Weld My World - Welding News

Work With (Not Against) Robotic Welding

Woman and robot touching hands

The Matrix, Terminator, and I, Robot all did it – explored the idea of man VS machine. As always with these types of films, the two cannot co-exist. Fortunately for us, that mentality is only for the cinemas. Real world situations require that humans work with robots to achieve the best possible outcome on the job.

The Michigan government’s official website lists some tasks that are required of welding robot operators:

Insert a specified welding electrode, rod, or torch tip into the welding machine  

Set guides and work-holding devices for welding machine 

Adjust the welding machine controls for the proper flame, electric current, or air and hydraulic pressure  

Observe machine operation to detect malfunctions and to ensure compliance with procedures  

Inspect finished products for adherence to specifications and for defects  

There are even different specializations in operating welding robot machines, such as:

  Arc-Welding Machine Operator

  Gas-Welding Machine Operator, and

  Resistance-Welding Machine Operator

As you can see, there are opportunities for humans to work with robotic welding systems. It doesn’t matter how efficient a machine is, at the end of the day a skilled, human operator is still needed to ensure a smooth operation. If robotic welding still makes you uneasy, understand that “robot take-over” can’t happen anytime soon. Sales of robotic welding equipment have plummeted heavily in this economy.

Robotic welding is primarily used in the automobile industry, so its use is tied to how well the industry is doing. The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) last reported robotic welding systems sales are down by 30% (from a November 2009 article).

Even non-automotive customers have scaled back on purchasing robot welders. The RIA reports 32% drop in units bought and 41% drop in dollars made for the robotics industry. Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA, has this to say about the current state of the industry:

“The North American robotics industry is facing its stiffest test in more than two decades right now as it intensifies its efforts to reach a wide-range of non-automotive customers to offset the cutbacks by the automotive industry.”

So whether you’re looking to work with or against robotic welding systems, there are many reasons to support your choice either way. Would you consider working as a welding robot operator if robotic welding became the standard, or would you opt to enter another career path? Food for thought.

To find out more about what it takes to be a robotic welding machine operator, visit Michigan.gov.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.