Fully Automatic Welding with Robots

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
Welding automation is the process of using controlled, programmable machines to automatically perform a welding application. The main goal of any automated system is to reduce or eliminate entirely the need for human involvement. Welding automation can be broken down into two types, semiautomatic or fully automatic. Those looking to completely eliminate human interaction with the welding process should consider fully automatic welding with robots.

What is fully automatic welding?

Fully automatic welding is used to continuously repeat welding in manufacturing. With this method there is no involvement from an operator. Machinery is used for each step of the process including loading parts, welding, inspection, and removing welded parts from the work area. Fully automatic welding completely optimizes a welding application. Arc welding and spot welding applications are the most common for fully automatic welding, but laser welding, ultrasonic welding, and electron beam welding can also be completely automated.

How to achieve fully automatic welding with robots

Industrial robots can be used from start to finish of your welding application for fully automatic welding. In order to achieve fully automatic welding a combination of material handling and welding robots will be used. Material handling robots are utilized to load and unload parts from the weld cell as well as transfer parts to the next workstation. While a welding robot is responsible for performing the actual welding process.

Instead of an operator or another piece of equipment loading and unloading parts, the Yaskawa MH50 or another material handling robot will load parts to and from the weld cell. The MH50 can also hold parts during welding, replacing expensive fixturing. Once a part has been loaded and is in place the Motoman MA1440 can begin welding. When the weld is complete the material handling robot will remove the part from the weld cell.

Why implement fully automatic welding?

The main reasons to implement fully automatic welding with robots include to increase productivity, reduce downtime, lower costs, and to improve quality. Industrial robots operate at fast speeds and can run twenty-four-hours a day. Faster operating speeds and longer operation hours mean more parts can be welded in less time, increasing throughput for higher productivity.

A welding system that relies solely on industrial robots will have significantly less downtime than one that is semiautomatic or entirely manual. Six axis robots are reliable and consistent in their operation. There are no unplanned delays, stoppages, or breaks. Parts can be loaded and unloaded quickly, with the FANUC R-2000ib or another material handling robot, preventing idle time.

Eliminating human involvement with welding stops errors which prevents scrapped materials and rework. Consumables are conserved with articulated robots due to their efficiency. Robots can also save on utilities with their energy efficiency and ability to operate in dim lighting in non-climate-controlled environments. All of these factors lead to significantly lower production costs.

A fully automatic welding system will also produce higher quality welds and products overall. Robots operate with controlled, precise movements which allows for extremely high accuracy resulting in higher quality welds.

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