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Advantages and Disadvantages of Robotics in Welding

Advantages and Disadvantages of Robotics in Welding

Robotics in welding may sound like something out of a science fiction film, but it becoming the future of construction and engineering. Modern technology has allowed for innovations in welding which can make for more efficient production times, as well as increase the safety of the workers in general.

Companies such as Babcock offer this cutting-edge technology to numerous industries which are looking to reduce costs and increase output. These are not the robots of a science fiction feature, however, but are built for efficiency and maximised operation. Below are some the advantages and disadvantages of using robotics in welding.

 

Advantages

Decreased production costs: The initial setup may seem intimidating and expensive, but you will find that the ROI outweighs these costs. With robotics, throughput speeds increase which impacts production and profits directly.

Cycle times are shorter: The manufacturing line becomes more efficient, making cycle times much shorter. More can be produced in this time as opposed to what is available when working with human employees.

Reliability and quality are improved: A machine does not make human errors, which means that the quality of your product will be consistent every time. Products are manufactured with the same specifications each time, and few repairs are needed.

Better floor space utilisation: By introducing automation to your workplace, you are able to decrease a footprint of a work area. This allows you to use the floor space for other operations and create more efficient processes.

Reduced waste: Because robots are so accurate, the amount of raw materials needed is decreased. This reduces the cost of disposing of waste and is also economical and cost-effective.

Workplace safety is increased and improved: Workers will no longer have to perform dangerous welding jobs, and can be moved into supervisory roles. Hazardous positions will fall away because the robots will perform the welding jobs that can cause injury and accidents.

 

Disadvantages

The initial cost is high: As with any new equipment, the initial cost of installing it will be high. You will need to consider both the cost of the investment and the ROI before making the decision to implement robotics at your company.

Training is required: Equipment will always need training, but for robotics you may need to pay for specialised training courses in order for workers to operate them correctly. The automation company will provide you with training and help, but having to rely on these companies may end up costing you more and more money.

Decision making can be limited: Although robots are faster and more efficient, they are not able to make decisions about certain procedures if necessary data are not there. Human workers are able to assess a situation and make decisions based on what data may or may not be available, allowing them to learn on their feet without having to be programmed to factor in missing data.

Functions can be limited: While industrial robotics has made immense progress over the years, the functions of robots can be limited. This is especially true if you are using specialised robotics for processes such as welding. The designated process may be efficient but some robots are unable to perform certain processes, making them inefficient. A bespoke or tailored automated system can give better results than a robot in some cases.

 

Overall considerations

Using robotics for welding in a construction or engineering company reduces the amount of workers needed on the floor doing dangerous tasks. You will have to take into consideration the initial costs, however, and the fact that there may be ongoing repair and training costs for the equipment. Other aspects to consider are outlined below.

You will need to consider what type of welding you will be doing or using the robot for. Parts that require clamping or complex joining methods should still be done manually.
It is important to assess whether your company’s workspace can accommodate a robot. They are often large pieces of equipment that need sufficient floor space, so you will need to carefully ascertain whether or not your space can cater for this.

Your staff’s capability is also a vital issue. To maintain the machines, you will need to train your staff, which can cost money .However, this will give your employees new skills and will, in turn, improve production and throughput time.

Planning for the future also needs to be taken into account. You will have to be able to cope with a faster production time, which can be a difficult adjustment for companies which are used to only performing at a certain level.

Using robotics for welding is the future of the industry, and can drastically improve many aspects of it. The technology of today is paving the way for the generations of tomorrow.

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