Benefits of Welding Cobots
Robotic welding or automated welding dates back to the mid-20th century, and its introduction into the industry brought about many benefits. One of the most notable benefits was replacing manual welding processes allowing the human workforce to focus on more value-added applications.
Automated welding processes have gone through tremendous changes over the years, one of which is the implementation of wielding cobots. The use of collaborative robots (cobots) in the welding industry is a relatively new implementation.
Unlike traditional robotic welding or automated welding, welding cobot is more versatile, flexible, and safer to work alongside humans. They come with built-in force limiting sensors and safety-rated power options that help the machines to stop without exceeding their preset thresholds.
Why Use Welding Cobots?
A growing number of different manufacturing industries are today implementing welding cobots because of the following benefits.
- Some of the risks associated with welding irrespective of manual or robot manipulation include dealing with
- Hot parts
- Arc flash
- High electricity current
- Weld spatter
- Sharp wire
Welding cobots are safe to work alongside humans. However, that does not mean that letting them carry out their applications without taking any precautions is not an option because they are as safe as you allow them to be. Taking the necessary precautions helps to prevent the above risks.
For even better safety around the welding cobots, company’s should train the staff and use personnel protective equipment (PPE), determined by the work area, cobot risk assessment, workpiece, and end-of-arm tooling.
2. Easy Installation, Maintenance, and Relocation
Unlike traditional welding robots, welding cobots have much smaller footprints making them easier to install. Relocating welding robots is also easier because they are lighter to reinstall anywhere on the factory floor.
Additionally, they do not require programming specialists to have them going, as you can easily train your welding team to program, maintain, and keep them working at their best level. The ideal placement of welding cobots is any factory floor or shop with welding tables meant for human manual applications or any other place that you can wheel the cobots easily to supplement human labor.
3. Lower Costs
One of the main advantages of replacing traditional welding robots with welding cobots is to minimize human or manual labor. It also makes it easier to deploy the human workforce to other operational welding duties such as custom welding, thereby reducing costs.
Welding cobot working simultaneously with a skilled welder maximizes the potential of getting the average cost per part down over time, especially after achieving the anticipated returns on investment (ROI).
4. Ability to Provide Longer, Continuous Weld Seams
Quality is an essential aspect in every industry, especially for production runs that are low-volume, high-mix. Implementing welding cobots enables longer continuous weld seams that even the most skilled welder cannot achieve.
On average, a skilled welder can weld approximately a two-foot weld seam in a continuous motion. On the other hand, a welding cobot can easily accomplish a four-foot weld seam in a continuous seam, which helps to reduce stops and starts, thereby producing higher-quality parts.
5. Easy and Quick to Teach
Welding cobots come with easy-to-use features that make it easy for cobot manufacturers to train even those without any familiarization with robotics easy. Training welders to use the traditional welding robots, on the other hand, would take several days to familiarize themselves with complicated features.
6. Consistencyand Flexibility
Consistency in quality and flexibility of the welding cobots are other great reasons to implement them. It is challenging for human workforce to maintain consistency because most welding tasks are repetitive, which quickly leads to a lack of interest, errors, and poor quality. After programming, a welding robot produces the same quality results around the year, day and night.
Furthermore, welding cobot is also flexible and easily adaptable to perform different welding applications in a day. For example, you can program the welding cobot to carry out light tasks in the morning and change to heavier duties in the afternoon. They also come with welding cobot tools for more efficiency, increased precision, and faster welding.
7. Saves Floor Space
The demand for skilled welders is always on the rise, and with ongoing worker shortages, many companies are opting to use welding automation to fill up the gaps. Large industries can easily afford to implement larger welding robots. However, smaller enterprises and startups have limited floor spaces. Welding cobots have compact designs with smaller footprints that allow smaller companies to implement them efficiently.
Different Welding Cobot Peripherals That Help To Increase Efficiency
The benefits of implementing welding cobots are extensive operator training, choice of the right equipment, and the best software programming for the required tasks. Additionally, using the following complimentary peripherals also helps to achieve the required results.
- Touch sense that facilitates joint detection as it works on different types of conductive material. It is ideal for inconsistency in parts or when tooling changes cause a slight shift.
- Stack light provides the cobot with visual abilities to confirm its status and about to weld warning signs to the machine’s employees. Today, talking version welding cobots are also available for audible commands.
- Area scanner is another additional mode in welding cobots that mitigates risk and increases speed.
- A momentary command is a peripheral that enables a joystick-like control for intuitive and quick updates such as tooling coordinates and the torch angle.
- Welding table/cart is ideal for fabricated tables and helps to accommodate a broader range of production needs.
- The fume capture device works in cohorts with fixed hooded welding tables to facilitate portability and capture torch-level fumes. They also have “ride along with the cobot” filtration packs.
- A cable management device helps to provide the cable torch with protection.
Automated Robotic welding procedures across different industries have come a long way since their introduction into the marketplace in the mid-20th century. The newest implements are the more versatile welding cobots that offer more flexibility, cut down on operation costs, and are easier to work alongside humans without risking their safety.
Welding cobots are also more accessible and cheaper to implement than traditional welding robots. They have smaller footprints, making it possible for even small businesses and startups to implement them efficiently.