The essential guide

ROBOT WELDING

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Benefits of robotic welding

Productivity

A robot typically works between two or more work stations. This means that during the robot welding cycle the operator is unloading a welded assembly and then loads new components to a welding fixture. Because there is less handling compared to a manual weld cycle the robot achieves much higher levels of arc-on time. The robot also moves very quickly between the joints and this yields a further saving in cycle time. Typically a robot system will increase output by a factor of two to four. This depends on the nature of welding. An assembly with lots of short welds can be produced with the most time savings. The cost savings that robot welding brings, can help companies to be more competitive and beat off competition from low cost manufacturing countries in Eastern Europe or China. In order to assess what sort of productivity improvements can be achieved it would be appropriate to compare manual welding times with robot welding times.

Read more about estimating welding cycle times >>>

Quality

The robot has a very high repeatable accuracy (± 0.04 mm) and excellent path following accuracy. The robot presents the welding gun at the correct welding angle, welding speed and distance. The high level of integration to the welding equipment ensures that optimum welding conditions can be used for each and every joint. The end result is consistent high quality output, day in day out, year in year with reduced cost for rework, scrap or removal of weld splatter.

Consumable costs

It is up to the judgment of a manual welder to weld to the correct standard, but often the weld is oversize. A robot however, always welds to the correct length and size of weld that it has been programmed to produce. This means that some potential savings in wire consumption can be made. If for example a manual welder welds a 5 mm fillet, where only a 4 mm fillet is required, the savings in welding wire alone will be a staggering 36%!

Labour

In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to employ manual welders. There tends to be a certain amount of staff turnover and this of course carries a cost for recruitment and training. When labour is an issue companies often find themselves working overtime or having to employ additional contract labour to meet demands and this can have a serious impact on production costs. If products cannot be supplied to the end customer, penalties may be incurred or future business may be at risk. Whilst there will always be a requirement for manual welding, companies that invest in robotic automation are much less dependent on manual welding.

Safety

A robot welding system addresses health and safety issues associated with dangerous welding fumes and exposure to arc-flash. Companies can reduce the risk of their employees claiming compensation if they are affected by the hazardous working environment.

Flexibility

The robot can be used to weld many different products and allows companies to consider Just In Time production. By reducing work in progress and stock levels, savings can be made due to fact that less value is added to stock levels in terms of labour, transport and storage costs.

Floor space

Compared to the same output from manual welding bays the robot requires less floor space.

Robotic welding of exhausts

Robot welding of chassis