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[EN] What is a welding robot?

Industrie, Soudage

[EN] According to the International Federation of Robotics, about 50% of the robots used in the industry perform welding tasks. Able to work 24/7, they are the future of automating production processes. But what is a welding robot?

Robotic welding is, in essence, the use of a robot to carry out the welding process (joining two metal parts) automatically.

Very briefly, welding robots are a good solution for producing large volumes of parts of great repeatability and predictable actions. However, the softwares can be adapted to any need. Even in small volume productions it’s possible to maintain the high performance of the equipment, thus being an effective solution to many production problems related to welding.


What you will find in this article?

1. What elements are part of a welding robot?
In what welding processes can we use a robot?
How can a welding robot increase a company's production?
So, should I abandon manual welding and opt for robotic welding?



What elements are part of a welding robot?

At first glance, a robotic arm and a torch may look like everything needed to automate the welding process. However, in order to ensure maximum productivity, one must look at the system as a whole. This is the only way to optimize the performance of the equipment and ensure the safety of workers.

In this way, a welding robot must combine the following elements:

  • Robotic arm: sturdy and stable device, built in arm shape. This arm can move on different axes, which gives it great flexibility.
  • Welding torch: element placed at the end of the robot that serves as the delivery vehicle of the welding wire. Accompanying the torch there is a cleaning system (usually placed near the robotic arm) to clean the traces of welding, preventing them from solidifying in the torch.
  • Welding equipment: generator of the energy needed to create the welding arc (melt the wire).
  • Controller (HMI): works with the robot's brain. This controller allows adjustments or program changes to be made on site, increasing system productivity.

In addition to the components listed above, they should also be part of the system:

  • Safety devices: since one of the main reasons for using welding robots is to make workplaces safer for employees, robotic systems should include safety mechanisms such as safety curtains, sensors, metal guards, among others.
  • Jigs: are the tools to position the parts at the welding site. The tool design should allow for quick change of parts. Large parts may require other types of components such as gantries or lathes. 

Many other components can be added to the systems, such as conveyor belts, loading and unloading tables, inspection equipment or others, depending on the level of automation we’re looking for and the value we’re willing to invest.

Considering the numerous possible configurations for a robotic welding system, MOTOFIL has a team of specialized technicians in order to facilitate the development of the best solution for the challenge presented.


In what welding processes can we use a robot?

In addition to being flexible as to the type of part and material to be welded, a welding robot can be used with virtually all welding processes.

Among the most used processes we have:

  • MIG/MAG Welding for applications where simplicity and speed are important;
  • TIG Welding for high precision welding;
  • Spot Welding is widely used in the automotive industry to join sheet metal structures.


How can a welding robot increase a company's production?

Among the various advantages of using welding robots, the following stand out:

  • Increased production capacity.  Robots do not need breaks and can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;
  • Increased accuracy, repeatability and quality of the final product.  In addition, robots are useful when access to the part is limited or difficult to reach:
  • Creating a safer working environment. As there is a reduction in light beams, gasses and close contact with welding is avoided;
  • Reduction of waste.  Robots are programmed for regulated use of energy and wire. In addition, as robots operate without stops there is greater energy conservation.

To make the most of all these advantages it is necessary to invest in good software and its correct programming.

That is why, at MOTOFIL, when purchasing a welding equipment, we offer free training to operators throughout the life of the equipment.


So should I abandon manual welding and opt for robotic welding?

It’s an issue that needs to be examined by considering the advantages and disadvantages of robotic welding vs. manual welding.


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