Gone are the days when you needed to make 50,000 identical parts to justify a robot. With prices going down and quality, reliability and flexibility going up, arc welding robotic systems are much easier to justify these days. Ten to fifteen years ago you had to spend roughly $150,000 to $200,000 to get a basic robotic cell. Today $65,000 – $80,000 can get you a basic turnkey system.
If the answer to most of the following questions is “YES” then you probably need welding automation in your facility.
1. Is arc welding an important part of your manufacturing process?
2. Do you have quality problems?
3. Are you struggling to find and hire qualified welders?
4. Do you find that your trained welders are leaving for better paying jobs, thus increasing your training expense?
5. Do you have commonality between parts?
6. Are the dimensions repeatable?
7. Can your welding fixtures do a good job of holding parts in the same place for welding each time?
8. Are your competitors installing or already using robotic arc welding systems?
9. Are your labor costs increasing?
If you answered “YES” to most of these questions then you probably are a good candidate for a robotic welding system. Below are some of the things that automating arc welding can do for you:
– Increase productivity by a minimum of 100%
– Increase quality and consistency
– Reduce operator cost (lower cost to employ an operator than a welder)
– Reduce training costs
– Reduce material costs (weld are properly sized so no wasted wire)
– Reduce costs by going to larger packages – see post on BULK PACKING
– Reduce work-in process inventory
– Reduce consumption of shielding gas due to faster travel speeds
– Reduce problems associated with heat input
– Reduce weld inspection costs
– Provide ability to track production data
– Provide higher productivity by square foot of floor space
If you are convinced that you are a good candidate for a welding robotic system now you need to justify it. Our next post will run through the basics on how to justify a robot by calculating the payback period and also how to select the right system.
Do you currently own or operate a welding robot? What do you like or dislike about it?