By taking what is considered one of the most intricate manufacturing processes and automating it, companies can increase efficiency of output at a lower cost, to keep profit margins higher and sustain better levels of quality. This article will explain the benefits of hard automation.
Traditionally, most manufacturing companies in the business of assembling parts have taken great pains to automate the factory floor, but have failed to address the welding process. In some cases, manual welding is still required. However, in many cases these days, most welding processes can be automated, given the advancements in software, tools, and technologies that support it.
The key to knowing if welding automation applies to a process relies on some key considerations:
- · Is the quality or function of the weld critical in the final piece? If so, these are the applications that benefit most from automation.
- · If repetitive welds are required on identical parts.
- · If parts have collected a great deal of value before welding.
Some examples that are perfect candidates for automated welding are:
- · Capacitor Cans
- · Valve Elements
- · Batteries
- · Sensors
- · Pipe Fittings
- · Medical Components
- · Fuel Filters
Automating the welding portion of the assembly for these types of items bring costs down, increase quality and consistency, and decrease waste.
The overall quality of a weld consists of weld integrity and repeatability. Using automated welding systems, like that offered in orbital welding machines, yields integrity through automated weld process controllers that consistently apply the correct amount of weld on every application, for every part.
Efficiency and output increases when welding is performed by machines. They can be tuned to weld to exacting standards, which is oftentimes not attainable on a consistent and long-term basis through manual welding. Automatic and semi-automatic systems remove the human factor from welding to increase production rates.
Human factor and errors are also removed by automation of the torch and any moving parts. Automation guarantees each weld is like the one before it. The same consistency, the same application rate, and the weld only occurs if all requirements are met. Humans tend to overlook small inadequacies and weld over them. Machines will not do this, which means results will be consistent and less product will be scrapped as waste, another savings in cost.
Most semiautomatic systems can produce, at a minimum, twice the output of a skilled welder with quality results. Machines also are on duty when you need them. If workers are unable to come in, you lose production rates, unless you can find skilled replacements. Finding skilled workers has become more challenging. However, finding a core set of skilled welders who can operate automated machinery is an easier goal to reach, which makes automated welding an option that bears increased cost-savings.
It is always important to remember that automation does not always guarantee profitability. The welding process being automated must fit the criteria for automation in order to yield desired results. Taking care to study and analyze what you plan to automate before making the investment will help you make the most of your investment dollar, and achieve greater profitability.