There have been many misconceptions about robotic welding. It is easy and simple if applied in the right way. Welding forms the core basis of construction. You cant build a house especially industrial building without welding and cutting metals together.
The history of sticking metal together dates back to the Bronze and Iron Ages in the middle east and Europe. Glaucus of Chios according to the greek history was the man who single-handedly invented iron welding. The middle-age invented the the iron forging industry. Sir Humphry Davy discovered the electric arc welding in 1801 while in 1802 Vasily Petrov, a Russian scientist developed continuous electric welding. Elihu Thomson in 1885 created resistance welding which was followed by Thermite welding in 1893. Welding has made great improvements in the 1920s where automatic electrode wire was introduced and later shielding as. In 1958 electron beam welding was introduced which was followed by a breakthrough of laser beam welding in 1960 which boosted automated welding because of its high-speed welding.
There are different four different types of welding
- Gas Tungsten welding is one of the time-consuming methods which is characterized by welding non-ferrous or stainless metals. It may also use electrode for welding.
- Flux Cored welding which is mostly used in the construction industry because it uses the semi-automatic method.
- Shielded metal arc applies electric current to form an arc that joins the metal together.
- Gas metal arc is used in most industries. It involves heating to metals until they join together.
Welding is faced by many challenges like an improper machine set up leading to poor welding, poor maintenance of welding machines, not using anti-spatter which to prevent spattering, poor metal quality, uncontrolled gas flow, high consumption of energy. The welding process is very costly and lastly any simple mistake in welding no matter how minor it seems it can lead to a high waste of materials. To solve these challenges companies are trying to apply AI and solve these challenges. ARC Specialties Inc is one of the companies based in Houston that design automated robots for welding.
AI and Robotics in welding
ARC Specialties Inc developed Artificial Intelligence Pipe Welding (AIPW) system. It is a golden arm with six-axis which cooperate with the robot arm of the main universal robot. This is not the first company advanced robot but they have a snap-weld which is a cooperative robot that uses teach rings to learn and operate along with the weld point. They also have Snap-cut which cuts steel into a three-dimensional structure.
The ARC robot has a library of pre-programmed designs stored in it to be utilized. The operator feeds it with parameters and the robot utilizes the codes stored in it to work automatically. This would be difficult if it was a human being doing it. This is a representation of implementing artificial intelligence. The robot is small and portable giving one the freedom of moving around with it. Its cooperate well with humans hence very safe to work with it.
Advantages of Autonomous welding
Welding is a risky task that requires high accuracy, speed, efficiency, and consistency. No matter how best a welder is he cant reach these requirements which include;
- Productivity. Automation works fast without taking breaks like people making production fast.
- Quality. Robots consistency and quality are very high and dependable.
- Safety. Robots can send signals when there is a failure also they are not affected by noise, heat, and sparks like human beings.
- Efficiency. When it comes to cost, robots help reduce wastage hence reducing cost.
- Efficiency for workers. Skilled workers do not overwork since robots can help them.
Robot welding technology makes welding more precise, less costly, reduce wastage and provide a safer and conducive working environment. While it reduces manual jobs its an advantage on the other hand.