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Automated Welding

Katie Coleman Jeff Greer Mark Koenig Jason Parslow Jan Paterno

What is Automated Welding


Operator manually loads the part into the welding fixture Weld controller keeps the process, torch motion and stillness of the part to present parameters When weld is completed the operator removes the completed assembly

Fully automatic welding,

Machines load the work piece Index the part or torch into position Accomplish the weld Monitors the quality of the joint Unloads the finished product

Why Automate Welding

Advantages - Improved weld quality (repeatability and integrity)
- Increased output (minimal setup time & high weld speeds) - Decrease scrap and reject parts * Automation reduces the possibility of human error - Decrease variable labor cost * Semi-automatic = 2-4 high skilled welders * Fully automatic = 8 high skilled welders

Why Not Automate?

- Higher initial setup costs * less than $5000 for a manual setup * About $30,000 for semiautomatic * Up to $250,000 for fully automatic - Flexibility of performance is exchanged for accurate, repeatable, and precise welds. - Placing all eggs in one basket * Relying on 1 machine for an 8 person job - Longer lead and delivery times for automated machinery

Manual Welding Number of systems required for equal output Individual system cost Total equipment/system investment Individual welder cost/year Individual operator cost/year Labor cost/year for equal volume of output. (one 8 hour shift) Labor & equipment costs for a 12 month period with one 8 hour shift Labor & equipment costs for a 12 month period with two 8 hour shifts 8x $5,000 $40,000 $48,000 $384,000 $424,000 $808,000 SemiAutomatic System 4x $30,000 $120,000 $30,000 $120,000 $240,000 $360,000 Automatic System 1x $190,000 $190,000 $30,000 $30,000 $220,000 $250,000

Types of Automated Welding

TIG Welding

Common high quality process Arc formed between tungsten electrode and metal being welded Gas fed through the torch to shield the electrode and molten weld pool Benefits

Low distortion Precise control of welding variables Excellent quality welds

Types of Automated Welding

MIG Welding

Wire continuously fed from a spool Benefits All position capability Less operator skill required Minimal post welding cleaning required Problems Undercutting Irregular wire feed Unstable arc Difficult arc starting

Types of Automated Welding

Ultrasonic Welding

Mechanical vibrations Parts to be welded simultaneously bonded Static and dynamic forces at same time cause fusion of parts Can be used for plastic or metal

Types of Automated Welding

Ultrasonic Welding


Strength of bond Very fast and easily automated Energy efficient High productivity with low costs


Maximum component length~250mm

Laser Welding

- Capable of Deep penetration welds with minimum

heat effective zones (minimizes thermal distortion and increases precision)

- Ability to weld dissimilar metals

- Fiber optics are utilized to transmit kilowatts of laser power

- Fiber optics carry the laser beam to the end of robotic welding arms
- High depth-to-width ratio of the produced welds

Laser Welding
- High processing speed and the independence of electrical conductivity of the welded materials. - No filler material is required thus laser welds are less bulky and more precise - Fine grain structure - The well defined laser beams are excellent tools for welding thin materials, hermetic welds, or in close proximity to heat-sensitive components. - Hard to reach areas can be laser welded if a line-of-site exists.

Laser Welding
- High investment costs
- Requires precise preparation of the workpieces - Weldability is restricted for some materials

New Technology

Remote Laser Welding Fuzzy Logic Controls

High Speed Automated Welding

Remote Laser Welding

Laser beam manipulated by mirrors

minimal tooling required

no robot arm

makes process even faster

uses small motor

less required maintenance

acetone to clean mirrors every six shifts

Remote Laser Welding

Stationary Laser - up to 3m away

Allows for more welds to be done at one station


on time and floor space


Jeep Liberty rear door assembly requires 54 welds all done at one laser station since April 2001. Replaced 4 conventional spot welding stations.

Remote Laser Welding


3kW CO2 diffusion cooled laser

resistance weld taking 3 sec. Can be done in 0.5 sec.

5kW CO2 increases speed by 40%

Post Operations

few or none = faster time to market


change software for new part, not tooling anything in line of sight

Remote Laser Problems

Automotive industry requires coated sheet metals

Fights corrosion

Coatings are uneven in thickness

Excess coating vaporizes faster than metal and blows metal away when not properly vented.

Europe is setting higher standards for uniform coating

Uniform thickness restraints vs. amount per unit area

The Future
Laser/Arc Welding

Laser welding - highly precise but costly

$300,000 (50-60x cost of arc welding system)

Arc Welding - inexpensive but inaccurate

arc jump is unpredictable

Laser/Arc Welding

Inexpensive low intensity laser (7W) Creates path of ionized molecules Conventional arc welder - arc follows path of least resistance $35,000 - reduces cost of precision welding by 90%

High Speed Automated Welding

High Speed Automated Welding Project, based at the University of Waterloo
Examining the GMAW process to identify strategies allowing faster welding while eliminating defects such as undercutting and humping which are characteristic of high-speed automated welding.

High Speed Automated Welding

New Model Developed
Actual arc length and electrical conditions are measured for various welding conditions and compared to the model Special camera system Laser Strobe used to observe arc length

Observations of how weld pool changes shape used to find how defects occur under different welding conditions

Fuzzy Logic Controls

Fuzzy Logic: A superset of conventional logic that has been extended to handle the concept of partial truth

Gives the ability to use only 1 integrated logic IC instead of 6 or more digital signal processors with the same results at a drastically lower price

Fuzzy Logic Controls


Improved weld quality Raised productivity Decreased scrap-rates Faster setup time Reduced operator skill requirements
Lower cost (than normal controllers) Data rate reduced by 700x, and thus the serial signal can be transmitted over large distances.

Case Study - Laser Bellows

Bellows offer a flexible seal for a variety parts

ie; Volume compensators, expansion joints, vacuum valve seals, manipulators, semiconductors Material typically 0.003-0.008 thick Used by companies such as NASA, GE, Allied Chemical, Mobil

Laser Bellows
Currently manually welded using arc (TIG)

Highly skilled operators are difficult to find

Demand varies making planning difficult

Labor intensive welding Destructive testing is required to insure quality

Laser Bellows

5 to 10 Times Quicker Quicker Changeovers Vision Seam Tracking ( +/- 0.0002) 100% In Process Quality Check Highly Concentrated Heat Source (Smaller HAZ) Thinner Material (Less Mechanical Resistance) 100 ipm (manual 15 ipm)