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is the use of mechanized programmable tools (robots), which completely


automate a welding process by both performing the weld and handling the part. Processes such
as gas metal arc welding, while often automated, are not necessarily equivalent to robot welding,
since a human operator sometimes prepares the materials to be welded. Robot welding is
commonly used for resistance spot welding and arc welding in high production applications,
such as the automotive industry.

Robot welding is a relatively new application of robotics, even though robots were first
introduced into US industry during the 1960s. The use of robots in welding did not take off until
the 1980s, when the automotive industry began using robots extensively for spot welding. Since
then, both the number of robots used in industry and the number of their applications has grown
greatly. In 2005, more than 120,000 robots were in use in North American industry, about half of
them for welding.[1] Growth is primarily limited by high equipment costs, and the resulting
restriction to high-production applications.

Robot arc welding has begun growing quickly just recently, and already it commands about 20%
of industrial robot applications. The major components of arc welding robots are the manipulator
or the mechanical unit and the controller, which acts as the robot's "brain". The manipulator is
what makes the robot move, and the design of these systems can be categorized into several
common types, such as the SCARA robot and cartesian coordinate robot, which use different
coordinate systems to direct the arms of the machine.

The technology of signature image processing has been developed since the late 1990s for
analyzing electrical data in real time collected from automated, robotic welding, thus enabling
the optimization of welds.

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Switching from manual welding to a welding robot offers multiple advantages:

i  
c     Robots are a one-time purchase. After factoring in all
the money spent on the equipment cost and the hourly rate of a manual welder companies
typically find that robots are a cheaper alternative for welding needs. To figure out the
amount of money you can save annually by using a robotic system use our ROI
calculator.

i c     - Robots, unlike
humans, can be programmed to execute the same
weld repeatedly without even slight alteration.
They are capable of great precision. Robots are
less likely to make mistakes. This in turn leads to
a more reliable, high-quality product.

i  
c      - Robots are
able to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week with no
breaks, which means an increase in production.
With welding robots, cycle times are often much shorter, leading to more throughput.

i c    c  - Robots won't waste your time or materials. Their
programmed precision makes them less likely to waste products because of faulty
welding. They work quickly without taking breaks, saving valuable hours and cost.

i  
c      Welding can be hazardous to one's health.
Robots are oblivious and protected against welding dangers like smoke, fire, fumes -
taking humans out of potential danger.

i c   
 ! The large work envelopes of welding robots allow for better
part accessibility. Robots can reach tough spots without interrupting welds.
Perhaps the most popular applications of robots is in industrial welding.
The repeatability, uniformity quality, and speed of robotic welding is
unmatched. The two basic types of welding are spot welding and arc
welding, although laser welding is done. Some environmental
requirements should be considered for a successful operation. The
automotive industry is a major user of robotic spot welders. In 1985
Chrysler Motor Corporation's plants had a robot population of 900, 670

of which were used for spot welding. The total


number was about 2,350 in 1990. The other major welding task
performed by robots is arc or seam welding. In this application two
adjacent parts are joined together by fusing them, thereby creating a

seam. Spray Painting Applications Another popular


and efficient use for robots is in the field of spray painting. The
consistency and repeatability of a robot's motion have enabled near
perfect quality while at the same time wasting no paint.

The spray painting applications seems to epitomize the proper


applications of robotics, relieving the human operator from a hazardous,
albeit skillful job, while at the same time increasing work quality,
uniformity, and cutting costs. Assembly Operations Robots lend
themselves well to the tedious and repetitive nature of assembly tasks
provided that the proper planning and design have been done. In
addition, their high level of repeatability has allowed the development of
some new technologies in electronic assembly.

Palletizing and Material Handling Palletizing is the


act of loading or unloading material onto pallets. The newspaper
industry has been particularly hard hit by increased labor costs. Part of
the solution to this problem was to use robots like Cincinnati Milacron
Robot being used to palletize advertising inserts for a newspaper. Many
companies in the United States and Canada have been forced to close in
such areas as die casting and injection molding because they could not
compete with foreign firms. The introduction of robotics into this
process has allowed the same companies to remain viable.

In semiconductor
industry's IC chip manufacturigfacilities, various processses take place
within a clean room. This requires that personnel as well as robots not
introduce dirt, dust, or oil into the area. Since robots do not breath,
sneeze, or have dandruff, they are especially suited to the clean room
environment demanded by the semiconductor industry.Welding Safety

Welding safety««..Welding is an established manufacturing process with known potential


hazards. Potential safety hazards associated with arc welding include arc radiation, air
contamination, electrical shock, fire and explosion, compressed gases, and other hazards. Robots
were originally designed to perform the job functions of a human. They were designed to relieve
humans of the drudgery of unpleasant, fatiguing, or repetitive tasks and also to remove humans
from a potentially hazardous environment. In this regard, robots can replace humans in the
performance of dangerous jobs and are considered beneficial for preventing industrial accidents.
On the other hand, robots have caused fatal accidents.

The introduction of robots requires appropriate safety features in order to protect both those
working directly with the robot and others in the workshop who may not be aware of its potential
dangers. This can be provided in a number of ways.

One of the best solutions for robot safety is to purchase a complete welding cell from a robotic
integrator . A complete cell includes barriers, all necessary safety devices, and a method of
loading and unloading the workstation.

Each robot installation must be carefully planned from safety viewpoint to eliminate hazards.
When the robot is in operation it is necessary that people remain outside the work envelope.
Barriers or fences should be in place around the robot. All doors and maintenance openings must
be protected by safety switches, and the weld areas must be safe guarded so that the power is
immediately removed from the robot when a door is opened.. Emergency stop buttons should be
placed on all operator panels, robot cabinets and robot programming panels. Barriers must be
designed to completely surround the robot and eliminate the possibility of people climbing over
or under to get inside the barrier. Signal lights must be arranged on the robot or in the robot area
to indicate that the robot is powered.

         



A welding process that contains repetitive tasks on similar pieces might be suitable for
automation. The number of items of any type to be welded determines whether automating a
process or not. If parts normally need adjustment to fit together correctly, or if joints to be
welded are too wide or in different positions from piece to piece, automating the procedure will
be difficult or impossible. Robots work well for repetitive tasks or similar pieces that involve
welds in more than one axis or where access to the pieces is difficult.