Next Generation Robots:
The New Era of Robotic Welding
Companies are always seeking opportunities to improve productivity through process automation, and due to their repetitive nature, welding tasks are often an excellent option. Many industries employ robots for welding operations and some common forms of robotic welding include resistance, spot, arc, TIG, MIG, laser, and plasma welds. The primary benefit of automated welding is the ability to rapidly produce high-quality welds, increasing fabrication efficiency and consistency as well as safety on the shop floor.
In recent years, significant advancements in automation technologies have been made, most notably with Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is the use of the internet in physical devices and everyday objects. IoT is a very broad concept as the “thing” can refer to a wide range of objects including a robot. IoT machines are equipped with internet connectivity and other necessary hardware like sensors or processors that measure and report data via the internet. This data can be a single piece of information from a given sensor, or more complex information from equipment that collect multiple data simultaneously from various inputs. Companies across various industries are using the IoT to operate more efficiently, access real-time data to enhance decision-making, and add value to the business.
IoT and other advancements have enabled a new era of robotic welding. Below are some of the innovations found in the next generation of robots.
Predictive Maintenance with Smart Machines
Manufacturers often feel they are in a constant state of “reacting” to various fabrication issues, and have historically used preventative maintenance to reduce the potential for equipment failures and unexpected downtimes. The IoT is revolutionizing manufacturing by enabling the efficient collection of - and access to - large quantities of data instantaneously – and the result what is called “smart manufacturing”. Smart machines collect and use data to monitor their own health, alerting of potential failure points or anticipated issues based on the data collected – a process known as predictive maintenance. The IoT enables predictive maintenance, which is based on real-time condition of a specific piece of equipment, compared to traditional preventative maintenance which is generally based on averages and historical data of equipment.
Furthermore, smart machines, such as those utilized in robotic welding, are able to create a signature of a robot’s health, such as the amps pulled during a given task. When the robot’s signature varies from the norm, artificial intelligence predicts an issue and allows manufacturers to proactively schedule downtime for maintenance and repairs before the equipment suffers damage or a failure that would unexpectedly stop production. When it comes to robotic welding, end-of-arm-tooling effectors are now often equipped with sensors that are IoT connected for real-time data collection and optimization. These sensors can also give robots a perceived sense of touch and sight during welding operations, improving weld performance real-time. This level of detail is extremely valuable as it optimizes welding performance and improves consistency – saving fabricators and customers money and time.
Software Upgrades ffor Robotic Automation
Significant developments have been made in the software that supports robotic automation. Programs are more user-friendly, and are more easily programmed to execute complex welding jobs such as tubes or other circular shapes that require curved welds. Another advancement is the ability to program offline. Offline programming allows fabrication activities to continue while new programs are entered into the software. This may not seem like a big deal but it is a huge advancement. Instructions for future robotic welding can be programmed into the equipment without interrupting the robot’s current welding task – saving time. Also, in the past, robotic welding was often reserved for large volume fabrications; however, with offline programming, small volumes and individual parts are more feasible and economic.
On the Fly Welding
Historically, robotic welding tasks required the robot to get into the proper position and come to a complete stop before welding was initiated. In the new era of robotic welding, there is the concept of “on the fly” welding. As the name implies, welding is started before the robot comes to a stop. On the fly welding is being developed for laser as well as MIG welding. In the example of laser welds, the laser is engaged and welding begins once the weld is visualized by the scanning equipment – all while the robot is in motion and is still moving into position. The benefit of this technology is the reduction in cycle time – even a fraction of a second adds up to a huge time savings when performing a repetitive job over time.
ABS Fabrication and Robotic Welding Services
Established in 1971, ABS Machining has grown to become the recognized global leader in large machining, fabrication, and assembly for OEMs. The key to our success has been exceptional people, unparalleled facilities, and an unwavering commitment to quality. Our people are experts in their given field. Their expertise is matched only by their passion for serving our clients. We continue to invest in our people with education programs, cross training and in our internal accredited apprenticeship center.
ABS Heavy Fabrication is a full-service facility certified to CSA47.1 (AWSD1.1) and ASME Boiler Vessel B31.1 and 31.3 standards. Our welders are certified by CWB/AWS and ASME, and are fully trained on flux-core, gas metal, submerge arc, tig and stick electrode welding techniques. Individual customer requirements are followed and enforced in conjunction with our in-house certified weld inspectors. (CWI Level 2's). Below are some of our fabrication services:
- Robotic Welding
- Metal Fabrication
- Sub Arc Welding
- Flux Core Welding
- Mig Welding
- Metal Core Welding
- Full Penetration Welding
- Laser Cutting
We offer a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services. Our team is committed to producing an un-paralleled level of quality and throughput, while also focusing on cost. We also offer secondary services such as mechanical assembly, making ABS a true single source solution for the most challenging programs of today and for the future.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your fabrication project, or give us a call at 1-844-227-6224.
CNC MACHINING · FABRICATION · ASSEMBLY
Precision Machining ↓
ABS offers a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services.
80 Large Advanced CNC Machine Tools
ABS is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America.
6 Plants with lifting capacity up to 160 Tons
The ABS 5-Axis machining department has been built from the ground up with our customers’ needs in mind.
Centrifugal and Turbo Machined Impellers
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Heavy Fabrication Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
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Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
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Quality Assurance & Control