Maintaining Your Robotic Weld Torch
Those familiar with industrial robots know routine preventative maintenance is crucial to ensuring the proper operation and longevity of any robotic manipulator. Routine maintenance does not just start and end with the industrial robot arm. Other components of the robotic system will require maintenance as well. For a robotic welding system, properly maintaining the weld torch is just as important as maintaining the FANUC Arcmate 120ic and other arc welding robots. The weld torch is the tooling needed to be integrated with the Motoman MA1400 in order to join metals together. Failure to properly maintain the weld torch can hinder the success of an automated welding system.
Why Maintaining the Weld Torch is ImportantA weld torch that is not routinely cleaned can be detrimental to a welding process. Weld spatter can build up inside the torch. Spatter buildup can block the flow of the torch or the shielding gas causing poor quality welds. Downtime will be increased as more time will be needed to remove the spatter buildup. Failure to clean and maintain the weld torch can also cause consumables to be used more frequently which will increase production costs.
When a weld torch is properly maintained the buildup of spatter and debris inside the torch is prevented through routine cleaning. This ensures proper flow from the weld torch with every workpiece. The loss of shielding gas is also prevented and allows for the weld pool to be properly protected. Weld quality remains high and consistent with every part. Routine cleaning of the weld torch can prolong the life of consumables and the torch itself. Malfunctioning is less likely to occur as regular maintenance ensures the torch remains in good condition. The ABB IRB 1600 is able to weld efficiently and keep productivity rates high with regular torch maintenance.
How to Properly Maintain a Weld TorchThe best way to maintain the weld torch of your robotic welding system is to integrate a reamer, also known as a robotic torch cleaning station. A robotic reamer is a mechanical cleaning device that is typically integrated with robotic arc welding systems. Reamers automate the torch cleaning process, ensuring the weld torch is cleaned after a certain number of parts, usually between 5 to 15. Not only do reamers automate the torch cleaning process, they also speed it up. Manual torch cleaning can take 5 minutes or more. Reamers can clean torches within 5 seconds, keeping productivity high for articulated robots.
There are two types of torch cleaning stations that can be integrated with welding robot manipulators. They are analog and digital reamers. Analog reamers utilize an air supply and multi conductor cord set. While digital reamers use a network cable which sends commands to an IP address. Digital reamers allow for more functions including clamping and lifting. Analog reamers are only capable of start, spray, and stop functions. The exact type of reamer you choose will depend upon how advanced your need the torch cleaning station to be. Regardless of the reamer type, reamers should be mounted close to the welding factory robot to ensure proper access to the weld torch.