fbpx Skip to main content

Published by: World Pipelines – July 2021

Soroush Karimzadeh, MBA, P.Eng., PMP, Chief Executive Officer, Novarc Technologies, Canada and Matt Yarmucy, MSc, P.Eng., IWE, MattCo Engineering Solutions Inc., Canada, outline how to find optimal technology to enhance welding automation.

It’s a CFO’s dream: the promise of technology in industry to improve productivity, bring quality up, and costs down. But promises turn into problems when reality gets in the way. There is frustration in finding out that your results in the field, or on the shop floor, don’t square with your expectations.

Welding is no exception. Significant differences in the production environment between shop and field welding conditions, or comparing roll welding to welding in position, will often result in difficult comparisons. To fully understand all the facets of welding costs: reliable, accurate and repeatable data collection must be achieved.

Novarc Technologies in North Vancouver, British Columbia, creators of the world’s first collaborative Spool Welding Robot
(SWR), wanted ‘real world’ proof to quantify the productivity and quality improvements that were attainable with its new
development in advanced welding processes and automation technologies.

Novarc designs and builds robots for industrial applications (pipe welding, pressure vessel manufacturing and other 1G welding applications) using advanced mechanical control and vision based systems. Given the fluidity of the shop floor working environment, the Novarc team has created an innovative solution using a floating long reach manipulator, with a three-axis cobotic arm at the end. Novarc’s breakthrough welding cobot, the SWR, increases the dexterity and flexibility of the human operator, improving productivity on the shop floor and reducing costs for the pipe shop.

Contrary to some public concern that automation technologies are taking jobs from humans, Novarc’s SWR is actually assisting less-skilled workers to work alongside the robot, allowing highly-skilled welders to extend their careers. This is helping the welding industry to solve a huge problem: the severe global shortage of highly skilled welders impacting numerous industries such as pipeline construction for oil and gas, energy utilities, water and wastewater and shipbuilding, to name a few. Pipe shops serving these global industries require highly skilled welders, and according to the American Welding Society, this is a looming labour crisis that will escalate to a shortage of about 400 000 welders in the next three years. Read More…