Three tips for improving automated robotic welding processes

Automated welding processes can be improved with simple preventive maintenance tips such as monitor wire feeding and extending contact tip life to help maximize the user's return on investment (ROI).
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) October 3, 2017

Robotic welding automation boosts productivity and weld quality across a diverse range of applications. It’s a big investment in operations to automate welding, and companies expect great returns. It’s important to optimize the performance of a robotic welding system to ensure the company gets the most return on investment (ROI) in automation. 

The single most important aspect of maximizing ROI and optimizing welding performance is conducting regular preventative maintenance on all robotic systems. Proactively addressing minor problems before they become major problems saves time and money. Preventive maintenance reduces unscheduled downtime and the costs associated with having to shut down production. It also reduces the need for costly repairs and equipment replacements.

There are many things users can do to ensure their robotic welding processes are at peak performance, but these three tips, in particular, are especially important.

1. Monitor wire feeding

A liner that’s too short, especially with small-diameter wires, can cause folding at the front and lead to poor wire feeding and burnbacks. This can also happen with too much articulation of the weld gun. Monitor wire feeding, or use a spring-loaded liner system, to ensure proper wire feeding and welding.

Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE Media2. Extend contact tip life 

Users should ensure they’re using the right wire size for their contact tip diameter—otherwise the wire may get stuck in the tip and cause burnback. You’ll also want to regularly clean the contact tip with clean, compressed air to avoid debris and splatter build up. If possible, use contact tips that rotate in order to further increase lifespan and reduce costs.

3. Choose the right consumables

Choosing the right consumables can help users avoid major problems down the road. In robotic MIG welding, for example, where consumables play a crucial role in delivering electrical current to the welding wire and shielding gas to the weld pool, the wrong consumable can create arc start failures and contact tip burnbacks.

These are just a few of the many things users can do to improve your automated welding processes. Preventive maintenance helps optimize the performance of robotic welding and maximize their ROI in automation.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.