By: Noelle Stapinsky
HUMAN AND THE MACHINE
” Like all automation solutions, programming and setting specific parameters can all be done virtually and offline. Those recipes or schedules can be added to the welder’s library on the welding cell. And as most companies tend to evolve around the sizes of pipe or tube they usually work with, there will already be a range of parameters that are well known.
“With the SWR we have a simple and safe robotic solution that gives high quality repeatable welds from root to cap on multiple sizes and schedules of pipe. Changing pipe sizes and parameters is as easy as choosing your pipe diameter, schedule and number of passes, positioning your torch,” says Hall. “Productivity increases of 30 per cent and more are easily attained within days of installation. All the welding is visible in real time on a monitor and all data is recorded for every weld for quality control and accountability.”
Programming parts in a virtual world gives the operator a good starting point and avoids the need for real-time changes on the shop floor. “Once you’re in the real world you are going to have some deviation from part to part, especially with pipe and tube,” says McKellar. “Generally, it’s going to be the same size, but the position might be different depending on the fixturing. If you have a preprogrammed path, you can offset that path by simply touch sensing a few features on that part and locally shifting the arc weld path.”
Semi-automated systems can also address any limitations robotic welding might have. While this technology is able to perform all welds from the root pass to the fill passes, consistency in those welds may vary. “In pipe welding, or any welding really, the most important pass is the root,” says Beardsley. “You bring two pipes together, leave a small gap and now you have to weld from the outside, penetrate in and get a good root pass. We sell the Mini Pantheon with a two headed welding system. The welder can hold one gun and do the root pass, then hang it up and bring the second gun (on the Mini Pantheon boom) down to the joint for the fill passes.” A welder might spend two minutes doing a root pass, but 18 minutes completing fill passes. ” Read More…