Buzz word in the welding world this year is COBOT! Everyone is talking about how difficult it is to find and retain skilled labor. According to the American Welding Society there will be a shortage of 400,000 skilled welders in America by 2024. Some manufacturers are trying to combat that with new technology and improved efficiencies in their weld process. Where does a Cobot fit in the welding world? Will it work for your application? Where can you get a live demo? We are here to answer those questions!
Welding Collaborative Robot (Cobot)
Cobots are flexible robotic welding systems that can be quickly, safely deployed to solve your welding challenges. They have been around since 1996. Technology has evolved and Lincoln Electric in conjunction with Fanuc, has perfected the system to be functional and simple to operate. They were never meant to replace human welders. Instead it allows for a single person to quickly learn, program and run many different jobs. Our team has a Cobot and we learned how it works and are here to share what we learned.
The system arrives ready to program and weld! The Cobot we have came on a mobile cart with CRX Collaborative Robotic Arm, R30iB Plus Controller, Power Source (Lincoln Electric PowerWave R450), tablet teach pendant, AutoDrive 4R100, Integrated Push Button Magnum Pro Air Cooled Torch and Fault Reset Palmstation. The top of the cart can be used to weld on, but you may want to consider adding a Tooling Table Top if you are going to be changing out parts often.
Collaborative means that your operator is able to work safely, with proper PPE, next to the arm--Collaboratively. Intelligent contact-sensing technology allows the Cooper Cobots to stop and move with very little force. This is why it is OSHA approved and safe for a person to work side by side with the Cobot without the need for additional safety sensors like you would see on a "traditional" industrial robot.
Ideal application is high mix and low volume that would not justify a dedicated industrial cell. Repetitive and predictable welds can be programed and performed with the push of a button via the Integrated Push Button Torch or through the tablet using icon based teaching.
Once the weld is set up and programed in the tablet it will make a repeatable consistent weld every time. You can set up to 999 programs. The interface allows you to drag and drop points in a timeline fashion to build your program and select every detail of the weld.
The weld start, contact tip to work distance, work angle, travel angle and weld end are setup by simply moving the Cobot into position by hand and dragging the appropriate icon into the timeline. Once the icon is in place the Cobot remembers its position and will go there repeatedly every time. After your weld positions are taught you then utilize the tablet to take advantage of the full suite of waveforms made available via the PowerWave R450. It is here where you will select your waveform, based on material thickness and joint conditions, Wire Feed Speed, Voltage or Trim and Travel Speed. The Cobot is also capable of performing a weave to help achieve your desired weld profile. The Magnum PRO MIG Gun uses standard Lincoln Mangum PRO consumables which are industry proven and trusted for their longevity.
The tablet has the ability to switch between the icon based teaching and the legacy Fanuc display. This is great for schools to have the ability to teach how to program with both new and legacy technology. Backed by the welding experts and an 8 year ZERO maintenance on the CRX with the expectation of periodic battery replacement.
We have the Lincoln Electric Cooper Cobot with extended arm (55.8 inch arm.) Comes with Powerwave R450 mounted on a cart with Fanuc arm and Autodrive 4R100 feeder. We have found that the Cobot can be quickly programed for so many custom parts and applications.
In this video we show how it works and weld an actual real world part. We show a 37 point application that we programed.
We are impressed with the endless opportunities and uses for Cobots. We have been able to do several customer custom demos. We take their part, program it and show them how this Cobot can help their business grow. No way Cobots are taking over or even are good fits for every welding application. However when it is a solution a company can take bigger jobs, provide quality welds and increase output. Return on investment could be as little as one job.
We are taking the Cobot Challenge! We are looking for real companies and welding challenges to consider Cobot solution. The ideal Cobot weld is one that is high mix and low volume. If you think your business could benefit contact us to learn more.
**FREE Welding Engineer Consultation and if selected as a fit we will pay for your part to be shipped and returned to you. 1 hour virtual or in person demo and Lincoln Electric Gear Package shipped to you.
FAQ Lincoln Cobots
For more information and additional videos check out this page by Lincoln Electric.