Next, you need to be clear about what you need from your automated SME welding solution. Your portable robot arm is a tool and to make the best use of it, you need to know what you want it to do. Your automation strategy should match your wider commercial and business strategy – such as reducing operating costs over the long-term or increasing output.
Perform a risk assessment
While cobots don’t typically require the additional safety features that traditional industrial robots do such as safety cages, they are still machines and need to be treated with care. Our e-series of cobots come with a range of built-in safety features, but you should still consider the impact moving parts, sharp edges and welding torches will have on your workplace health and safety.
Select your cobot
Our e-Series cobots come with a range of maximum allowed payloads and reaches so that you can match your investment to your business needs. On the smaller end of the scale is the UR3e, which has a maximum payload of 3kg, a weight of 11.2kg, and a reach of 500mm. The UR20, on the other hand, can manage up to 20kg and has a reach of 1750mm.
Set up your workspace
One of the major benefits of cobots, along with their flexibility, is how small their footprints are. When combined with the fact that you typically won’t need the large-scale safety cages and other safety features associated with traditional industrial robots, this means that you might not need to completely redesign your existing workspace.
Another thing to consider is that your robot work cell is likely going to comprise of more than just your cobot arm and a table. When you consider the full welding work cycle, you quickly start to see that more components may be required. Here are some things you may need to think about:
- the power supply
- cables and supply lines for shielding gases
- multi-arm or linear axis for positioning
It is essential that you always prioritize safety. Automated welding applications can have great business benefits, but they don’t really eliminate any of the risks associated with manual welding. There is still a risk – particularly around fume exposure, weld spatter, proximity to other hazards and the torch itself.