Retrofit welding packages enable cost-effective robot upgrades

ESAB Group (UK) Ltdvisit website


Retrofit welding packages enable cost-effective robot upgradesESAB is relaunching its retrofit packages for upgrading robotic welders, providing manufacturers with a straightforward, cost-effective and low-risk means of increasing productivity through shortened cycle times.

Robots provide manufacturers with flexible long-term production capacity. However, during the lifetime of a welding robot it is likely that the welding power source will need to be replaced at least once, and the wire feeder will have to be replaced even more frequently. The same is true whether the robot is reprogrammed for different tasks or used for substantially the same role throughout its lifetime. This necessity to replace the welding equipment presents an opportunity to upgrade to newer technologies, enabling the manufacturer to boost productivity and quality, as well as reducing maintenance requirements. Moreover, some manufacturers view the upgrading of robotic welding equipment as a simple, cost-effective and low-risk way to reduce cycle times and raise throughput, even if the existing welding equipment is not yet due for replacement.

ESAB's universal retrofit packages are suitable for replacing virtually any existing Mig welding equipment on any industrial robot. The package consists of an Aristo Mig 5000i power source with Aristo U82 controller, an Aristo RoboFeed 3004w wire feeder, an Aristo Retrofit I/O module for communicating with the robot controller, and a PSF 315M welding torch. To help manufacturers maximise the benefits of this equipment, ESAB also offers the recently introduced OK AristoRod 12.50 welding wire with ASC (Advanced Surface Characteristics) technology, which improves feedability and arc stability. This wire is available in MarathonPac bulk drums, with the option of Endless MarathonPacs for the ultimate in efficient wire management.

Optimised for robotic welding

An advantage of the Aristo Mig 5000i is ESAB's Swift Arc Transfer (SAT) process, which the company developed specifically to suit the needs of robotic welding applications. This high-deposition, high-quality process features a very stable arc and lower heat input; weld material can be laid down faster than can be achieved by manual operatives, yet joint strength remains excellent and spatter is minimal. Thanks to the SAT process, welding cycles can be considerably shorter than is possible using conventional robotic Mig welding.

To cope with the high welding speeds and other demands associated with robotic welding, the ESAB retrofit packages include an Aristo RoboFeed 3004w robot-mounted wire feeder. This fully enclosed, heavy-duty unit benefits from robot-specific features such as communication of the anti-collision signal, pushbuttons for gas test and manual wire inching, remote control capability, gas monitoring and a spatter cleaning function.

Another key element of the retrofit package is the Aristo U82 operator pendant control, which gives quick and easy access to all relevant control parameters, synergic lines and up to 255 stored welding data sets. This sophisticated yet user-friendly man–machine interface benefits system integrators, operators and maintenance personnel.

Test welding and process development

To support the retrofit packages, ESAB undertakes test welds and process development. In addition, the company has a dedicated team that audits the existing and proposed new processes and evaluates the financial benefits available from the upgrade. For example, the return on investment can easily be in the order of one year, depending on the application.

Once the preparations have been made, it only requires around one hour to change the welding equipment on each robot, so upgrades can be installed during scheduled maintenance periods.

ESAB's retrofit packages have already been proven on numerous industrial robots. The fact that they are a standard offering not a bespoke engineered system means they are a low-risk method of increasing productivity. For robots on which the welding equipment has already been used for several years, users also benefit from higher reliability and lower maintenance because all of the wear parts are new and, in many cases, manufactured to a higher standard than the original parts.

For more information about ESAB's retrofit welding packages, visit the ESAB website.

© Copyright 2006-14 Damte Ltd.