Differences Between Ultrasonic & Electron Beam Robotic Welding
Ultrasonic and electron beam welding are two non-conventional welding methods that can be successfully automated with industrial robots. Welding automation has expanded outside of arc and spot welding applications. Ultrasonic and EBW have become popular alternatives to traditional robotic welding processes.
What is ultrasonic welding?
Ultrasonic welds are produced through ultrasonic vibrations that are generated from an electric current. The heat emitted from the ultrasonic vibrations melts workpieces allowing parts to be fused together once solidified. Ultrasonic welding can be automated with six-axis robots. The Yaskawa Motoman HP20D is ideal for ultrasonic welding automation.
What is electron beam welding?
As the name implies, electron beam welding involves a beam of high velocity electrons. During welding, kinetic energy emitted from the electron beam is converted to heat. The heat generated melts the workpiece with the lower melting point. The solid workpiece is then applied to the weld pool, permanently joining it to the other workpiece. EBW applications can be automated with the FANUC Arcmate 120ic and ABB IRB 2400, among many other types of welding robots.
Do either of these welding methods require specialized equipment?
Yes, both of these applications require specialized equipment outside of that traditionally used for robotic welding. Ultrasonic welding requires an ultrasonic actuator for the EOAT. While EBW requires an electron beam welding supply and a vacuum chamber.
What materials can be used for ultrasonic welding?
Ultrasonic welding robots are unique in that they can weld both metal and plastic workpieces.
What materials can be used for EBW?
Electron beam welding robots can weld most types of metals as well as those of any thickness. Common metals welded with EBW robots include steel, titanium, and copper.
What industries use ultrasonic welding robots?
Ultrasonic welding robots can mainly be found in the automotive and electronics industries. Vehicle interior components, bumper attachments, door panels, and sensors are commonly welded with ultrasonic welding robots. Manufacturers in both industries find the plastic welding capabilities of these articulated robots advantageous.
What industries use electron beam welding robots?
Electron beam welding robots are popular for workpieces requiring precise, intricate welds. These six axis robots are frequently used to automate EBW in the aerospace, medical equipment, and oil and gas industries.
What advantages does ultrasonic welding provide over EBW?
Both ultrasonic welding and EBW robots can significantly decrease cycle times. However, the fast speeds and reduced idle times of ultrasonic welding robots gives them an edge over EBW. The FANUC M-20ia can complete a weld in 500 milliseconds or less with the ultrasonic method. Idle time is reduced since tooling warmup and part cooling are not necessary. The ability to weld plastics is another advantage ultrasonic welding holds over EBW. This gives manufacturers greater flexibility with their materials and can reduce material costs.
What advantages does EBW provide over ultrasonic welding?
While EBW robots cannot weld plastics, they can weld dissimilar metals together. This is advantageous as inexpensive metals can be welded to expensive metals, helping to reduce costs. The ability to weld dissimilar metals also provides manufacturers with greater versatility in their productions. Another advantage is the vacuum chamber environment prevents contamination of the weld by protecting the weld pool, ensuring high-quality welds.
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