The intricacies of a welding robot
Welding is a process involving the fusing of two materials together. The materials are fused when these materials are heated, mixed, and cooled, forming a solid joint. From spot welding to arc welding, used and new welding robots are used in processes where there is a need for repetitive welding, with speed and accuracy also being of primary importance. The robotic welding process increases a business’ ROI, consistency, and efficiency.
There are many different advantages of automating the welding process. It includes speedy and consistent cycle times. There will also be no production breaks, and the result is always suitable quality welding.
Benefits of using welding robots
- Less time consumption: As earlier mentioned, welding robots get the work done fast regardless of whether the welding robot is new or not. These roots also have fewer mistakes as compared to manual welders. Robots also don’t need brakes and can thus work 24/7. The result is increased productivity and throughput.
- Reduced cost of labor and safety: Manual welding has a steep price as it’s dangerous and requires some level of concentration and skill. Heat, sparks, fumes, and flash make manual welding hazardous and taxing. When welding robots weld, the costs are reduced, and workers are protected. The robots are able to endure hazards and increase production. There’s also a reduction in accident and insurance-related expenses.
- Conserve materials: Manual welders will make mistakes no matter how skilled they are. However, welding robots regulate everything, including wire and power. These automated welders require fewer start-ups, thus conserving energy. Furthermore, the result given is always more consistent. This accuracy means there is less wastage of time and material.
Processes of robotic welding
Welding is a job that requires high levels of skill and education. However, there has been a decline in the availability of skilled and educated welders in recent years. This is one of the reasons why there has been an increase in the usage of welding robots.
Welding robots are now used in the following processes:
· Arc welding
This is a process where an electric arc generates extreme heat. This heat melts metal, and the molten metal is used to join other metallic parts together. When it solidifies, the result is a stable connection. Arc welding is thus suitable for projects that need many metals accurately conjoined.
· Resistance welding
This is used when a project requires heat-treating. In resistance welding, electric current is used to create a large amount of molten metal as the robot passes through two metallic bases. The bases are joined together with the molten metal.
· Spot welding
Some metals are resistant to electricity currents, especially those used in the automotive industry. To piece the parts together, robotic welders will use thin metal sheets in one spot to overcome that resistance.
· TIG/GTAW welding
This is most ideal in situations that require high precision levels. In TIG welding, electric arcs are used to pass between metallic bases and tungsten electrodes.
· MIG welding
Also, going by the name GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), this process utilizes high deposition levels. In MIG welding, there’s a continuously moving wire at the welder’s tip, which melts upon coming in contact with the heated tip. This molten metal drips to the base, thereby joining to another base piece.
· Laser welding
If a welding project involves many parts and requires accuracy, laser welding does the job perfectly. Laser welding is often used in small pieces like medical components and jewelry.
· Plasma welding
This welding process has the highest flexibility degree because operators can easily change the speed at which gas passes via a nozzle and temperature.
How accurate are robotic welders?
Welding robots can rely upon 100%, and their efficiency is, especially at repetitive tasks. You are guaranteed high-quality results by using a welding robot as it will eliminate all variables that interrupt the process hence tampering with the quality. Using a welding robot eliminates issues like:
- Slag entrapment
- Excessive undercut
- Weld fusion lack
- Excessive burn-through
- Inconsistent welds
When the proper training, planning, and programming have been done, robot integration gives immediate positive results.
How to enhance robotic welding
Companies tend to focus too much on the bigger picture, like the robotic arm and power source when it comes to automatic welding. By doing so, they ignore the more minor but equally essential specifics such as the consumables, MIG gun, and welding wire.
While the arm and power source are indeed worth keen consideration, even the best robotic system can fail to attain its highest potential if the wrong components are used to support it. That said, here are some tips that will help maximize the productivity of a welding robot, consequently decreasing robot downtime:
- Choose the correct wire: The feeding process plays a significant role in the outcome. Choose a wire that is smoothly fed through the drive liner and rolls. Get wired that was specifically engineered with robots in mind. Also, get one that produces consistent and reliable arc starts.
- Get the correct consumables: Getting durable consumables is essential, considering the fact that robotic welding comprises too much arc-on time. Get consumables that have tapered connections as they ensure consistent conductivity. They also reduce the buildup of heat which could cause premature failure.
- The front-load liner: These allow operators to replace liners from the front part of a gun and not the back where the wire feeder is connected to the cables. That way, liners can be changed proactively during short downtime periods instead of having to wait for the PM (preventative maintenance) time to do so.
- Filler metal: Get a big enough package to decrease frequent wire changeovers. However, it should not be too large such that it is on the floor for long periods. The metal should also come in air-tight containers because it can absorb moisture, oil, or dust resulting in contamination.
Some robotic welding cells provide a safe work environment, thus reducing overspray, direct contact, and arc glare. What’s more, robotic welders are more consistent. They can also move from one welding job to the next quickly, and this speeds up the processes.