of the downfalls of plasma welding is the high startup costs due to the welding equipment needed. However, automating plasma welding with a robot can offset the initial cost by allowing manufacturers to reduce their production costs in the long term. Welding robots increase productivity, improve quality, and reduce waste. With a more efficient welding process combined with a reduction in labor costs, companies will be able to obtain their ROI quickly, save more money in the long run, and eventually be more profitable. There is also the option of purchasing a used robotic plasma welding system. Buying a used FANUC Arcmate 120ic along with used welding equipment significantly reduces the initial cost to automate while still providing the same benefits as a new robotic welder.
- • Reliable Quality - Automating plasma welding reduces the amount of human interaction needed allowing for fewer uncontrollable variables. The Motoman MA1400 provides precise control of the welding torch, arc, heat applied, as well as other variables of PAW. Controlling welding variables will consistently produce better quality welds. All welds will be uniform from part to part. Manufacturers can be confident weld quality will be reliable with plasma welding robots.
- • Clean Welds - Since arc welding robots are able to control application variables, the welds produced are clean, smooth, and often unnoticeable. Plasma welding robots are ideal for working with parts that need not only strong welds, by aesthetic ones as well. These would include any parts where the weld seam will be visible. In addition, the precise welds produced by robots reduce or eliminate the need to clean the weld. Welding robots produce less spatter, reducing the need for additional finishing processes.
- • Faster - Automating plasma welding with robots will significantly speed up cycle times. Six axis robots operate at much faster speeds than humans with the ability to operate all day. They move from part to part without delay, allowing robots to weld more parts in less time than a welder. Their accuracy and high repeatability reduce errors, eliminating the need to re-work or remove spatter from welds. This allows parts to move through the welding process and onto the next production step quickly, reducing bottlenecks and improving cycle times of the entire manufacturing process. Products are able to reach consumers sooner, saving costly production time.
- • Capability to Automate Plasma Cutting - Plasma welding robots can easily switch between plasma welding and automated plasma cutting applications using the same equipment for each. The ABB IRB 4600-20 can prepare workpieces by cutting them and then quickly convert to welding those workpieces. One articulated robot is able to complete multiple steps, streamlining operations for more efficient manufacturing.