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Welding plants

The introduction of flexible robots for automated welding applications has drastically reduced market demand for the design and build of specific plants for automated welding processes. Today, designing a plant for a single application implies high costs; for this reason a techno-economic analysis needs to be performed to establish the requirement for any specific, purpose built automated plants, as opposed to using robots and their associated peripheral equipment.

Some of the criteria for choosing between the two solutions include:

  • cost evaluation in relation to the proposed objective;
  • productivity, also taking the number of welding heads to be installed on the automated plant into consideration;
  • choice of welding process, in order to define the weight and dimensions of the heads;
  • geometry of the joint for which each linear or orbital weld implies specific automated plant solutions;
  • the more dislocated the welds are, in space terms, the more an immediate use of robots and their related peripherals is indicated.

Using a robotic system forces one to conduct a rationalisation of the production processes to be carried out. It is possible to obtain higher quality joints coupled with a drastic reduction in finishing operations. A robotic system is extremely flexible and the speed of programming permits quick adjustments to be made around production needs.

 

Integration of the robot and services
In manual welding, the percentage of the arc lit is 30%; with the majority of robotic systems this percentage increases to, and even exceeds, the 80% mark. Peripheral, interlocking units facilitate manipulation of the weld pieces and rationalise the movements required to present the joint for welding in the ideal position for the job.

To attain top efficiency,  robotic systems used in industrial welding processes require the integration of experience and products such as:

  • modular peripherals combining servo fed positioners of varying reach and configurations;
  • transfer equipment of variable length to widen the robot’s area of operation;
  • fume evacuation and extraction systems, protection barriers to comply with health and safety regulations;
  • positioning masks and restraints for the weld pieces;
  • extremely reliable generators and welding torches;
  • technical staff for training courses, systems installation and technical support;
  • documentation and spare parts;
  • design departments to devise lay-out.