It doesn’t have to be a welding robot!
At some point, the time has come and:
- the manual welder reaches the limits of his physical capacity
- the quantities are too large to meet the desired delivery date
- the topic of automation must be discussed
Automation? Aren’t these robot welding cells which usually take up a lot of space and are really expensive? In order to make their purchase profitable, enough parts have to be processed to operate the system at full capacity. In addition, there is the programming of the welding robot, which requires additional knowledge. Is there no interim solution if an industrial welding robot is still a size too big? Yes, there is: cobot welding.
In a separate blog, we looked at cobots in general – and why the majority of small and medium sized companies are struggling to make the transition to automation and why cobots are an option to withstand the ever-increasing pressure of time and costs. In this blog we would like to present five facts that simply cannot be dismissed when it comes to cobot welding. Therefore, it is worth reading if you are not yet sure how you can improve your current situation individually.
There are 5 reasons for welding with a cobot:
1. With a cobot you save almost 60 % time and over 70 % costs
These figures sound almost unbelievable – but a comparative test has confirmed them. The following chart shows the results of this test in terms of efficiency and costs of a MIG/MAG welding process in comparison with a manual welder and a cobot. The welded material was S350 round steel with a wall thickness of 4 mm and a diameter of 25 cm, in a batch size of 800 pieces. The welding wire used was solid wire G3Si1 with a diameter of 1.2 mm. And the specified working time for both processes was eight working hours each.
The result of the comparative test
When looking at the unit costs in the chart, it is obvious directly in the line »duty cycle« that the cobot has more than twice as much active working time, which increases the efficiency of the cobot immensely compared to manual welding. Due to the reduced total time and the lower labor costs that can be applied to the production of a part with a cobot, the total costs per piece are correspondingly low compared to manual welding.
And this is how the investment costs pay off in relation to the cost savings:
Depending on capacity utilization, the purchase of a cobot is amortised after only 0.6 to 1.3 years (in single-shift operation).
2. The cobot already pays off with small batch sizes
Cobot welding is a bit different compared to robot welding. An industrial welding robot only pays off with large batch sizes. The costs of purchasing, programming and training are offset by the number and quality of the welded components. If the order situation is still far from large batch sizes, but the effort in the given time and quality is not feasible for a manual welder, or if it is simply a matter of relieving the welders, cobot welding is an excellent solution.
If you have a small or medium-sized company that struggles with increasing quantities, is under cost and quality pressure and always has to be absolutely flexible, you should consider cobot welding!
With a cobot you can easily and quickly adapt to new sizes and geometries. Already programmed welds are stored and can be recalled immediately for a new job. Where a manual welder understandably has to take a break due to the number of pieces welded, the cobot continues without interruption. And because it is very easy to program the cobot, it is also suitable for small series.
3. A cobot works with constant quality, once it is set up
Of course, a manual welder is ready quickly to start welding. A cobot first needs to be shown what to do. But unlike an industrial welding robot, the cobot can be programmed very easily.
Its big plus: once the cobot is set up, it will weld with constant quality, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if required. This is a great advantage over the manual welder, who naturally needs regular breaks and, as working hours progress, cannot weld the same quality as with the first workpieces.
Each welding task is also stored and can be recalled when required. Thus, if a job has to be repeated, there is no set-up time and the operator can start immediately. In addition, the cobot can be loaded by an employee from production and the manual welders can apply their welding expertise where it is needed.
4. Integrating a cobot into the production process is easier than expected
You can easily integrate the cobot into the production process. The required space is considerably smaller than for an industrial welding robot with housing, which is permanently integrated into the process. The advantage of cobot welding is that although you need a cell for CE certification, the housing can be designed and built much more flexibly, allowing you to operate your cobot in a variety of ways. For example, you can also use an overhead crane to lift components and load them onto the cobot.
A further advantage is its lightweight construction, which makes it more flexible in use. With the support of its axis sensor technology, the cobot detects a possible collision with humans and stops automatically. Nevertheless, you must still take appropriate safety precautions, because the welding torch, the welding wire and the entire process can also present a risk of injury. How exactly a cobot for welding can be integrated into your production process is explained by your trusted partner with whom you want to enter the exciting, versatile world of cobot welding.
5. Cobot welding supports and relieves the experienced welder
You are certainly also concerned about whether your welders will accept a cobot at all. Generally, the purchase of a robot is associated with the fear of losing a job. However, cobot welding is not comparable to welding with industrial welding robots, because the cobot is just a valuable tool, which can relieve and support the employee in large quantities and in constantly repeating processes. The welder still has the welding task in his hands – but the monotonous work is taken over by the cobot.
Cobot welding is frequently used in multilayer welding. This is very strenuous – yes, it is a real feat – and it takes a lot of welding time, which can be handled perfectly by the cobot. The welder continues to prepare the workpieces, but the heavy welding work is carried out by the cobot. Therefore, cobot welding is a support and relief for the manual welder. The easy to integrate welding fume extraction directly at the welding torch is also a health aspect and protects the employees from the dangerous fumes.
Our advice: Involve your employees directly from the start when planning a cobot for your production process. Experience has shown that they even develop their own ideas about which welding tasks the cobot could additionally take over in order to relieve them.
With this approach you will succeed in ensuring that your welders do not consider the cobot as a machine that takes away their jobs, but rather for what it is: a valuable tool that relieves and supports their own work.
Rate yourselfYou can quickly find out how urgent it is for you that something changes in your situation by using this self-test:
|Do you have enough welders?
|Do you have enough junior welders?
|Can you complete all orders in the requested time?
|Can you complete all orders in the requested quality?
|Are your welders satisfied with their working situation?
|Do you have the necessary conditions to increase your productivity?
|Are you flexible enough to switch from small batch sizes to larger batch sizes without much effort?|
|Do you have all the technical requirements to grow with your company?
Maybe you already sense it ... If you answered »no« to just one of the questions, cobot welding can help you to solve your current problems in your production long-term. So you can continue to say ... Happy welding!
If you want to know more about cobot welding, download our free eBook about the topic: