Recently, our engineering team at Spartan Robotics added a new feature to the Spartan capability deck that allows the welder direct control of external servo motors. This increases the ability to interact with the workpiece. The workpiece can be mounted at any angle and rotated for different weld angles and larger workpiece sizes or linear axis integration for applications that require multiple weld-points along a much larger range (like welding fences). Either the robot can be moved and an additional servo axis, or the workpiece can be moved. This blog explores how this enhanced mobility and flexibility in automated welding, achieved through custom CBuns (Capability Bundle) programming, opens the door to additional automated welding applications in a variety of industries.
Spartan Robotics proudly integrates best-in-class products such as Fronius welding systems, Kassow Robots, and Yaskawa Motion technology - it’s what sets this welder apart from others in the industry. Specifically, Kassow's 7-axis robot, renowned for its unparalleled reach, allows the Spartan Welder to access more positions and angles than ever before. Combine this with Yaskawa's precision servo motors, and the welder's operational flexibility and efficiency skyrockets. The Fronius welding system complements this by ensuring optimal welding performance and quality. Now the Spartan welder can take on a larger array of tasks, from complex infrastructural projects requiring extensive linear welds to intricate tasks like pipe welding and manufacturing marine equipment.
Understanding the Technology
At the core of this advancement is the integration of specialized software and hardware that allows for greater control over the welding process. This enables a welding robot to move along a linear axis or to rotate a workpiece at various angles. Essentially, it gives the robot the ability to weld in multiple directions and on different planes without manual repositioning of the part.
The key component here is a servo motor, a device known for its precision in controlling motion. When integrated with a robotic welding system, this servo allows the welder to perform complex movements. These movements are crucial for tasks like long fence welds or working on larger cylindrical objects like pipes which may require rotation for the arm to be able to reach each weld point.
Advantages of Enhanced Mobility
- Precision and Consistency: By automating movement, the welding robot achieves a high level of precision and consistency, reducing the likelihood of errors.
- Increased Productivity: The ability to weld in multiple directions without manual intervention speeds up the welding process, leading to increased productivity.
- Versatility: This technology enables welding in positions and angles that would be challenging or impossible for manual welders, broadening the range of projects that can be tackled.
- Reduced Labor Intensity: The automated system takes on the physically demanding aspects of welding, reducing strain on human workers and the need for skilled labor in certain tasks.
- Improved Safety: Automated movement reduces the risk to human workers, as it minimizes their exposure to the hazards of welding.
Practical Use Cases for New Welding Capabilities
In industries such as oil and gas, pipe welding is a common yet intricate task. The ability to rotate pipes for welding at different angles, now a feature of the Spartan Welder, significantly enhances the quality and speed of these operations and opens the door to larger diameter workpieces. Traditional pipe welding often involves manual rotation and adjustment, which can be time-consuming and less precise. Automated rotation ensures uniform welds around the pipe, crucial for maintaining pipeline integrity and safety. This enhanced control and efficiency are particularly beneficial in high-stakes environments where precision and reliability are key.
For infrastructure projects like bridges and buildings, welding long sections like beams or fencing is essential but challenging. Traditional methods are time-consuming, requiring multiple setups and manual labor. With the new CBuns written, this application is now able to be automated and streamlined where before it would require multiple instances of manual intervention to align the workpiece. When paired with a linear axis, it allows continuous, automated welding along long sections, drastically reducing the time and labor required. This not only accelerates project timelines but also ensures consistent weld quality, crucial for structural integrity and safety. The ability to automate these extensive welding tasks makes complex infrastructure projects more feasible and efficient.
Marine Equipment Manufacturing
In marine equipment manufacturing, particularly for small boats, the ability to rotate mid-sized parts like hull sections or engine components during welding is often critical. Traditional methods - even if using a robot welding cell - require manual repositioning which makes the process less efficient and can lead to variable weld quality. Our new add-on enables automated rotation of the workpiece, allowing the welding robot to access all weld locations without manual intervention. This feature is essential for complex shapes often encountered in marine parts, where precision and structural integrity are crucial. The automated rotation not only improves weld consistency but also reduces production time, an important factor in high mix, low volume manufacturing settings.