Robotic welding uses robots to automate processes, combining technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, and control systems. In it, a robot holds and moves a torch along a desired joint with zero to minimal human intervention. Welding robots can be programmed to perform different types of welds, typically in industrial environments.
Automating welding results in increased productivity and improved product quality. And since mechanical robots are used, worker injuries are also prevented.
Read More about Robot Welding
Robot welding has been around for decades and is useful in various industries. Learn more about it below.
What Are the Components of a Robot Welding System?
Robot welding usually involves the following components:
- Software: The whole welding system is controlled by a specific program.
- Robot manipulator: Also called a “robot arm,” this is a mechanical structure shaped like an arm.
- Welding torch: The tool a welder robot holds and controls to make a weld.
- Power source: An electrical device that supplies power to a welding system.
- Wire feeder: A machine that delivers filler metal to a robot welder.
How Did Robot Welding Originate?
The first robot welding application was seen in 1962, when a robot was used to spot-weld car bodies at a General Motors factory.
In the early days, robotic welding was limited to simple spot-welding tasks. However, as the technology developed, robots became more capable of performing a wider range of welding tasks. By the 1980s, robotic welding became increasingly popular in the automotive industry.
Today, robotic welding is used in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, heavy equipment, and medical. Robots are used to weld various materials, including steel, aluminum, and titanium.
What Advantages Does Robot Welding Provide?
The advantages of robotic welding over manual welding include:
- Increased productivity: Robotic welding can produce up to 10 times more welds per hour than manual welding.
- Consistent quality: Robots are more consistent and accurate than humans, which can lead to better-quality welds.
- Reduced labor costs: Robots can eliminate the need for skilled welders, saving businesses money.
- Improved safety: Robotic welding can help reduce risks of worker injuries.
- Reduced scrap: Robots can significantly reduce the amount of scrap produced due to errors in the welding process because of high precision and consistency.
What Disadvantages Does Robot Welding Pose?
While robotic welding offers many advantages, it also has certain disadvantages that users need to consider.
- High initial investment: Buying and installing a robotic welding system can be expensive. This high initial cost can be a barrier for smaller businesses or those with lower production volumes.
- Complex programming: Robotic welding systems require complex programming, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
- Limited flexibility: Robotic welding systems are more flexible than manual ones, and they may be unable to weld all types of joints. Adjusting a robot’s program to handle different parts or welds can be time-consuming and may require specialized knowledge.
- Maintenance cost: Robots require regular maintenance to keep running smoothly, and repairs can be costly if something goes wrong. They also need regular recalibration to maintain their precision.
- Lack of problem-solving skills: If a part isn’t perfectly prepared or positioned, a human can often make adjustments on the fly. A robot might produce a bad weld.
How Much Does a Robot Welding Technician Earn?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of a robotic welding technician in the U.S. is US$48,865. However, this figure depends on several factors, including experience, education, location, and industry.
How Do You Become a Robot Welding Technician?
To become a robot welding technician, you must have the following skills:
- Welding skills: Robotic welding technicians need basic welding skills, such as arc and gas metal arc welding. You can acquire these skills by taking classes or working as an apprentice.
- Robotics skills: Robotic welding technicians must know about robotics, including programming and troubleshooting. You can take classes and read books and articles about robotics.
- Problem-solving skills: Robotic welding technicians must identify and solve problems that arise during welding.
- Attention to detail: Robotic welding technicians need to be able to pay attention to detail to produce high-quality welds.
- Safety awareness: Robotic welding technicians need to be aware of the safety hazards associated with welding and take steps to mitigate them.
Though robot welding has been around for decades, new technological advancements continue to introduce new features and capabilities, making robot welding applicable in various industries. The technology helps keep human welders safe, allowing them to focus on the programming side instead.
- Robotic welding is a process where robots automate welding tasks, increasing productivity and improving safety.
- It was first used for spot-welding at a General Motors factory in 1962.
- Robot welding can perform complex welding tasks in various industries like automotive, aerospace, and medical.
- It increases productivity, enhances consistency, reduces labor costs, improves safety, and minimizes scrap production.
- Robot welding requires a high initial investment, complex programming, and regular maintenance. It also lacks flexibility and problem-solving capability compared to humans.