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Robotic Welding Systems

Robotic welding, or automated welding, streamlines the welding process by leveraging robotics to reduce errors, speed up production, and create consistent high-quality welds through the use of automated machinery. More manufacturers are utilizing robotic welding technology for these benefits — as well as the additional advantages of less material waste and faster turnaround to benefit their bottom line.

Tec-Option is the industry leader in flexible, modular robotic welding systems. We provide lean manufacturing advantages, utilizing one common machine style with numerous types of processes to be performed.

Tec-Option’s robotic welding systems offer numerous unique features.

  • Superior design, enabling system utilization for multiple applications. Most competitor systems are only applicable to a dedicated single-use capital investment.
  • Minimum space: Our design extends your capital investment to multiple programs, minimizes your floor space requirements, reduces maintenance, training support, and enhances operator ergonomics and safety.

robotic welding system

robotic welding equipment automated welding machine

  • Faster production: Tec-Option’s quick change tool modules can be easily exchanged in less than one minute. Tooling changes typically occur 3 times per day. Most competitor systems require 5 to 10 minutes to complete each welding tooling change
  • Higher productivity: Double-Time, a Tec-Option unique parallel processing mode in which multiple robots work together with the operator to boost manufacturing productivity and minimize labor. Most competitor systems can only work on one task at a time.
  • Interchangeable Tooling, a Tec-Option unique feature in which robotic welding operations use fast interchangeable tooling that can be performed by an operator of any skill level. Most competitor systems require fully skilled and certified operators. In addition to faster change-outs by operators of any skill level, our systems provide the ability to add welding options.
  • Centralized work cell power distribution: Robots, positioners, welding equipment, lighting and peripherals are supplied from one power supply cable.

Robotic Welding vs. Manual Welding

Robotic and manual welding processes both join two separate metal pieces or substrates with a combination of heat and pressure. In fully automated welding processes, robots guide the entire process without manual steps or human intervention. But manual welding requires a person to load and unload the metal workpiece before and after welding.

Each process has its own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the relative benefits of each method can help you choose the right one for various projects.

Advantages of Robotic Welding

  • Weld quality. Automated processes consistently deliver highly reliable welds. The electronic weld process controllers ensure that each weld meets the specifications established at the start of production.
  • Higher output. Robotic welding processes are faster than manual alternatives. Robots can work faster and longer without sacrificing either accuracy or quality.
  • Less waste. There is less excess material, scrap metal, and waste produced when using robotic welding. Robotic systems also work faster, so they are often more energy efficient than manual welding.
  • Lower labor costs. Automated processes reduce the need for human labor—one of the most expensive aspects of production. While semi-automated processes still require some manual labor, it’s much less than in manual processes. This is crucial when considering the skilled labor shortage in the manufacturing sector, which includes trained welders.
  • Lower risk of injury. Human welders can be injured on the job. This can be extremely costly to your business. It also means your employees may not be able to work during the length of their recovery, whereas broken machinery can be repaired quickly.
  • Faster speed.  Robots can handle high volumes of repetitive tasks much more quickly, significantly shortening production time.

advantages of robotic welding

When to Use Manual Welding

Robotic welding may not be a fit if the following factors impact your project:

  • Upfront cost. While robotic welding equipment can save you significantly over time, it is more expensive upfront investment.
  • Multi-step forming. Some jobs may require modifications in between formation steps or multiple stages produce the piece required. Since automated welding quickly forms and assembles components to eliminate steps, manual welding may be ideal, particularly if the project is low-production.

By taking these advantages and disadvantages into consideration, you can better evaluate which type of welding is right for different projects. For example, robotic welding systems can handle high-volume production runs faster and more efficiently. Manual welders can handle custom orders or small-batch orders with frequently changing specifications. 

Applications

Equipment Options

Projection welding

Spot welding

MIG welding

Drawn arc welding

Clinch nut install

Fastener welding

Resistance welding

Integrated fastener feeding

Servo driven weld gun slides

X-Y weld gun slides

Multiple weld stations

Auto unload for assemblies

AC or DC transformers

Balanced operator load times

Welding Applications

Tec-Option’s interchangeable welding tooling allows manufacturers to switch to different processes such as spot welding, projection welding, light assembly, even piercing or other tooling applications without stopping production. The efficiency and cost-savings for manufacturers is significant.  Below are some example applications.

Projection Welding

projection-welding

This resistance weld uses small points of contact, or projections, built into the design of the metal pieces to concentrate the welding current. These individual points are fabricated into one of the two metal pieces being joined before reaching the welding stage.

Spot Welding Automation

spot-welding

Automotive manufacturers commonly use spot welding. This technique joins together metal pieces that resist electrical current.

MIG Welding Automation

mig-welding-automation

This tool feeds a wire through a heated weld tip to generate a metal seal between two pieces of metal. This is a fast and straightforward high deposition rate process. This method is also called Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW).

Drawn Arc Welding Automation

drawn-arc-welding-automation

Drawn arc welding tools create a concentrated, intense heat between an electrode and a metal base. This heat joins metal together. Drawn arc welders produce highly accurate welds.

Automated Welding Processes: How It Works

Automated welding processes use a robot that can move in all three dimensions. Robots come in rectilinear and articulating models, which offer more movement control. As the robot moves, its wire feeder pushes wire filler out to be melted and create the weld. A torch at the end of the robot’s arm produces the heat that melts the wire. This torch can generate temperatures of thousands of degrees.

Keeping humans separate from the actual welding process keeps them safe. However, certified operators still have an essential role. The American Welding Society offers certifications for both manual welders and robotic welding arm operators. Operators program automated systems with a teach pendant to move the arm, change system parameters, and “teach” the welding arm the next process.

Robot welders don’t just handle the welding process itself. They are also self-cleaning and can be programmed to clean metal splatters from their own arms before the material solidifies.

Automated Welding with Tec-Option

Designed to do it all, our automated welding systems have all our design features incorporated into one versatile, flexible system – With NO ADDITIONAL skills required. Attach fasteners in one half of the machine while MIG welding in the other half or press bushings into a part and then weld it into another assembly in the next step.

Our systems provide the ability to switch processes in a matter of minutes, not days. Switch from fastener welding one minute, to staking the next.

Tec-Option Automated Welding Systems are the best choice for handling programs that are greatly varied in their part styles or processes, and where maximum future flexibility is desired.

To learn more, simply contact our team today!

Contact us to discuss Automated Welding Systems.