Advice for Metal Fabricators: Consider a Cobot

PB-55-Fanuc-ConsiderACobot-400.jpg

March 9, 2022

A recent report released by the Department of Labor states that a record 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September 2021 as job openings remained unchanged at 10.4 million.  So, while there are plenty of available jobs, many companies are having a tough time finding workers. This is particularly troubling for metal fabricators looking to keep up with increased demands that require skilled welders.

“A huge factor right now is the lack of welders in the market and available to work,” says Gary Kowalski, regional sales manager, material joining sales team, FANUC America Corp. “Nobody can find welders to fill job openings.  Many companies are offering higher wages, shorter work weeks and other measures just to get skilled people in the door.”

So, for the hundreds of companies struggling to keep up with their customers’ demands, robots and collaborative robots, or cobots, in particular, are the right answer.  But what about small to medium-size manufacturers that have not used robots in the past to tackle their welding operations?  These companies are looking for ease of use and speedy deployment.  Larger companies can afford to spend a lot of time to create a highly productive and focused system for a single type of part.  Smaller companies need to weld a wide variety of low-volume parts right now.

It’s common knowledge that many simple manual welding tasks are the culprit behind repetitive motion injuries and downright boredom for skilled welders.  But, pop a cobot into the workcell, get it up and running in less than 30 minutes, and it’s ready to take on the job at hand. Welding cobots not only help reduce costs, but they allow skilled welders to focus on the complex jobs that require their expertise while maintaining quality welds.

Welding benefits

“FANUC has an automation solution for any size company – from small shops to large assembly manufacturers,” Kowalski says. “If the job is for a high-volume run, possibly an automotive part, FANUC’s traditional high-speed ARC Mate welding robots are well suited to produce as many parts as possible in the shortest amount of time.  But for low-volume, high-mix welding applications, the CRX cobot is a great fit.”

The latest CRX welding cobot is quick to set up and easy for any skill level to operate. The CRX cobot welder can be programmed using a touchscreen tablet while the programmer moves the robot to the desired weld location on the part.

“It’s really a short learning curve to get up and running quickly,” Kowalski says. “This includes the main feature of the CRX cobot, which is the quick teaching of simple welds.  It’s an intuitive process and an operator can learn to perform it almost immediately.  They just position the torch on the part, push a button and that program is created.”

It’s common knowledge that most cobots have a lightweight and compact design – but the CRX cobot offers more including industrial ruggedness, reliability and minimal maintenance features.  In fact, the CRX can operate for eight years maintenance-free, which is a major advantage for companies looking to lower costs and increase productivity.

A collaborative robot moves slower by design to accomplish tasks and adhere to safety requirements.  High-volume welding projects require the robots to move as fast as possible to make the most parts with the fewest robots.  These robots are usually equipped with rotating fixtures and automatically clamping end-of-arm-tools that require safety barriers to protect people.  The collaborative robot works at a table side-by-side with a worker, without moving fixtures or clamps – in other words, just perfect for basic job shop welding but too slow for high-volume production welding.

The CRX welding cobot supports several of FANUC’s advanced features including iRVision, which is a fully-integrated visual detection system that enables robots to see, making production faster, smarter and more reliable.

“We have also released our advanced features from the ARC Mate robots to the CRX cobot, including Touch Sensing, and TAST (Through-Arc-Seam-Tracking),” says Kowalski. “This allows us to cover a complete range of collaborative applications while maintaining an ease of use programming environment that the market is calling for.  When I talk with customers looking to automate a particular welding project, I suggest the CRX cobot as a great starting point.  As their business expands to the point that requires higher production rates, they can then easily add ARC Mates to tackle those jobs.”

Since initially introduced to perform material handling, the CRX cobot continues to take on more applications including welding, vision inspection, palletizing, machine tending, vision-guided pick and place, and sanding.  CRX cobot e-Learning training modules are available to help operators get up to speed very quickly.  There are currently seven online tutorials that cover a product overview with features, unboxing and setup, three programming courses, and two iRVision courses.  More learning modules will be added as they become available.

Watch the application videos and learn how the CRX cobot can help companies achieve higher manufacturing efficiency.

