Typically 85 percent of the cost to weld is in labor and overhead, while only 15 percent of the cost to weld is in the consumables. This means lowering the cost on shielding gas and consumables has little effect on the bottom line, but increasing manufacturing and assembly efficiency can result in a significant cost savings and profit – particularly when welding and assembling large components. Using cranes, chains, grippers and slings for positioning large components for welding and assembly is always time consuming and hazardous: The assembly is rarely in an optimum position for the most efficient use of manpower or equipment, and repeated repositioning can delay production schedules because repeatability of positioning and alignment from assembly to assembly is virtually impossible. Instead, by using Intelligent Positioning equipment from from ALM Positioners, Inc. (Rock Island, IL), shops can improve weld quality, simplify tool access, perform consistently repeatable assembly procedures with higher productivity and reduced consumables, reduce operator fatigue and injury risk through better ergonomics, and achieve higher throughput and profits.
Intelligent Positioning equipment adds Arc Data Monitoring technology to fully programmable welding assembly positioners that are available with capacities from 3,500 lb to 75,000 lb. These cost-effective systems can boost production throughput as much as 35 percent, correlate weld position with weld count and quality monitoring via Arc Agent and Insight Centerpoint™ technologies, and work with power supplies from Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric and Fronius. Other features include:
- Positional awareness with an HMI programmable control option. These positioners display real-time tilt and height values.
- WorkFlow™ verification by incorporating Work-Flow assembly instructions from the Insight Centerpoint software. The positioners can be programmed to lock and move to predetermined locations only during desired stages of fabrication, streamlining the process and removing a wide possibility of mistakes or missed welds. If welds are not completed, the positioner will not move.
- Write and Store Recipes allow four-way repeatability.
- Arc Data Management. Insight Centerpoint technology coupled with the positioners records a wide range of weld data, including current, voltage, wire feed speed, duration, and gas flow, helping to optimize assembly processes by also providing costs of welds, streamlining operator training by guiding operators through sequences, and alerting them of mistakes in real-time.
Standard Positioners are available for part positioning of medium to heavyweight parts. These systems can be custom designed to meet specific requirements that eliminate dangerous, old-fashioned belts, chain transfer and screw systems, and allow the operator to raise and position weldments or assemblies to a convenient height and working position. They are available in headstock-only applications with capacities from 1,000 lb to 10,000 lb and in headstock and tailstock applications with fixed, mobile, or adjustable tailstock options in capacities ranging from 4,000 lb to 75,000 lb.
Robot Ready Hydraulic Positioners with capacities ranging from 3,500 lb to 75,000 lb are ideal for robotic welding applications of heavy parts and fixtures. Designed to work with robotic laser, vision and touch sensing, these two- and three-axis positioners ensure easier handling and better weld positions and work great with 3 Meter Robots for wide and long parts. Shops can experience savings of 25 percent to 35 percent compared to servo applications.
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