Although there are many types of collaborative robots, the broader category of cobots is defined by certain characteristics—namely, the ability to work alongside human operators. To facilitate this function, cobots have advanced capabilities in terms of collision detection and automatically safe stop when they come into physical contact with a human worker. This differs from traditional industrial robots because a system of light curtains, walls, cages, laser scanners, and safety interlocks must be employed as to eliminate the risk of injury to the operator. While industrial robots are typically tailored for higher production, they also take up more floor space and take longer to engineer and set up. Finally, don't be fooled. Universal Robots line of COBOTs are industrial robots and will continue to grow in popularity.
In most cases, yes. A robotic welding system can typically weld faster than a person for several reasons. The robot does not fatigue like a person, so it doesn't need breaks. It can sustain faster processes and hotter conditions than a human. A robot can react to faster travel speeds than a human and with better accuracy. With a positioner, large parts take less time to reposition increasing throughput.
Typically, robots do not take away jobs. What usually happens is this, a company will choose the highest production parts and put them on a robot. This allows the welding staff to produce more low volume or more complex components because the robots are handling the high production parts. Robotic MIG welding can weld components that would normally be produced with the TIG process as well. Because the MIG process is much faster than TIG, more production can be performed with the same floor space, allowing for more production in other areas.
Hours in most cases. You're ready to start programming your first part once you plug in the system and add your welding consumables. With the Universal Robots UR10e and THG Automation's tight integration with Fronius, you could be welding parts in as little as an hour.
Hundreds of part programs can be stored on one robot, as well as programs for different base materials. One day you can weld steel parts, the next day you can weld aluminum parts all on the same system. It takes four basic conditions to weld a part or assembly. The first is the tooling, holding the part in the same place every time is very important. The tooling can be a couple of angles clamped to the table or engineered tooling for more complex holding. The second condition is the weld jobs. Fronius TPS 400i power sources can store up to 1,000 jobs, more than enough to keep all your carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum settings in one power source. Third, consumables like the welding wire, contact tips, and shield gas. Fourth, the robot programs. Based on their size, hundreds of programs can be stored in the Universal Robots controller. With today's robot controllers, there is usually more than enough memory space to handle all your needs, but you should always keep backups in a second, secure location or as the primary location.
Our customers are usually able to program their parts in hours. In most cases, 3 to 4 hours of training is plenty for our customers to become proficient with our system. Of course, we are there to add additional support for more advanced functionality.
In some cases, no. The UR20 has a longer reach, higher payload, and faster, but for welding and cutting, that is not always better. THG Automation already offers equipment with some of the fastest welding processes on the market, and none of those travel speeds exceed the travel speed of any Universal-Robots product. However, if the robot spends more time moving from weld to weld or cutting path to cutting path, travel speed could be a factor in your ROI calculation. The weight of the welding and cutting equipment is far below the maximum payload of the UR10e, so there is no advantage with payload. Reach is the most compelling reason to use the UR20 versus the UR10e; however, it may be more challenging to access smaller parts where the robot needs to reach close to its base.