Source

Related Articles


Changing Scene

  • Tri-Mach Announces the Purchase of an Additional 45,000 sq ft. Facility

    Tri-Mach Announces the Purchase of an Additional 45,000 sq ft. Facility

    Recently, Tri-Mach Inc. was thrilled to announce the addition of a new 45,000 sq ft. facility. Located at 285 Union St., Elmira, ON, this facility expands Tri-Mach’s capabilities, allowing them to better serve the growing needs of their customers. Positioning for growth, this additional facility will allow Tri-Mach to continue taking on large-scale projects, enhance product performance testing, and provide equipment storage for their customers. Read More…

  • HELUKABEL Group Builds New Facility for Automation Cable Solutions

    HELUKABEL Group Builds New Facility for Automation Cable Solutions

    The HELUKABEL Group recently announced it is going to build a new facility in Haan, Germany that will house its robotic dress pack and drag chain system subsidiaries under one roof. The new building will also serve as the headquarters of HELUKABEL’s Rhine-Ruhr sales branch, and is planned to be completed by 2025. Robotec Systems’ core business is robotic dress pack solutions and has been a HELUKABEL subsidiary since 2012 operating out of Duisburg, a suburb of Duesseldorf in northwest Germany. Read More…


Sponsored Content
Fire Protection for Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems

Lithium-ion storage facilities contain high-energy batteries combined with highly flammable electrolytes. In addition, they are prone to quick ignition and explosion in a worst-case scenario. Such fires can have a significant financial impact on organizations. Rapid detection of electrolyte gas particles and extinguishing are the key to a successful fire protection concept. Since December 2019, Siemens has been offering a VdS-certified fire protection concept for stationary Li-ion battery storage systems.

Click HERE to learn more.


For a Multiplied Value Unified

PB-62-Excelpro-MultipliedValue-400.jpg

During the last few years, the Excelpro Group has welcomed AIA Automation, Envitech Automation and Conrad Lavoie Electrical, all of which have become ‘Member of the Excelpro Group’.

It was with great excitement that in November of 2022, Excelpro announced that these three companies officially became Excelpro. This decision is part of a strategy to enhance the Excelpro Group’s brand in its market.

These companies already collaborate on various client projects. This merger brings together the complementary strengths of the employees and ensures a global synergy of the activities throughout the Group.

Read More


Service Wire Co. Announces New Titles for Key Executives

Bruce Kesler and Mark Gatewood have been given new titles and responsibilities for Service Wire Co.

Bruce Kesler has assumed the role of Senior Director – Business Development. Bruce will be responsible for Service Wire’s largest strategic accounts and our growing Strategic Accounts Team.

Mark Gatewood has been promoted to the role of Vice President – Sales & Marketing. In this role, Gatewood will lead the efforts of Service Wire Company’s entire sales and marketing organization in all market verticals.

Read More


Modern Niagara Partners with Global Sustainability Platform Worldfavor

Worldfavor is a global sustainability platform, digitizing and automating the collection, calculation, aggregation and visualization for analysis and reporting of ESG data. Now, Worldfavor is proud to welcome Modern Niagara as a new customer. Modern Niagara is the first Canadian construction company to partner with Worldfavor.

“Worldfavor was founded to be the best platform for sharing, accessing and gaining insights from corporate ESG information. Worldfavor’s mission is to make sustainability mainstream and with that we offer solutions to accelerate sustainability through the value chain. Modern Niagara is the first Canadian construction company to partner with Worldfavor. 

Read More


JMP Parent Company, CONVERGIX Acquires AGR Automation, Expanding Global Reach

Convergix Automation Solutions has completed the acquisition of AGR Automation (“AGR”), a UK-based provider of custom, high-performance automation design and systems integration primarily to the life sciences industry.

Following Convergix’s acquisitions of JMP Solutions in August 2021 and Classic Design in February 2022, AGR marks the third investment in Crestview’s strategy to build Convergix into a diversified automation solutions provider targeting the global $500+ billion market, with a particular focus on the $70 billion global systems integration and connectivity segments. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Read More


Latest Articles