Robotic welding is the use of robots to perform welding tasks automatically. This technology has been used for several decades and has revolutionized the welding industry. Robots are more accurate, faster, and can work continuously, making them ideal for mass production environments. Let’s explore the use of robots in welding or robotic welding and how they have improved the welding industry.
The first robot was developed in 1954 by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger. It was called the Unimate and was used to transport die-casting parts from one machine to another. In the 1960s, the automotive industry started using robots for spot welding, and by the 1980s, they had become common. Today, robot welding is used in many industries, including aerospace, shipbuilding, and construction.
Robot welding offers several advantages over traditional welding methods, including:
There are several types of robot welding, including:
Arc welding is a procedure that uses an electric arc to melt and join metals. Robots can be programmed to perform arc welding using various methods, including MIG, TIG, and plasma welding.
Spot welding is the most common type of robot welding. It involves using a robot to combine two metal sheets by creating a series of small welds in a welding course.
Laser welding uses a high-powered laser to melt and join metal parts. Robots can be programmed to perform laser welding tasks with high precision.
This welding is a solid-state joining process that involves using a non-consumable tool to join two metal parts. Robots can be programmed to perform friction stir welding work with high accuracy.
To perform robot welding tasks, several pieces of equipment are required, including:
The robot arm is the most critical piece of equipment in robot welding. It is responsible for carrying out the welding tasks, and it is controlled by a computer program.
The welding gun is the tool used to perform welding program tasks. Depending on the welding method used, there are different types of welding guns.
The welding power supply provides the electrical energy required to create an electric arc or laser beam to perform the welding tasks.
The wire feeder is responsible for feeding the welding wire into the welding gun. The wire is melted and used to join the metal parts.
Programming a robot for welding involves several steps, including:
The first step is to design the welding process, which includes selecting the appropriate welding technique, the type of filler material, and the welding parameters like current, voltage, and speed.
Once the welding process is designed, the next step is to create the robot’s path or trajectory. This is done using specialized software that allows the programmer to create a virtual model of the workpiece and define the robot’s movements.
The next step is to program the robot. This involves writing the code to control the robot’s movements and actions during welding. The code is typically written in a specialized programming language like RAPID or KAREL.
After the robot has been programmed, it is important to test and debug the code to ensure that it is working correctly. This involves running the robot through a series of tests to verify that it performs the welding process as intended.
Once the robot is programmed and tested, it needs to be integrated with other systems like the welding power source, the wire feeder, and the welding torch. This is typically done through a control system that allows the robot to communicate with these other systems.
Finally, the robot’s performance can be optimized by fine-tuning the welding parameters and robot movements. This can help to improve the quality of the welding job and increase productivity.