Understanding the benefits of automating a welding process is easy for most end users – greater efficiency, greater precision which results in a better looking and stronger weld.
Although manufacturers understand the benefits, what is sometimes not understood is the difference between a part that is good for automation from one that is not. Manufacturers can struggle with the decision to automate, often stuck in the analysis paralysis of not knowing how to evaluate and which factors are critical.
In to many instances, manufacturers rush in haphazardly only to end up with an automated system that does not meet their requirements – the result is dusty robots placed in storage facilities and a lost investment.
Distributors already working with automation know that the manufacturer end-user wants and needs help in determining the best system for their requirements. For distributors new to the market, the decision by a customer to automate can be made much clearer and confidently by adopting the following points:
Production rate of a part needs to be evaluated to ensure the rate is sufficient to justify the expense of automation. Generally parts with low production rates are not cost effective for automation. Evaluating the production rate assist in determining the scope and level of automation. For example, intermediate production volumes are often good fits for flexible automated systems, such as robotic cells, that can be programmed to weld a broader range of parts to maximize the system’s utilization. Parts with higher quantities are typically ideal for dedicated systems that are designed to be highly
efficient at welding one type of part, or a family of parts with slight variation.
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