Robotic Automation in Welding

You may think that robotic welding is a new concept. You are wrong! This welding type has been around for more than 60 years. In the 1980s, the industrial robot industry spiked and companies came up with new robotic welding machines every month. Since then, industrial robots called Cobots have been invented and they are working alongside humans.

This quick blog discusses robotic welding, its perks and the future advances that are yet to embrace robotic welding.

What is robotic welding?

A special type of industrial robot is used in robotic welding. These robots are programmed to execute welding tasks as per the predefined parameters. So they are stationary and are used to repeatedly perform the same welding operation. 

But how can they operate properly and maintain consistent weld quality? Many robotic welding systems are equipped with sensors, cameras, or vision systems. They provide real-time feedback to the robot during welding. This feedback allows robots to adjust welding parameters, compensate for variations in material or fit-up, and maintain consistent weld quality.

Why automate the welding process?

Today, robotic automation has revolutionized the welding industry, which is why multiple industries are adopting welding automation. Some perks of robotic welding are listed below:

Increases productivity

Robots can work continuously without breaks, which leads to higher throughput and shorter production cycles. Since they don’t require rest or shift changes, you get a round-the-clock operation.

Consistent quality

Human welders may experience differences in technique, skill level, or even get tired. This can cause inconsistencies in the weld quality. Here, robotic welders can operate precisely and eliminate these issues.

Improved safety

We know that welders are often exposed to high temperatures and sparks. By automating welding tasks, you can improve the safety standards of the workers and reduce the safety risks.

Cost savings

The initial investment in robotic welding systems is high. No questions about that. But in terms of cost savings, you win because they often outweigh the upfront cost.

What does the future of robotic welding look like?

Currently, robotic welding is employed in only smaller construction projects. However, with evolving technology, we expect this trend to change. 

Some future innovations that will help are:

1. Mind-controlled welding robots

While programmed welding robots have to start with a process, future operators may simply have to think about what they want the robot to do. 

To implement this, researchers have developed headgear that converts brain signals into robotic welding arm motions. This reduces the amount of training required for existing manual welders to become robotic operators.

2. Collaborative robots

Also called cobots, these robots are designed for easy human interaction and come equipped with sensors for data acquisition and adaptive responses.

They work along with human operators and assist in tasks such as manual welding without the need for extensive programming. 

So, robotic welding is not an alien concept; it’s something that’s evolved over the years. While it won’t completely eliminate manual welders, it can smooth the process and make it safer than the traditional welding process.

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