A Few Reasons Why Companies Choose Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot vs. Rail-based Fixed Automation

Companies that have invested in the SWR have increased their pipe welding productivity by 3-5 times and have dropped their repair rate to less than 1%. This is making our customers more competitive when bidding on jobs, and it has increased margins on contracts they’ve already won. The SWR is also allowing our customers to bid on projects they never would’ve considered before. Now they can go after projects that have short delivery timeframes as well as other projects that they wouldn’t have had margin to bid on.

Why the SWR is Different

“Novarc showed up here with what we call a “fresh air”. A new product that is really dedicated to improving pipe welding.” – Martin Cartier, Director of Ganotec-Muga Fab.

Spool Welding Robot (SWR)

Rail-based Fixed Automation

Up to 5x Increase in Pipe Welding Productivity

Up to 4x Increase in Pipe Welding Productivity

“We have seen a 5x increase in productivity After 1 week of production on larger pipes (30”)” – ???, Black and McDonald.

200-350 diameter inches/shift on carbon steel
569-998 diameter inches/shift on stainless steel

150-300 diameter inches/shift

“A 16” schedule 10 (stainless steel) weld would take 2-1/2 hours or so to get a purge set up and then weld out. We now can do a 16” schedule 10 weld in 12- minutes that will pass RT.” – David Ray, Pipe fabrication shop foreman at W.W. GAY Mechanical.

Minimal footprint at 4’ by 4’.

The SWR is small enough to fit anywhere in your shop (against the wall, in the corner, or in the middle of the shop).

Fifteen times larger footprint at 40' by 7'

“We looked at a few other options when looking for welding solutions. The edge that Novarc has is the footprint of the equipment, we have a lot more flexibility with the SWR. If the average pipe size of the shop is really small, we can just park the equipment and it does not take a lot of square footage”, says Martin Cartier, Director of Ganotec-Muga Fab.

Positioners  Layout

Flexible, modular floor layout integrating with up to 5 positioners. Positioners can be moved to a different layout by the customer after installation (requires forklift or crane)

Fixed and permanent layout for the machine and positioners.

Production Flow

No need to change production flow due to small footprint and flexible positioners layout

Severe impact on production flow due to large footprint and fixed layout

Welding Process

Root to cap welding with automatic switchover between passes. No need to stop and grind between passes (GMAW or MCAW options), hence improved quality and faster weld times.

Stops in between root and hot pass which requires grinding the root and could result in weld failure.

Positioner Integration

Ability to integrate with 2 to 5 positioners. Can be integrated with existing positioners.

Works with only 2 positioners. No integration with existing positioners.


Choice of spool or drum. Drums are typically half the cost of spools in $/lb.

Only uses specific spools of wire. Spools are typically double the cost of drums in $/lb.

Shielding Gas

Comes with the Electronic Welding Regulator (EWR) to save up to 60% shielding gas.

No option of saving shielding gas.

Welding Power Sources

Multiple power options:
– Lincoln Electric Power Wave® R450
(best-in-class from Lincoln for robotic welding with Waveform Control Technology®) and STT module
– Miller Auto-Continuum 500

No choice of power source.
Lincoln Power Wave® S500.

Spool Variety

Ability to weld 50% of the joints on average for a single project due to robotic arm’s slender design.

Ability to weld only 10 – 20% of joints on average for a single project due to limitation of arm and carriage system.

Pipe Diameter Range

2”- 60”

3” – 24” or 24” – 48”

Carriage Systems and Rails

No carriage system required.

Complicated carriage system to move along pipes.
Carriage is slow when moving between joints.
More failures and maintenance points down the road. 

Setup Time

Easy robot movement between joints using pneumatic manipulator
Setup time between joints up to 3 min (from starting to move the robot from one joint to welding a new joint).

Time-consuming setup process requiring carriage travel between joints.

“I was really interested to see that we can do small piping work with the SWR because that’s a lot of what our general products are (around 2” – 12”).” – Wade Eno, CEO of RoboFab.

About Novarc Technologies

Novarc Technologies is a Canadian-based robotics company specializing in the design and commercialization of collaborative robots for industrial applications. Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot (SWR) is the world’s first of its kind in pipe welding application. Novarc’s SWR has built a reputation for its unique form factor and advanced features for pipe welding not unlike a human’s precision and dexterity, with an operator-friendly user interface, adaptive control systems for accurate torch control, and machine learning algorithms to detect features.

As a proven pioneer in the field, Novarc has a dedicated team of engineers and scientists eager to solve challenging industrial automation problems that improve customers’ bottom line. The welding industry is looking to adopt these technologies in order to solve the shortage of qualified welders, accommodate the millennials workforce, and solve the cleantech challenges of this century.