In recent years, robots have become instrumental in manufacturing, and one production line that reaps benefits from this technology is welding. The introduction of robots into the welding process has brought in speed, precision, and quality. In addition, as robots and humans work side by side on the factory floor, manufacturers are increasingly opting for flexible and collaborative welding cobots.
Today, there are many different forms of robotic welding equipment in the market. All of these pieces of equipment have other uses and benefits. The robotic equipment has allowed for increased productivity in welding facilities. For example, a welding cobot can work around the clock without getting tired or needing breaks as a human does. This feature allows more pieces of metal to be welded in less time, thus increasing profits. The welds done by a robot are also much more robust and precise than those made by humans.
What is Welding?
Welding involves the act of joining two or more items by melting and putting them under pressure. The manual welding process employs a torch with a person holding and guiding it to where it should go. While the manual method works well, it is not as precise as automated modern welding techniques brought about by welding cobot.
The Value of welding Cobots
The benefits of using a robot workforce include improved quality, efficiency and consistency, and less time to complete the task. They can work for 24 hours a day with the same level of accuracy and uniformity as compared to working in shifts. They can also detect even minute deviations from programmed instruction which significantly increases the quality of the product due to perfect uniformity.
A welding cobot operates under a controlled environment and uses consistent motions to weld metal together, thus producing solid bonds between the materials it connects. These qualities reduce the need for repairs and increase the lifespan of products that use robotic welding equipment. Robots can also weld complicated structures such as pipelines, cars, and airplanes more quickly than humans can.
The use of robotic equipment has just begun to scratch the surface. As technology progresses, so is manufacturing, thus allowing robots to take over more jobs done by humans today. Cobots can work around the clock without getting tired, which will enable them to perform jobs than many people combined. Welding robotics will continue to improve as technology progresses and companies find new ways to make stronger welds faster and more efficiently.
Industrial robots are deployable in three different types of welding: spot, seam, and projection welding. Spot welding is performed manually by hand-held tools like gas metal arc (GMAW) or submerged arc (SAW), whereas seam and projection welding requires a welding robot for carrying out the operations. Seam and projection welding is less common than spot welding due to its higher demands and cost. Continuous Welding Process (CWP) and Metal Inert Gas (MIG) are the most commonly used methods for carrying out seam and projection welding processes.
Applications of Welding Cobots in Various Industries
There are many applications of robots in various industries in the welding department. The use of industrial robots can increase production efficiency, reduce overall costs and improve quality.
The automotive industry employs welding cobots to perform different welding operations like spot welding, seam welding, or flash butt-welding. In addition, welding cobots perform quality control processes like Ultrasonic Testing, Radiographic Testing (RT), X-Ray testing (XRT), etc.
Industrial robots are used for handling material in the automotive industry due to their benefits of flexibility, precision, accuracy, and reduced cost while carrying out automatic welding tasks. Furthermore, a welding cobot can perform different welding tasks, including cladding, GTAW, laser welding, and spot welding using different metals like Aluminum, Steel, Stainless steel, Magnesium alloy, or Titanium alloys, along with other materials.
In the aerospace manufacturing industry, a welding cobot performs welding, coating, and assembly tasks. The cobot can be fully or semi-automated. Semi-automation requires the operator to program the robot for movement, while a fully automated system requires little human intervention.
Industrial welding robots are fundamental in the construction industries to weld pre-assembled components and other building materials like foundation, steel frames, etc. Therefore, using robots in the construction industry reduces the risk of accidents and injuries among laborers.
The use of robots in construction is one example where specific applications are considered too dangerous for humans, such as the application of blankets on buildings and high-rise structures and welding on ones that run on elevated tracks.
Advantages of a Welding Cobot in the Production Line
The benefits of using a robotic welding process include:
- Uniformity and repeatability ensure the same high-quality results each time.
- Robotic welding can increase productivity due to less downtime and minimal maintenance.
- With a welding cobot, the speed of production increase while maintaining consistent quality.
- Cobots guarantee employee safety because they eliminate the hazardous welding environment.
- can perform complex, highly accurate welding tasks
- robots can reduce human exposure to potentially harmful fumes and ultraviolet light
- no fatigue or boredom because the robot does not get tired as humans do
- reduces scrap and weld rework by minimizing distortion and creating a more consistent product
- automatic and robotic welding systems eliminate the possibility of human error because there is no fatigue involved, and humans cannot work at high speeds or in places with exposure to harmful fumes for long periods
- Cobots can weld sheets, bars, rods, and tubing with a wide range of shapes and sizes.
Harnessing technology for an efficient workflow between man and machine is a significant factor in deciding whether to invest in them or not. Robotic designs are task-specific and are efficient for a particular job. For example, a welding cobot works in any environment, regardless of lighting or temperature.
Robots are up for criticism as some people argue that they will replace human jobs and lead to unemployment. However, there is no reason to fear automation. If your job requires flexibility, problem-solving, or decision-making skills, there is job security, as collaborative robots cannot replace such traits. Furthermore, the future of the manufacturing industry is bright, and its growth will require skilled workers to manage these workforces.