Automated robotic welding: when and why to invest
Modern machine shops can benefit extensively by automating the welding processes. The transition, however, turns out to be challenging, leading several machine shop owners to wonder if it was even worth it.
There are numerous questions that the shop has to consider before investing in automated robotic welding: do the manufactured parts suit an automated welding system? Does the shop have the know-how or the will to add that skill to the shop floor?
If the answers are positive, then it’s worth taking a look in the advantages that this technology carries with the investment:
1. Ease to use. It’s simply easier to program parts on robots today.
2. Cost. The cost of everything. from clamps for fixturing to the light curtains required to protect operators, has come down.
3. Pre-engineered options. There is a variety of reliable pre-engineered systems available on the market. They are fairly easy to set up and can be running in a few hours.
4. Safety built in. Modern robots are designed to be safe from the start. Current technology features light scanners that monitor working areas and stop the robot from moving anytime they encounter an external object.
5. Monitoring and maintenance power. Built-in monitoring software is designed to predict when maintenance is required and consequently reduce downtime.
6. Upstream parts are ready. For shops using the latest laser cutting and CNC bending technology, parts are prepared in such a precise fashion that it should be straightforward to automate the welding process.
Automated robotic welding can bring substantial improvements to the machine shops that wisely identify the parts that suit this technology and make sure that other upstream processes are ready to work in concert with it.