Step-by-Step Improvements: Understanding the Value of Advanced Welding Information Management Systems

To achieve big cost savings, quality improvements and productivity enhancements, advanced data management systems can manage and control almost any factor – before, during and after the actual welding process.
Automation/Robotics: Articles

How to Improve Robotic Welding Production

Understanding the fixed costs and the variable costs in each step of the process is an important step for increasing throughput in robotic welding. Once these have been identified and measured as key cost drivers, that information can be used to decide where to focus attention for improvement efforts to get the biggest impact. 
Here are four key strategies that will help welding managers, particularly those new to the job, keep their shops competitive by increasing their production while keeping costs low and quality on par.

Robotic Welding Productivity: Touch and Go

The human-machine interface allows operators to control, monitor and collect data from the system with a simple touchscreen on a hand-held device that provides a realistic view of the robotic welding systems, from operating trends to productivity tracking, along with crucial alerts for troubleshooting should operational issues occur during the welding process.
The interaction between the operator and a robotic welding system can be improved by centralizing operations into one user interface.

Remote Welding Controls Offer Benefits in Fabrication Applications, Too

Remote control welding technologies provide the ability to make process changes and parameter selections at the weld joint, which helps save time, increase productivity and improve safety in fabrication and manufacturing applications. 
Beyond the field or jobsite, the benefits of remote control technologies in fabrication settings can be sizeable: more time spent welding and less time moving around; better welds resulting in less rework; and fewer cables to string and manage in the work area. 

Welding with Laser Touch Sense

Laser touch sensing works on heavy mill scale and on aluminum applications. These two areas are traditionally problematic applications for contact wire touch sense. The laser has no problem with either. The heavy mill scale on steel and the aluminum oxide that naturally forms aluminum are often insulators that prevent conventional wire touch sense from working 100 percent of the time.
Because of its low cost and ease of use, laser touch sense is quickly growing in popularity to locate weld joints and parts that are moving in location relative from one part to the next.

How to Evaluate Robotic Welding Integrators for Automation Success

Given detailed research on your part, the right integrator can provide the right welding automation setup. Issues with part variation or inconsistent fit-up should be addressed prior to pursuing automation. Also, evaluate the accessibility of the weld joint for a robot to reach and successfully complete all of the welds; and ask yourself if you have requirements for tooling, fixturing and positioning of the part. Also identify potential bottlenecks.
Getting started with a robotic welding automation project may seem like a daunting task at first. But by breaking the project into steps and evaluating a complete solution, you will achieve success by selecting the best robotic welding integrator for your specific operations. Here's how to do it.


Automation/Robotics: Industry News

Hawk Technology Acquires ALM Materials Handling

(l-r) Josh Clare, the chief executive officer of Hawk Technology, welcomes Doug Grunnet, the president, of ALM Materials Handling, LLC.
ALM Positioners, Inc., in conjunction with Hawk Technology, will manufacture a branded line of welding and assembly positioners for blue chip manufacturers and distributors.

COMAU Director Wins Award

The company is proud to announce their director of advanced materials and process technologies, Martin Kinsella, received the 2014 All-State Award in the Automotive Manufacturing category.

SKS Establishes Subsidiary in Turkey

Serdar C. Arican (left), the managing director of the new Turkish subsidiary of SKS Welding Systems, with Dieter Klein, founder of SKS.
The strategy is to develop this market for automated welding technology.


Automation/Robotics: Products

Advanced Welding Automation and CNC Cutting

The Swift Arc SL performs robotic welding of large parts at high production rates with a new tandem SAT process that uses twin welding wires running simultaneously through the cell’s robotic torch to deliver exceptionally high deposition rates. This high-productivity MIG welding process produces flat welds with good penetration and without undercut. Its low heat input results in less part deformation.
ESAB offers the Swift Arc SL side-load robotic cell with new tandem Swift Arc Transfer MIG welding and the Hydrocut LX combination waterjet and plasma cutting system.

Reality-Based Welding Training System Builds Welding Careers

The new LiveArc™ reality-based training system is designed to recruit, screen, train and manage welding trainee performance — all via a live welding arc. (first view)
Ideal for vocational schools or fab shops, the LiveArc™ Welding Performance Management System from Miller Electric recruits, screens, trains and manages welding trainee performance via a live welding arc by using advanced motion-tracking technology for critical feedback to improve welding skills and provide better, faster, more cost-effective results than traditional training methods.

Virtual Reality Simulator Expands Support for Lap Joint On Mild Steel, Aluminum, Stainless Steel

The VRTEX® Extensions™ software upgrade provides the ability to deliver a score on the welding pad (single piece of plate steel) to increase training effectiveness and provide a numerical assessment of the student’s skill level. Extensions Upgrade 5 also provides additional GMAW-P pulse welding spray modes for use with mild steel.
The fifth VRTEX® Extensions™ software upgrade from Lincoln Electric includes a lap joint weld coupon with support for mild steel, aluminum and stainless steel in the virtual welding simulation environment – increasing the number of available and supported welds on the system from 105 to 141.