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Welding Automation

Friday, October 21, 2011
Friction welding, which uses rotational speed and upset pressure to provide friction heat, was developed in the Soviet Union. It is a specialized process and has applications only where a sufficient volume of similar parts is to be welded because of the initial expense for equipment and tooling. This process is called inertia welding.

Laser welding is one of the newest processes. The laser was originally developed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories as a communications device. Because of the tremendous concentration of energy in a small space, it proved to be a powerful heat source. It has been used for cutting metals and nonmetals. Continuous pulse equipment is available. The laser is finding welding applications in automotive metalworking operations.

Brief Summary:

1.Automated robotic arc welding systems are used in all types of manufacturing.

2.The consistency and repeatability of robotic welding systems can reduce production costs in various ways.

3.The robotic welding system's consistency and repeatability can also improve product quality. Repeatable travel speeds and torch angles generate a more consistent weld penetration and weld strength.

4.Robots can also help increase productivity.

5.An automated system achieves more throughput than a manual system, and robotically made welds are more consistent than those produced manually.

6.The design issues discussed in this article are critical to the success of any automated robotic welding system.

7.The tolerance for each component in a robotic arc welding system affects the overall tolerance of the system.

8.Holding individual pieces in place during a robotic welding sequence is much more complex.

Robotic arc welding automation is not suitable for every manual welding operation. The manual operation being considered for automation must be a repeatable process with precise tolerances built into the parts to be welded.

What's the Benefit?

On average, labor accounts for approximately 70 percent of any welded part's cost. An automated system has the potential for reducing that cost, as a robot can typically do the work of two to four people, operating without attention deficits or bad days. Companies cannot, however, simply purchase an automated system and let it go. A skilled welding operator is needed to program the equipment, which may involve additional training to upgrade his or her skill sets, and may also require alleviating this welding operator of some existing tasks.

With the right automated system, a company can significantly improve first-pass weld quality and reduce the need for scrapping or reworking parts. It can also minimize or eliminate spatter, which in turn reduces the need to apply anti-spatter or perform post-weld clean up--both labor-intensive processes. Plus, if a company currently has personnel applying anti-spatter, it may be able to free up that manpower for other, more productive uses elsewhere.

1.Improved Weld Quality: Mechanized welding improves weld integrity and repeatability.

2.Increased Output/Volume: Production weld speeds are set by the machine at a reasonable percentage of maximum. With minimized part set up time, and higher weld speeds increased output will occur.

3. Decreased Scrap/Rework: Automating the torch/part motions and part placement minimizes the error potential.

4.Decreased Variable Labor Costs: Relying on human welders dramatically increases a manufacturer's labor costs. A Semi-Automatic system will normally have at least twice the output of a skilled welder. 4.A fully automatic system with sufficient stations can run at four times the pace of semi-automatic system or at eight times the pace of a skilled welder.


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