Flux cored welding, also referred to as FCAW, is an arc welding process in which a consumable electrode containing flux and a constant voltage is continuously fed to complete a weld. The FCAW process can be fully automated with the integration of robots like the FANUC Arc Mate 100IC with a welding supply such as the Lincoln Powerwave i400.
Originally developed as an alternative to shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), flux cored welding robots do not require the use of stick electrodes unlike with SMAW applications. FCAW robots allow manufacturers more freedom with welding applications as they are suitable to fuse a variety of metals including: mild and low alloy steels, stainless steel, some high nickel alloys, and some wear facing/surfacing alloys.
Flux cored welding robots are an attractive welding solution for manufacturers because they do not require the use of a shielding gas. This not only saves on costs but results in strong welds that are made to last. The flux during the welding process acts as a protective shield against any atmospheric gases. This prevents oxidation of the metals being welded which can weaken the bond. Flux cored welding robots such as the ABB IRB 2400 leave metals in a pure or near pure state to solidify, resulting in a secure weld. The flux further protects the weld from any unfavorable environmental conditions that may impact the weld such as dust or wind.
Adding a Yaskawa Motoman MA1400 with a Miller Auto-Axcess 450 will also increase welding speed since the electrode is continuously fed to the robot. Faster welding speed means cycle time will decrease since flux cored welding robots are much more productive than human workers. The more productive a manufacturer is the sooner they will see their ROI and their profits grow.
Flux cored welding applications can be difficult to learn and often companies have to spend time and money to train workers. This welding process further requires a great amount of precision and does not offer much room for deviation. It can be difficult for a human worker to produce consistent results over and over without deviating from the course. With robots, they are easily programmed to meet any flux cored welding application needs. They also perform these welding applications with extreme accuracy that is replicated with every weld. Used industrial robots like the KUKA KR 6 produce flux cored welds with better mechanical properties and very few defects. This ensures manufacturers their parts are uniform and meet a high standard of quality.
Not only do flux cored welding robots offer flexibility to manufacturers with the variety of metals they can weld, but also with their ability to be an all-position process. With the right consumable electrodes (filler metal) these robots can work at a variety of angles. Flux cored welding robots also offer the flexibility to fit into difficult spaces. It can be challenging for human workers complete manual welds as they do not have the same amount of reach as robots.
The automation of flux cored welding applications with robotics provides manufacturers with more freedom than ever before. FCAW robots are advancing industrial fields with their precision, reduction of costs, and high quality results.
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