8 Benefits of Welding Cobots
Welding cobots provides a number of benefits to a variety of industries and are driving the rise in the adoption of welding automation.
Welders are essential to many industries, from shipbuilding to automotive, engineering to construction, oil and gas to aerospace. The profession is seeing huge changes thanks to cobots. New technologies are making it safer for workers and helping to improve productivity.
With their ability to undertake a variety of tasks with precise accuracy, such as MIG, TIG, arc, spot, ultrasonic and plasma welding, cobots are transforming the future of welding. If you’re looking to make the transition to automation, take a look at some of the benefits of using cobots in your welding processes.
1. Increase capacity and productivity
Cobots provide scalability to businesses, allowing production to increase to take on new customers, larger orders or meet seasonal peaks in demand. Their ability to weld 24 hours a day without taking a break takes the pressure off human welders. Workers can concentrate on value-driven tasks that will increase production.
MIT research found that human-cobot collaboration can improve productivity by 85%. With welders and cobots able to work simultaneously on different aspects of a welding tasks, collaborative robots can help manufacturers lower production costs, increase capacity and improve profitability.
2. Flexible production
One of the greatest benefits to using cobots is the flexibility they bring to factory floors. When a particular task is finished or a need arises, they can be quickly redeployed to other areas of production. Once programmed, welding cobots can work from pre-programmed tasks, adapting to new sizes and geometries.
By automating welding tasks, manufacturers are provided with greater flexibility to keep up with varying production volumes, parts and consumer demands.
3. Consistent precision and quality
The repetitive, high-volume work that comes with welding tasks can result in human error or lower quality as a result of welder fatigue.
Welding cobots provide a continuous, steady motion for smoother and stronger weld seams. They can also produce longer welds without multiple stops to improve weld quality. Their ability to take over repetitive, mundane tasks of welding small parts makes them an asset to manufacturers.
4. Solve welder shortages
The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have exacerbated a national skills shortage. An ageing workforce has contributed to the problem, with half of the UK’s welders expected to retire by 2027. With fewer younger workers entering the welding industry, hiring enough skilled workers is one of the biggest challenges facing the sector today. Cobots are an effective way to tackle these labour shortages.
It is important to remember that a cobot does not replace welding staff. Designed to work alongside humans, cobots are able to step in when gaps in production arise due to labour shortages. By implementing automated processes, manufacturers can not only maintain or grow their operations without the need for additional human workers, but also attract and retain their skilled workforce by allowing staff to work with cutting edge technology like cobots.
5. Designed for welders
Welding cobots provide human welders a tool to boost their productivity. Designed for welders and not robot programmers, cobots operate with the meticulous attention needed for welding. One of the main benefits of cobots is their teachability, able to be taught with simple interfaces and, in some cases, hand-guidance commands. Cobots are quick to deploy and easily approachable by operators of any skill level.
Instead of spending hours manually repeating the same task, welders can now spend a short period of time setting up the cobot to undertake a welding task and then periodically check in while they concentrate on more complicated welding tasks. Cobots become a valuable tool to relieve and support welders. While the task is still in their hands, the monotonous work is taken over by the cobot.
6. Improve worker safety
Welding is a highly skilled role. But it is also repetitive, physically demanding and potentially dangerous. Cobots elimite a number of health and safety concerns by being on the front line while human operators are working from a safe distance. Their built-in safety features provide an extra level of assurance as they will stop working when they detect a danger, such as a worker in close proximity.
It is important to note that welding with cobots is only as safe as all precautions taken while in use in the welding environment. Personal protective equipment and training are still required to ensure safe and seamless automation.
7. High-mix, low-volume production
Cobots are an excellent solution for smaller manufacturers and welding companies who focus on high-mix low-volume production looking to automate their processes. With the ability to store programmed welds, and add new ones easily, cobots are suitable for undertaking small series tasks. They bring a high level of accuracy and consistency to welding operations, with a return on investment typically within the first year with correct deployment.
8. Cost savings
Cobots are a great way for manufacturers to maintain a strong position in a competitive market. As production capacity increases, it becomes possible for cobots to produce products at a lower cost per unit. Manual welders can be reassigned to higher-value and skilled work, such as custom welding, while the cobot continues working on repetitive tasks to decrease the cost of production.
The flexibility cobots provide mean they can be set up for one task in a morning and switch to another area of production in the afternoon. And with the increased precision they bring to welding tasks, cobots use materials more efficiently and weld faster, translating to cost savings and higher yield.
Look to the future with cobot welding
There has never been a better time to introduce automation to your welding processes. Cobots are helping manufacturers to be more responsive to product and customer demands, improve profit margins while increasing welding quality, efficiency and productivity.
Arrange a call with the Cobots Online team to learn more about welding cobots and visit our showroom to see first-hand cobots at work.