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Engineering Materials
Little Robots Forge Automated Welding Cells
12/2/2011

The ArcPack Lean 1410 welding robot package is an example of the smaller, entry-level welding robot packages  now available for smaller companies. 
(Photo courtesy of ABB.)
The ArcPack Lean 1410 welding robot package is an example of the smaller, entry-level welding robot packages
now available for smaller companies.
(Photo courtesy of ABB.)

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naperlou
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Re: Little Robots in Automated Cells
naperlou   1/20/2012 10:31:23 AM
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Many job shop manufacturing operations got started using CNC machines to extend their ability to do small production runs of precision parts.  This will extend the reach of those shops.

GlennA
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Re: Little Robots in Automated Cells
GlennA   1/18/2012 9:38:38 AM
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William K;

I am leery of any software that claims to replace an experienced technician.

I have seen software that allowed a programmer to drive a CNC so hard that the tool melted the aluminum rather than cutting chips.

I also saw a CNC machine boring a 9/16' hole through a piece of 1/2" aluminum without a center drill or a pilot drill.  An experienced tool maker or machinist would cringe at this description.  I was called in because they wondered why the spindle bearings were sloppy.

And I have seen robotic welding applications programmed by 'computer geeks'.

Software cannot, in my experience, replace an experienced technician, but software can make an experienced technician more productive.  It seems only a technician can appreciate the value of the skills of another technician.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Little Robots in Automated Cells
Ann R. Thryft   12/28/2011 12:35:47 PM
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Andrew, thanks for your inputs. Can you tell us some more about used robots? That sounds like a great cost-saving idea. What characteristics of robots makes their usable lifetimes so long?


Robo_Weld_Programmer_1985
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Iron
Re: Little Robots in Automated Cells
Robo_Weld_Programmer_1985   12/20/2011 1:15:47 AM
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If anyone has any specific questions pertaining to robotic welding, programming or any other questions I am a robotic welding programmer for a large company in the Midwest. I use Panasonic, Fanuc, and ABB robots currently, and experience with Epson and Kawasaki material handling. Worked with Vision for a month, but do not have much knowledge on that other than all of the problems we had with it.

 

As to options for small companies who want to start up with a robotic department, a great solution is simple... BUY USED! Robot cells are like cars, as soon as they step off the car lot they lose half of their value. The robots I work with range from 2003 all the way back to 1993. The ABB was our oldest robot and ALL do what we want them to do. We actually just sold our ABB which I believe should be in a museum being that it was sooo old! To back up the programs I had to use Floppy disks! haha

 

Andrew

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Little Robots in Automated Cells
Ann R. Thryft   12/7/2011 12:56:00 PM
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William, your description of programming robots by hand makes it sound excruciating, and even more demanding and tedious than coding a machine vision application. Although this package is for the low end of robotic welding applications and therefore would require simpler programming, as Chuck points out.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Does software make the robot cheaper?
Ann R. Thryft   12/6/2011 2:35:57 PM
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I like your "plant-as-a-video-game" image, Rob. This same trend has come into machine vision during the last few years. Development software for vision apps is usually sold with both types: a GUI and a "real" programmers' interface for writing your own code. 


Charles Murray
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Re: Constraints of automated systems
Charles Murray   12/5/2011 11:40:35 PM
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A base robot that costs less than a welder for a year would almost certainly have constraints on the number of applications it could serve. But for those applications where it fits, it would seem almost impossible to pass on, especially if it offers a long-reliable lifetime.

vimalkumarp
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little robots
vimalkumarp   12/5/2011 10:08:13 PM
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Since it is more capable and easier to program and it is  aimed at non-programmers as well as programmers this will surely be of great importance.This is really a great development.

 

William K.
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Little Robots in Automated Cells
William K.   12/5/2011 8:55:47 PM
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This is a great development, and it should wind up making automating even short production runs economical. Programming these robots will wind up being the one thing that is a cost item. I have done robot programming in the manual mode, which is an intensely exacting process. Moving to each position with the required precision is quite tedious. Model based robot programming is a whole different realm, from what I understand. But it would seem that it may be better setting up a welding path on an actual part. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Does software make the robot cheaper?
Rob Spiegel   12/5/2011 1:15:02 PM
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Pretty cool, Ann. That whole point-and-click figuration and set-up is becoming more popular through the automation world. It's part of the whole plant-as-a-video game trend. Smart devices has helped the effort, and now apparently robots become an easier set up as well. This approach certainly keeps costs down.

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