When relying heavily on the accuracy and reliability of machinery to manufacture a product, there needs to be total confidence in the robotic system. This article aims to outline what to expect from a Robotic Welding system.
To some, the idea of integrating robotic welding into their manufacturing process still raises concern – particularly around whether robotic integration would result in job losses. However, as many manufacturers have found since taking that big step into automation, those fears have proved to be unfounded with robotic welding demonstrating some clear advantages for manufacturers and for the humans they’ve replaced at the production line.
Welding is dangerous work with manufacturing jobs among the top three occupations reporting the most serious claims in a 2020 Worksafe Australia report. Serious claims result when compensation is paid due to an incapacity to work from the injury sustained for one or more weeks. Manufacturing alone was responsible for 12% of these claims in 2017/18 workers compensation report. Some of the injuries in those claims would have come from manual welding and could have been from the following hazards:
- Electric shock
- Toxic fumes and gasses – inhaling manganese can cause severe damage to your brain and nervous system. If welding is done near solvents containing chlorinated hydrocarbons, the ultraviolet light can react with the solvents to form phosgene gas, which is deadly even in small quantities.
- Respiratory problems as breathing in iron oxide irritate nasal passages, throat, and lungs.
- Fire and explosions
- Corneal Burn – also known as welders flash, caused by ultraviolet light exposure that permanently damages the eye’s cornea.
Manufacturers have widely supported new technology aimed at improving worker safety. While robotic welders may have replaced manual welders in the most dangerous areas of the production process, there will always be roles for highly qualified welding tradespeople, including operating, programming and design/customisation of the welds. Manufacturers can be confident that one of the most important benefits of integrating robotic welding is their ability to improve the safety of the very employees they’re concerned about losing.
Additional to safety and allowing employees to move into higher-skilled positions, productivity is seen as another starting point when weighing up the advantages of automation. With robotic welding, there’s no doubt that productivity is greatly improved with the speed of a robotic welder driving down the unit cost – allowing local manufacturers to compete with cheaper imports. This has become increasingly prudent as manufacturing locally becomes a more popular option – especially as businesses look to overcome the challenges of a global pandemic.
Not only is robotic welding fast, but it is also unbeatable when it comes to accuracy. It is estimated that a robotic welder can achieve the correct welding angle, speed, and distance with repeatable accuracy of (± 0.04 mm). This means that every single welding joint is produced to the best possible quality standard, significantly reducing the need for costly rework. By giving product quality a significant boost and reducing re-welds, the increased productivity allows for additional output.
Scott offers three types of standard robotic welding: a Compact Rotary Table Weld Cell, a Flexible Track System, and a Back to Back Weld Cell, also, we can provide customised weld cells. All Scott cells provide the confidence manufacturers need when starting to integrate automation - increased safety, improving quality and higher production.