Robotic welding has the potential to lower welding cost, improve production, and reduce waste. But what is the cost of robotic welding? The initial cost of robotic welding systems shy many manufacturers away. If you don't yet fully understand the costs of welding or know how to manage those costs, catch up with us after you've read the aforelinked articles.
Onmark Manufacturing in Woodinville Washington is an innovative manufacturer specializing in value engineering and contract manufacturing solutions. They are one of the minorities of manufacturers making automated welding equipment available for non-proprietary use. Onmark announced last summer that they are offering new robotic welding capabilities. Onmark went further than the traditional welding robots used in MIG welding of steel. They offer a Fanuc 120iC/10L robot, Lincoln Powerwave 455 power supply, Fanuc Servo Torch, two rotary positioners, and a special torch for aluminum welding.
Welding aluminum has an opportunity to increase production by 30 percent while reducing material cost by as much as 50 percent. A customized weld station can weld different parts simultaneously, or positioners can be combined for welding oversized parts. Parts with a diameter of up to 36 inches and a length of up to 120 inches can be welded by robots. Robotics allow for increased precision and flexibility in hard-to-reach spots.
Advantages of Robotic Welding
Robotic welding is still used primarily in situations where repetitive welds are done. In this case robots make welds more consistently, allow faster cycle times, and reduce waste. Robots reduce labor costs and require fewer breaks in production. One welding robot can typically handle the work of four manual welders. Manual welders must possess skills, have time, and concentrate. People must be managed, insured, and require time off for sleep, vacation, etc. Robots allow manufacturers to redistribute workforce and hedge employers against shortages in qualified welders.
Robotic welding reduces waste and clean up time. Post weld spatter removal is virtually eliminated. Work-in-progress parts are reduced. Human errors are reduced (even the most skilled welders make mistakes). Material cost savings are seen because a welding robot's power and wire are regulated, they run consistently, and require fewer start-ups.
Welding is often considered a dirty job, one that comes with certain risks. Robotics reduces the risks associated with flash, fumes, sparks, and heat that can injure manual welders. Robotic welding protects workers. Insurance and accident related costs are greatly reduced when manufacturers turn to an automated welding system.
When to Switch to Robots
If multi-shift operations are required, when output volumes are in tens-of-thousands of parts per year, weld consistency is critical, or multiple welds are required on large objects – robotic welding may be worth the investment. If your company isn't ready to make the switch yet, some companies consider subcontracting to a manufacturer that offers automated welding. Still not sure? Check out this weld cost analysis by Modern machinery Company.
Thought of a cost we didn't consider? Please leave a comment.