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Cobot Simplifies and Improves Large-Pipe Welding

Requiring just 4 square feet of shop floor space, Novarc Technologies’ spool welding robot (SWR) enables inexperienced welders working on pipe spools up to 30 feet long to monitor and adjust parameters to pipe variations in real time.

Posted: February 9, 2021

Novarc Technologies’ spool welding robot (SWR) is a turnkey roll-welding automation solution that enables operators with less skill and experience to do a job that previously only senior welders could perform. Designed for indoor use, the SWR stores and quickly recalls weld data and videos for shop analysis and quality control. 

Comprising pipes, flanges, and fittings, a pipe spool is a roll-welded pipeline component used in refineries, shipyards, water and wastewater collection systems, and other applications. Pipe is cut to size and moved to a table where components are fitted together and welded. It’s a high-mix, low-volume welding operation involving spools up to 30 feet long that may require X-ray or ultrasonic testing of every weld.

The spool welding robot (SWR) from Novarc Technologies (Vancouver, BC) improves the efficiency and consistency of welding flanges, Tees, elbows, and reducers regardless of welder experience. The all-in-one system consists of a 3-axis robotic arm that moves the torch up and down and left and right to create a weave motion, vision system with a laser camera that tracks the seam in real time and point laser that maintains contact-to-work distance, a compact welding head that requires 1.6-inch clearance, and large touchscreen programming interface that gives the operator a clear view from inside the groove as each weld progresses.

These are attached to a pneumatic manipulator that moves the robotic arm between joints within 15 feet of the positioner’s base to approach pipes from 2 to 60 inches.

Weld root-to-cap with solid or metal cored wire. Available power sources include Lincoln Electric Power Wave R450, Miller Auto-Continuum 500, and Fronius TPS 400i LSC Advanced. Abicor Binzel EWR 2 saves shielding gas while improving gas coverage.

NovEye weld monitoring and control system enables an operator with no programming knowledge to track and react to variations such as out-of-round, incorrect placement, and imperfect fit-up by modifying welding and motion parameters in real time on a separate 6.5-inch pendant with easy-to-find rocker switches, push buttons, and joystick and safety-rated E stop.

In addition to standard welds, the operator can weld alloy cladding and hardfacing overlays.

Built-in safety system eliminates the need for hard fencing by ensuring  speed and forces are always within safe limits. The robot automatically stops if the operator bumps into it during welding.

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