Robotic Arc Welding

Robotic welding consistently delivers higher production speed and quality at a lower cost, compared to manual welders. The flexibility of robotic welding systems is such that they can easily be adapted to new processes without the hassle of changing dedicated automation or reverting to manual welders. 

Robotic welding in fact makes up the most prolific use of industrial robots, with a sharp increase seen in industry over the last decade. The majority of robotic welding systems are found in the automotive and manufacturing sectors which, combined, account for a significant portion of the total number of robots in use today. Two common types are resistance spot welding and gas metal arc welding (GMAW) robots. Another is laser welding robots, which offer increased precision, especially when combined with visioning systems.

However, laser robotic welding is not a replacement for more traditional welding and its application is limited to specific types of parts.

Automation of the gas metal arc welding process by robots is well established and weld parameters can easily be programmed and closely monitored by various control systems to deliver the perfect weld.

Advances in robotic welding have progressed to real-time monitoring and weld seam tracking to ensure that the perfect weld is obtained every time. 

Robotic Welding Systems

Robotic welding systems basically comprise two separate parts. The first is the welding equipment and the second is the robot itself, which essentially carries the welding torch and ensures that it is positioned and maneouvred correctly to perform the welding operation. 

Dedicated welding robots offer an advantage in that they can be seamlessly integrated with a wide range of welding equipment, such as power sources, torches and peripherals. In fact, Yaskawa provides the widest range of high-level digital interfaces for leading power source brands. This allows the power source weld parameters to be directly monitored and adjusted from the robot programming pendant. 

To execute a consistent and high-quality weld, the welding robot must be able to precisely control and manipulate the welding torch around the workpiece. Apart from these geometric maneouvres and positioning actions, the welding robot system must also manage a complex set of actions that have to be precisely controlled to ensure that the welding process itself occurs correctly. This is achieved by employing an array of sensors and real-time monitoring. Typically, these sensors would monitor arc voltage, welding current, wire feed speed, as well as torch movements. The information gleaned from these sensors is processed through a feedback loop to perfect the welding process.

Another factor in welding is monitoring and measuring the actual weld geometry, such as gap sizes, changes in weld sizes, etc. This information is used in weld searching, seam tracking and real-time adaptive welding. Depending on the situation, multiple sensors of different kinds may be integrated into the system. This can extend from tracking a weld seam via a mechanical probe to eddy current sensors and laser scanning.

Part of any welding process is ensuring that correct penetration has been achieved with no inclusions or other imperfections that may compromise quality and lead to part rejection. The complete system can even perform weld inspections using an ultrasonic sensor, for example, to ensure that the desired result is achieved.  

Yaskawa

Our weld cells can be offered in a building-block manner that makes them quickly adaptable for any changes in the programmed output requirements while remaining fully integrated within the system.

The growing and ever-developing use of robotic arc welding provides real solutions to a wide range of applications. However, due to the nature of arc welding, the equipment must be able to withstand the heat, intense light, fumes, metal splatter and high-current environments. 

There is no doubt that the strong demand from industry for tough, durable systems that deliver high-quality, precision welding will continue to grow, and we will continue to supply you with solutions that incorporate the latest tech at the forefront of robot development. Contact us for more information on our robotic welding solutions.