HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
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.)

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 2/2
Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Assembly advances
Ann R. Thryft   12/5/2011 12:11:08 PM
NO RATINGS

Dave, I, too, was surprised to hear that the robot costs less than an experienced welder. Of course, it still doesn't do everything an experienced welder can do. And, as you point out so clearly, the complexities of the automation process can get in the way of designing a better system. 


Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Does software make the robot cheaper?
Ann R. Thryft   12/5/2011 12:10:29 PM
NO RATINGS

Rob, you're exactly right, the overall COO is lower. Not only does the entire package cost less, including the robot itself, but the software gives engineers two options: program it yourself in an IDE or use the much easier point-and-click type interface for configuration and setup.

 


Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Assembly advances
Dave Palmer   12/5/2011 11:14:01 AM
NO RATINGS
There is no doubt that automation delivers tremendous advantages to shops who employ it.  My point is simply that automation brings with it a whole new set of manufacturing challenges.  Is it worth it? Sure.  But you are going to have to operate within the constraints imposed by the automated system, many of which you won't anticipate beforehand, no matter how hard you try.  And if you have smart and innovative process engineers, they will constantly be going up against these constraints and trying to figure out how to "break" them in order to get even more out of the system.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Assembly advances
Beth Stackpole   12/5/2011 6:41:27 AM
I agree with Alex that many of these production floor advances are not getting the "air time" that they should. Couple the improved automation systems with tighter integration with enterprise software platforms like PLM and MES and you have a recipe for manufacturers to get tighter controls, better visibility, and wring more efficiencies out of their production systems.

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Assembly advances
Alexander Wolfe   12/4/2011 5:53:50 PM
It's interesting to see how advance robots, better pick-and-place systems, and improved cameras (machine vision) and camera interfaces are together working in concert to improve reliability on the production line. This is not a trend that's getting a lot of publicity, but when you go and visit plants, they're clearly getting good ROI on this stuff.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Does software make the robot cheaper?
Rob Spiegel   12/2/2011 12:53:21 PM
NO RATINGS
You make an interesting point, Ann, when you mention that robot solutions may work for smaller shops. I would guess that means the overall cost of ownership is less. It sounds like it is less not necessarily because the robot is less expensive but because the software is less difficult from a user point of view. Does that mean that set-up is easier? It also sound like the new software doesn't require the programming that previous software required. Is that it?

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Constraints of automated systems
Dave Palmer   12/2/2011 11:19:37 AM
The fact that a fully-configured arc welding robot can be purchased for significantly less than an experienced welder makes in a year is pretty impressive.  Of course, the price of robot itself is only part of the cost of setting up an automated welding cell.  Also, automation imposes a whole new set of constraints on a manufacturing process, the consequences of which may not immediately be obvious.

For example, when I worked as a process engineer in highly-automated foundry, I came up with a way to reconfigure a mold which made four castings per pour so that it could make six castings per pour.  This was a big deal - the number of pieces per mold was directly related to profitability, and this was a 50% increase! It would have represented over $1 million per year in increased profit.

The only problem was that I couldn't get six castings to fit into one of the totes which was used to carry the parts to the automated finishing cell. (Actually, I figured out a way to get them to fit, as long as they were loaded a certain way.  But the way the process was set up required them to be randomly dumped into the tote.  Loading them in an ordered way would have required an additional robot).

With human beings, this would be no problem - just train the operator how to load the parts, or else just tell him to put three of the parts in one tote, and three of the parts in another tote.  But the automated system was set up such that one mold worth of parts had to go in a single tote! Re-writing the code to allow parts from a single mold to be split up between two totes turned out to be such a daunting task that none of the automation engineers - who were extremely talented guys, some of whom have since gone on to start their own company - was even willing to touch it.

Still, with the price of robots coming down, and increasingly user-friendly interfaces, it looks like automation will be making its way into more small-to-medium sized manufacturers.

<<  <  Page 2/2
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has entered Mars' atmosphere, carrying instruments to help Earthlings figure out what happened to it. Launched last November, the spacecraft arrived at the red planet right on time after a journey of 442 millionmiles.
More bioplastic materials have entered the 3D-printable filament fray. These PLA formulations reinforced with wood or bamboo fibers will debut at the October Composites Europe show in Germany.
Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
GE Aviation not only plans to use 3D printing to mass-produce metal parts for its LEAP jet engine, but it's also developing a separate technology for 3D-printing metal parts used in its other engines.
Design News Webinar Series
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 20 - 24, How to Design & Build an Embedded Web Server: An Embedded TCP/IP Tutorial
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 16
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service