Addressing Common Challenges in Welding Automation

Addressing Common Challenges in Welding Automation

Many industries, such as construction and manufacturing, rely on welding processes. The craft is so important that by 2028, the global welding industry is expected to reach $28.66 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.6%.

Automation is one of the biggest trends we’re seeing in this centuries-old process. Robotic systems, which make use of modern technologies to automate the welding process, are becoming increasingly common in the United States.

A robotic welding system is highly efficient. It can reduce human error, make welding safer, and offer high-quality cuts. But, as with any rapidly evolving technology, automation comes with its share of challenges.

Let’s take a closer look at what these problems are and how we can overcome them.

Higher Investments

An automated welding system requires a higher investment than a manual system.

Shifting from a labor-focused process to a capital-intensive process, however, can be more cost-effective in the long run. While the initial investment may be large, companies can avoid recurring labor costs (including benefits and vacation days) in the long run. A cost-benefit analysis can be useful in calculating just how much they stand to save.

If it turns out that the investment is still too large, companies could also consider a semi-automated system that costs less but still relies on some manual intervention.

A company should also have a proper maintenance program in place to prevent a serious breakdown in an automated system, which can be very expensive to fix. 

Flexibility and Complex Programmability

An automated system is great at performing repetitive, precise tasks. But it isn’t as flexible as a manual workforce that can easily shift from task to task. An automated system must be programmed to carry out specific procedures or deal with shifts in joint angles and arcs —  a process that can be time-consuming and require expertise.

At the same time, the robotic welding system must be compatible with your current process and facilities. To deal with these challenges, companies must rely on teams and suppliers like nexAir, who have the KnowHow to deal with such complex programming.

Longer Initial Lead Time

When dealing with short-term welding projects, a manual system is more efficient than an automated system as the latter takes more time to set up and program before it can operate at full scale. On the other hand, once set up, a robotic welding system can carry out repetitive precise tasks at a much higher rate than manual welders.

To account for the loss in time, companies should consider product life cycles. Most technology is eventually replaced by newer models, so there’s no point in taking months to set up a system that will be outdated within a few years. Instead, invest heavily in a system that you know will offer long-term benefits. 

Forge Forward with nexAir’s KnowHow

Setting up a new automated welding system can be a challenge. But with the expertise of nexAir, one of the largest suppliers of welding equipment in the Southeast, it doesn’t have to be. 

Since the 1940s, nexAir has been sharing its KnowHow with major welding operations. If you’re wondering how to reduce costs, make the most out of your processes, and Forge Forward into the future, trust nexAir to introduce you to technologies that can help you set up a state-of-the-art automated system.

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