Welding refers to the general process of fastening metal sheets together. There are various types of welding, each used depending on the metal type, strength and quality of the weld needed, the purpose of the end product and much more. Stud welding, for example, uses a hot arc that melts the metal and simultaneously presses and fuses the materials. Welding goes back centuries and is still widely used today to construct many everyday items such as kitchen counters, jewellery, metal signs, and more.
In more recent decades, automated machinery, otherwise referred to as robotic welding, has started to be introduced into the welding industry. Instead of the weld being achieved manually, a machine is set to a specific power, speed and position and does the job for you. There is a vast range of benefits, including the improved output of welds, improved quality and consistency of welds, and reduced wastage. However, it’s still essential for welders to consider whether automated welding machinery is suitable for their purpose before investing.
Welding processes can be either fully automated or semiautomatic. Fully robotic welding involves a series of machines carrying out the entire welding process, loading the metal sheets and positioning them right through to achieve the weld, monitoring the weld quality, and unloading the end product. There is no manual intervention required from workers making fully automatic welding a highly efficient process that can be done on a large scale. Semi-automated welding is similar, but instead of the entire process being automated, manual work is required to load the materials, position them and unload them once the weld is complete. Semi-automated welding can still be hugely beneficial instead of manual welding as you can ensure the welds are of consistently high quality. However, the output will be lower and less fast-paced than a fully robotic weld.
Here are just some of the main benefits of introducing automated welding machinery:
Improved and consistent quality welds
Automated welding increases the quality of the welds by improving their repeatability. Repeatability is one of the main ways that the quality of a weld is measured, with automated machinery being able to achieve the same type, quality, strength and position of weld every time. There is no human intervention with robotic welding, completely removing the risk of human error that can occur and interfere with a weld’s quality, strength, and appearance. Essentially, the less input needed from a human, the better and more consistent the quality of the end products can be.
If you’re considering moving to automated welding machinery but aren’t sure where to source these from, Taylor Studwelding is the UK’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of stud welding machinery. They offer a range of automated machines that range from full to semi-automated, allowing you to achieve welding rates of up to sixty welds per minute and can also weld multiple metal components simultaneously to hugely increase your workplace’s output and allow you to scale your production up or down to meet demand.
Increased productivity and efficiency
Automation also increases the quality and repeatability of automated welding; there is also an increased output of welds. Automatic machinery is set to certain speeds, power levels, and positions and, while set, will output welds repeatedly. With fully robotic machinery, no human interference can slow down the process, allowing you to scale up your outputs to meet specific demand with no issue, providing you have sufficient materials.
On top of this, machines don’t run out of steam or become tired over time; they will keep repeatedly going until switched off, unlike humans that require regular breaks if they are to carry out welds effectively without fatigue impacting the quality of the end products. Essentially, the more automated a system of machines is, the higher the output as you aren’t reliant on human staff showing up and putting the manual labour in to achieve this.
Reduced waste and cleanup
Manual welding, as opposed to automated machinery, naturally has a much higher risk of error due to the human element, which, over time, can lead to wasted metal and materials in general, costing you time and money. Robotic or semi-automated welding means each weld is achieved with a consistent production process according to the positioning and power you set, leaving no room for error and little to no wastage.
On top of this, less mess is made by automated welding machinery. For example, the machines won’t cause metal spattering as it’s melted, so there is much less manual cleanup required at the end of each working day, saving you time, labour costs and resources.
Should you use automated welding machinery?
There are several key questions to ask yourself and consider before moving to automated welding machinery.
- What materials are you using, and are your metals suitable for use with automated machines?
- How consistent do the quality of your welds need to be?
- Is there anything wrong with your current welding processes? If yes, what is the specific problem and will an automated machine solve it? For example, do you need increased output of welds or improved weld quality?
- How much do you have to invest in an automated welding machine?