Benefits of Welding Automation
Welding automation involves converting a manual welding process into an automatic one. The goal of welding automation is to reduce or eliminate human involvement to create a more efficient process. Welding automation that involves some human interaction is consider semi-automatic while fully automatic processes are those that rely entirely on automated machinery. Machinery used to automate welding varies as both fixed machinery and industrial robots can be used. In recent years industrial robots have become the primary mechanism for automated welding. The FANUC Arcmate 100ic is ideal for automating arc welding applications. The ABB IRB 6640 is often implemented for spot welding automation. Welding is the most common application for industrial robots with nearly half of all active robots used for welding automation.
There are several key benefits of welding automation. They include:
- • Better Weld Quality - Automating welding applications will significantly improve weld quality. Industrial robots improve weld quality through their accuracy and high repeatability. Articulated robots are programmed and controlled to follow specific parameters, never deviating from the application path. They are able to replicate their work over and over resulting in not only higher quality but also consistent welds. The accuracy and high repeatability of the Motoman MA1440, produces better welds than those of an experienced welder.
- • Increased Productivity - Industrial robots can operate twenty-four hours a day with little to no idle time. A single FANUC Arcmate 120ic can handle the workload of multiple workers. Their operation speed reduces cycle times. All of these factors allow for greater throughput and higher productivity rates.
- • Less Waste and Rework - The costs associated with materials and consumables can add up quickly which is why it is important to conserve them and waste as little as possible. Welding automation with industrial robots reduces waste. The accuracy of robots prevents errors that often cause wasted materials and lead to rework in order to correct those errors. The efficiency of robots ensures consumables are used conservatively, reducing the frequency in which they are replaced.
- • Reduced Post-Weld Cleanup - Post-weld cleanup can significantly increase cycle times. Taking time to remove spatter or slag from workpieces can add up quickly. The accuracy and precision of robots can reduce the amount of spatter or slag produced during robotic welding. Some cleanup may still be necessary but the with higher quality welds from welding automation, weld seams are cleaner and smoother.
- • Lower Costs - While welding automation may seem like a big investment initially, in the long run it will help your company save money. Welding automation reduces labor and production costs. There are no salaries to pay, while material waste, utilities, and cycle times are reduced. There are also more affordable options for automating welding such as investing in a used ABB 1600 or another second-hand welding robot. Investing in a used robot reduces the upfront cost, allowing buyers to capture their ROI sooner.
- • Greater Flexibility - Greater manufacturing flexibility can be obtained when automating welding with robots. Robots are multipurpose machines with the ability to automate several welding applications. The Motoman EA1900N can perform automated TIG welding one day and be reprogrammed for MIG the next. There is no downtime for training, allowing users to easily change applications.