Introduction to Robotic Welding

From the first time a caveman made a tool, humans’ daily lives changed from manufacturing. Take a look at everything around you right now.

Production and manufacturing are responsible for all you see that does not exist in nature. From the chairs we sit in at our desks to the cars we drive, robotic welding has touched many of these items.

At GMI, we’ve invested heavily in our robotic welding automation equipment and our personnel for several years. From handling heavy parts to improving our speed and safety rates to welding as consistently and efficiently as possible, our automation team has continued to impact our customer base. Contact us for information about our robotic welding services.

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Manufacturing Through The Ages

Originally, items were made by hand by individuals. Then in later centuries, by craftsmen in their small shops. Once the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, production moved out of those small shops and began in large factories.

When Eli Whitney invented the mechanized assembly line in 1797, manufacturing took off! Eli Whitney is the founder of the concept of interchangeable parts, which significantly increased the manufacturing process. Now, products could be manufactured in a continuous fashion versus assembled one-by-one.

One of the key processes in manufacturing metal items is welding. Welding is the process of joining two pieces of metal using heat and pressure. Welding has been around since the man’s early days. Egyptians developed pressure welding techniques as far back as 3000 B.C.

It wasn’t until the 1860s that Henry Wilde, using the electric sources available, patented the first form of electric welding.

The early- to mid-twentieth century was concerned with developing new, different, more advanced welding processes such as metal spinning. This time gave birth to arc welding, flux-cored welding, electron beam welding, and others.

While the process of welding puts humans in hazardous environments with extreme heat and toxic fumes, this application is necessary for manufacturing. For decades humans were put in danger at factories to meet manufacturing demands.

Then, in 1962, <record scratch> everything changed again. Enter robotics.

That year, General Motors started using the first industrial robot in their automobile factory – the ANIMATE, developed by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger. The ANIMATE performed spot welding on automobiles on the assembly line.

During the 1960s and 1970s, other robot manufacturers like FANUC, KUKA, and Motoman came on the scene. It did take some time before robotics became mainstream in the manufacturing industry.

Not until the 1980s did Robotic welding accelerate. It was then other automotive companies followed G.M.’s lead and started using robots for welding. Finally, industries began to understand the advantages of robotic welding, and the industry only grew from there.

By 2005, over 60,000 robotic welding machines were working throughout North America, mainly in the U.S. While some companies may have scoffed at the high price tag on automation, costs are decreasing as more and more companies switch to robotic welding automation.

With man’s fascination with metals and manufacturing, it is easy to see why robotic welding is the way of the future. It has offered significant advantages in the manufacturing industry for several reasons.

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Advantages Of Robotic Welding

You can segment the automated welding and cutting market into very specific categories. With this, our robots have gotten faster, stronger, reliable, easier to program, and cost-effective.

Robot welders create high-quality, precise welds. They also boost productivity on an assembly line. These robots save manufacturers money through:

  • labor costs because of their speed,
  • their ability to work without breaks,
  • and their reduction in errors.

Also, they raise any shop’s safety level by getting human workers out of hazardous welding environments, away from the extreme heat and the toxic fumes.

Robotic Welding Jobs 

While welders are no longer in danger, robots still need humans to program and function. And while manual welding may become less popular, humans will always be an important part of the welding and manufacturing process.

The titles may have changed slightly, but the humans who work with welding robots have many positions to fill:

  • Assembly Robotics Engineer
  • Robotic Weld Team Member
  • Robotic Technician
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Applications Engineer
  • Applications Technician
  • …and more!

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Robots Answering The Need

Manufacturing production is experiencing its sharpest increase since June 2012. As such, the awareness and usage of robotic automation have reached new heights. Manufacturers are taking advantage of the economic climate by investing in capital equipment to increase quality and productivity.

Driven by the increase in demand and labor shortages, manufacturers are looking to reduce time to market and the costs associated with production. This void, along with more affordable and capable robots, has fueled a greater level of intensity within the manufacturing sector for buying robots.

As a result, robotic automation has soared in recent years.

One of the main uses of robots in robotic welding is to increase efficiency, productivity, and, most importantly, safety in manufacturing. Welding is a tricky business because it is always associated with heat, flames, smoke, and radiation. It is a good idea to use robots for these dangerous tasks.

Robotic welding came into existence nearly a quarter of a century ago. Robotic automation is useful in various manufacturing industries. To take an example from everyday life, check with your car manufacturer to see how it was produced—likely using an assembly line technique using robots with long spider-like arms quickly moving and joining parts together to create your vehicle.

At GMI, we’ve invested heavily in our robotic welding automation equipment and our personnel for several years. From handling heavy parts to improving our speed and safety rates to welding as consistently and efficiently as possible, our automation team has continued to impact our customer base. Contact us for information about our robotic welding services.

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