Companies in the manufacturing industry are always looking to improve productivity and the quality of their products while also keeping production costs low. Because of this, many companies turn to technology to make manufacturing processes more accurate and efficient.
With a growing shortage of professional welders, manual welding has somewhat fallen by the wayside. While many manufacturing companies still utilize manual welding practices, robotic welding has become the preferred production method.
Companies like American Manufacturing have chosen to invest in robotic welding setups to achieve more consistent results, reduce part rejection rates, and improve product quality. It is also a lot safer and helps prevent job site injuries from happening as often.
What Is Production Robotic Welding?
To put it simply, robotic welding is used to join two materials by applying pressure and heat. Robotic welders are programmed and mechanized by an operator to weld and handle parts. By automating this process, manufacturing companies can enhance safety procedures, increase production accuracy, and reduce any time required to complete a project.
The operator of a robotic welder must be qualified to handle all equipment. Automated robot welding systems always come with multiple safety features to ensure a safe work environment and prevent operator injury.
Operators are kept in enclosed areas to avoid being exposed to extreme temperatures and bright light. Arc shields are used to prevent any high-heat arc from mixing with oxygen or other atmospheric gases that could compromise the weld joint.
How Does a Welding Robot Work?
A robotic welding unit has several different parts that all work simultaneously to weld pieces of material together. Some of these parts work together to actively weld, while others act as safety features or accessories.
A welding robot can come in two different types—either a rectilinear robot or an articulating robot. A rectilinear robot arm can move in three directions and has a rotating wrist near the end of the arm. On the other hand, articulating robot arms have more range of motion outside of three dimensions because they have rotating joints.
As the robot welds two pieces together, a wire feeder is programmed to move filler wire into the robot as needed. The heat torch at the end of the robotic arm then melts the metal and uses the filler wire to further support the conjoined pieces.
As the robotic arm awaits the next parts to weld, it moves the torch to a cleaner to prevent any metal splatters from solidifying in place.
7 Types of Robotic Welding Processes
Because there’s a wide variety of welding machines available on the market, there are many different welding processes depending on what materials are being fused. A few of these processes are as follows:
- Arc Welding: This type of welding generates an electric arch between the metal and a torch-mounted electrode. The extreme heat of up to 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit melts into molten metal, joining the two parts together and solidifying after cooling. After solidifying, these two parts are permanently fused together. Arc welding is ideal for large projects that require a higher volume of accurately conjoined metals.
- Resistance Welding: Resistance welding is a great method for welding sheet metal together at a single spot. Two copper alloy electrodes are applied to the parts being fused and pass a current through the materials. This ultimately heats the metal, causing it to melt, and forms a pool that will solidify at the spot it’s applied.
- Spot Welding: This type of welding is a variation of resistance welding. It joins thinner metals together that typically resist electrical currents.
- TIG Welding: TIG welding is ideal for applications that require higher levels of precision. This type of welding gets its name because an electric arc passes between the metal base and a tungsten electrode.
- MIG Welding: This welding method is faster because the filler wire is continuously being moved to the heated tip of the welder. The wire then melts and drips onto a metal base to connect other pieces to it.
- Laser Welding: Laser welding is highly effective for joining metal together with accuracy, especially for smaller parts. Laser light is delivered by a fiber optic cable through a robotic cutting head to weld pieces together.
- Plasma Welding: Plasma welding has a higher degree of flexibility than other welding methods since the operator can easily change the temperatures and velocity. This type of welding works by passing ionized gas through a copper nozzle and producing extremely high temperatures.
The Benefits of Robotic Welding
Because the robot itself can reach thousands of degrees, the process of automated welding is a lot safer for businesses and their employees. Along with allowing for an increased amount of safety in the workplace, there are many other benefits that robotic welding has to offer.
- Increased Efficiency: Welding robots can work 24-hour shifts. With longer working hours and quicker speeds, robotic welding machines can complete projects much faster than humans, increasing overall output.
- Safety Features: Robotic welding machines are equipped with safety features to protect any operator or people close by from bright lights and extreme temperatures. When employees work in a safer workplace, they are typically more productive and satisfied with their job. Welding robots can also save any extra expense associated with injuries or damaged equipment.
- Higher Accuracy: Even the most experienced worker makes a mistake from time to time. Robotic welding systems are programmed to make repetitive motions for long periods. They can perform at the same level of attentiveness for every project that needs to be completed, allowing for fewer mistakes and higher manufacturing accuracy.
- Less Waste: Fewer mistakes in manufacturing mean that robotic welding systems produce less waste than typically involved with human errors. Manual welders must discard any parts that were mistakenly welded together, but with robots, this doesn’t happen since they operate with a higher level of accuracy. A manufacturing facility that produces less waste can operate more efficiently.
- Energy Efficient: Automated welding systems can conserve more energy because they never have to over-weld or correct any errors. Your energy expenditure is drastically cut down. Robotic welding machines also run consistently, cutting back on any energy needed to frequently start up the machine.
At American Manufacturing, we specialize in providing robotic welding services. We can weld many different materials, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. We also offer robotic plasma cutting and production saw cutting. For more information, contact us today at 419-531-9471.