Welding automation is broken down into two basic categories: Semi-automatic and Fully Automatic. In semi-automatic welding, an operator manually loads the part(s) into the welding fixture. A weld controller then controls the torch/part motions and welding parameters to ensure a quality, repeatable weld. After the weld is completed, the operator then removes the completed part and the process begins again.
Fully automatic welding uses a custom machine or series of machines to load the workpiece, index the part or torch into position, effect the weld, monitor quality control, and then unload the finished product. Additional “part in place” and final product quality checks may also be designed into the machine if necessary. Depending on the details of the specific operation, a machine operator may or may not be necessary.
Benefits Of Automated Welding
The benefits of well-engineered welding systems range from improved weld quality to decreased variable labor costs. The most prominent advantages are:
Improved Weld Quality: Mechanized welding improves weld integrity and repeatability.
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 increase output.
Decreased Scrap/Rework: Automating the torch/part motions and part placement decreases the error potential.
Decreased Variable Labor Costs: Reliance 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. 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.
Planning For Welding Automation
The benefits of system automation are accompanied by some challenges. Although these factors can be controlled, they should be recognized from the onset of a project for automated welding
Higher Initial Investment: Semi-automatic welding systems can be very affordable. Higher levels of automation can have significant equipment costs especially for custom designed systems.
Machine Flexibility: Semi-automatic welding systems are very flexible. More automated systems may have more curtailments on the variety of parts handled.
Commitment to Maintenance: In shifting from labor intensive to capital intensive (automated) processes, companies must also adopt and rigorously follow preventative maintenance programs.
Longer Product Startup Times: Semi-automatic machines can take 4-8 weeks to deliver. Specialized systems, however, commonly have lead times of 20 or more weeks.
Investment In Product Life Cycle: It is crucial to consider your product’s position in its life cycle before investing large sums into automation. Automate parts that will still be around next year.
The above image is that of an aerospace component that has been welded through automation. Material being titanium with aerospace standard grade, the possibility of welding such component through manual process was at a ratio of 9:1 that is for every 10 components welded only a single component got accepted. This is specifically due to the profile and sensitivity of the component. When the weld area is highly volatile to rupture due to a limited weld heat zone this could only be avoided by providing ample heat at narrow time period and still cover the weld zone and fuse the parent and child of the component together at the right stage if not only then physical ruptures and prolonged cracks starts developing.
For such highly complicated weld zones and precise positioning of the weld beads we used our Circular Welder (#circularwelder) for obtaining the right results. A brief about the product :
Our mini circular welders are developed exclusively for rotary components ranging from 10mm to 200mm diameters catering to both GMAW & GTAW weld methods with manual height adjustment systems for up to 50mm range, torch dual axis rotary angle markers and a basic mode data logger combine to give a better user experience for a professional weld.
The system is highly energy efficient with less than 200W consumption and ready to use out of the box module, we in-tend to give the best automation solution in a smaller package.
Circular Welder Features & Benefits
- Faster & smoother Movement : Runs up to 10 RPM
- Touch human machine interface
- Load capacity : up to 8 kgs
- Additional Input & Output Module for safety systems & provision for expansion of axes
- New & Improvised NIKIT – Teach User Interface
- Economical & Power efficient
- 200 KHz high speed optical isolated designed IP/OP
- IIOT module integrated for online data & alert monitoring (requires internet connectivity). All the data logging & machine process alert files with program upgradation can be done online.
Data Logging and Cloud Monitoring
The machine Data Logger represents leading edge technology in welding and machine data collection and logging. The micro-controller based weld data acquisition system provides a means of measuring and documenting all basic machine parameters when used with external PC.
Cloud-based monitor that requires either an Ethernet connection or can be used on a cellular network. Once the physical connections have been set and powered, the rest of the setup is completed on a web browser.