Integrated Robotic Plasma Cutting Cell 

This flexible robotic cutting cell from ESAB automatically cuts, copes  and cuts to length branch pipes, I-beam and square tubing and trunk pipes with or without bevel.

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products (Florence, SC) partnered with leading robot manufacturer KUKA Robotics Corporation (Clinton Township, MI) and automation manufacturing expert Arc Specialties (Houston, TX) to design and develop an advanced robotic plasma cutting cell that features unique robotic cutting software that ensures accurate cuts, creates true bevel angles, compensates for kerf and eliminates complicated robot programming.

The new robotic cutting cell provides the flexibility to automatically cut or “cope” branch pipes, cut trunk pipes (with or without bevel), and cut to length. Oxygen assisted cutting immediately provides an optimum ready-to-weld surface and within just a few minutes the robot is positioned to cut a custom-fitted opening in a part. The cutting cell also automatically cuts I-beam and square tubing.

Parts cut accurately with true bevel angles provide consistent weld grooves, which simplifies downstream assembly and weld operations. Speeding up the cut process and mitigating rework from cut errors means less interruptions and higher productivity.

For ease of operation, the robotic cutting cell features the latest in touch screen HMI (Human Machine Interface) technology combined with an intuitive graphical display. A Wizard-based interface simplifies the programming process and eliminates the need for robot programming.

The operator simply enters the part dimensions and the system automatically determines the optimum cutting parameters. Part programs can be saved, loaded and stored with nesting for convenience and quick set-up.

The new integrated robotic cutting cell comes equipped with the m3 Plasma™ system, an advanced precision plasma system that combines plasma cutting and marking capabilities in a fully integrated, easy-to-use package. m3 Plasma™ is comprised of next-generation EPP Precision Plasmarc® power sources and new XR Series nozzles. EPP-202/362 power supplies feature a simpler design with the ability to communicate directly with the CNC, offering users increased efficiency, improved reliability and lower operating costs. The new XR nozzles provide the versatility to cut a variety of material thicknesses at high speeds with the same nozzle, thus lowering operating and energy consumption costs.

In addition, m3 Plasma features Precision Hole Technology, which automatically processes bolt-ready holes in mild steel up to 1 in down to a 1:1 hole-to-thickness ratio, eliminating the need for a secondary drilling operation.

Smart Voltage Height Control automatically adjusts the voltage height control to maximize consumable life while ensuring consistent cut quality. Smart Voltage Height Control eliminates the need for manual adjustment of the arc voltage and therefore increases productivity due to fewer production delays.

The m3 Plasma System also provides SmartCycle™ Technology for increased productivity through full system integration of plasma, Columbus™ III CAD/CAM/nesting software and Vision T5 CNC control. The end result is superior cutting functionality and productivity, with minimal set-up time, downtime and consumable cost.

The PT-36 torch is a component of the m3 Plasma system, combining up to four single-purpose torches (heavy plate cutting, precision cutting, marking, and water injection) to offer superior cutting flexibility and productivity over a wide range of materials and thicknesses, with minimal set up time.

The integrated cutting cell is available with a number of productivity-enhancing options, including automatic pipe loading and unloading, a pipe indexing system for cut-to-length applications, and automatic marking. Various power supply amperages are offered, as well as various headstocks with thru-hole diameters, 3-jaw or 4-jaw chucks, and turning rolls.

This is a complete cutting work cell, ideal for job shops introducing robotics to their applications. A simple cell design features easy-open manual doors for minimum maintenance and two independent working locations for maximum productivity. The cell features the KUKA KR-16 robot, a versatile 6-axis industrial robot with 16 kg payload, and KUKA KR C4 controller, one of KUKA’s most powerful and reliable controls.

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, PO Box 100545, 411 South Ebenezer Road, Florence, SC 29501, 843-679-6317, Fax: 843-664-5607,,