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Automation overload

Embracing robotic automation in the manufacturing industry, particularly in welding, is becoming more important for enhancing efficiency, precision and overall productivity. The welding process, a critical aspect of manufacturing, demands accuracy and consistency, making it an ideal candidate for automation.

Robots perform repetitive tasks with precision, reducing human errors and ensuring a high level of quality in welds. This not only increases productivity, but also minimises material waste, ultimately leading to considerable cost savings for manufacturers.

The process of introducing robotic automation to any business can seem like a daunting task but begins with a simple and systematic approach. Automation audits begin with a thorough analysis of a client’s manufacturing processes to identify tasks that can be automated to give the most immediate benefits.

Collaborative robots, or cobots, can be integrated into existing workflows alongside human workers, providing a flexible and cost-effective solution. Furthermore, investing in user-friendly robotic systems that are easily programmable and adaptable to different welding tasks further simplifies the integration process.

Training the existing workforce on how to operate and collaborate with robots is also crucial for a smooth transition. This ensures a harmonious interaction between human workers and robots, optimising the benefits of automation.

Robotic Automation (RA) has been operating in Australia and New Zealand for 35 years and over that period has conducted and supported more than 3,500 installations across manufacturing, welding and warehousing industries.

RA creates robotics for all applications of the manufacturing process and prides itself on developing solutions for any unique challenge thrown its way.

RA is the exclusive distributor of Yaskawa Motoman robots in Australia, with a huge range of robots and peripheral equipment specifically designed for welding applications. RA specialise in large scale modular solutions but also cater to mid-size systems and entry level applications.

With access to Yaskawa Motoman’s wide range of knowledge and expertise in robot technology, RA founder and Director, Colin Wells, says RA can provide a complete package fully tailored to the requirements of a manufacturer, using system components all from a single source.

“With so many years of robotic welding experience, Yaskawa Motoman provides an unrivalled rich portfolio of standard and customised work piece positioners with multiple simultaneously controlled axes, providing high speed and superb precision,” he says. “This encompasses compatible Tracks, Gantries and large range of Positioners for all applications, thus positioning RA as trusted advisors in system design without compromise.”

Embracing robotic automation in welding not only boosts efficiency but also positions manufacturing industries to stay competitive in the ever-evolving landscape of modern technology.

These days, Colin says, robots are tasked with a variety of roles way beyond simple repetitive tasks, and that small and medium-sized companies face hurdles in robot implementation due to safety requirements necessitating separate working areas.

The solution is in Yaskawa’s Motoman human collaborative robot (HC Series), designed to work in close proximity to humans.

“These cobots cater to customers seeking seamless automation, enabling them to work alongside humans,” Colin says. “This type of robot is different from traditional industrial robots which are faster, heavier and more powerful but must be fenced off from staff for safety reasons.”

The Weld4Me cobot package is an easy to use, robot-based Metal Inert Gas (MIG) or Metal Active Gas (MAG) welding station which offers top performance for small welding shops with small batch sizes and high variant diversity. Motoman cobots combine the strength and accuracy of the industrial robot with the safety features necessary for human-robot collaboration. Direct teaching and welding software make operating and programming very easy to learn for welding personnel, even without prior robotics knowledge.

RA also offers self-contained welding cells for a flexible, space saving and cost-effective solution. Easy to install, operate and relocate, each ArcWorld cell is prepared for Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), MIG or MAG welding, depending on requirements.

RA also offers an offline robot programming solution and Simulation Software to provides accurate 3D simulations of robot cells.

This year, RA will showcase its various innovative solutions to the Australian industry at the 2024 Australian Manufacturing Week (AMW) in Sydney between 17 and 19 April.

“RA is looking forward to again being an integral part of AMW and will showcase the very latest in robotic manufacturing technology,” Colin says. “Be sure to come and see the RA team to see how we can provide the most suitable automated solution and return on investment to suit your manufacturing process.”

Image: Robotic Automation.

Why automate?

1. Efficiency Boost: Automated welding systems streamline operations, minimising manual labour and significantly increasing overall efficiency in manufacturing.

2. Consistent Quality: Robotic welding ensures precise, uniform welds, eliminating variations in craftsmanship and enhancing the overall quality.

3. Versatility: These systems are adaptable, capable of handling various welding tasks, providing flexibility in manufacturing processes and accommodating diverse production requirements.

4. Workplace Safety: Integration of robotic technology reduces human exposure to hazardous conditions, improving workplace safety by minimising the risk of accidents and injuries.

5. Cost Savings: Reduced reliance on manual labour not only lowers labour costs but also leads to improved cost-effectiveness.

6. Productivity Increase: Automated systems contribute to heightened productivity with faster cycle times and minimal errors, resulting in quicker turnaround times on orders.

7. Modernisation: Embracing automated welding systems positions businesses at the forefront of technological advancements, ensuring competitiveness and future relevance in the dynamic truck trailer manufacturing industry.

Fast fact

Robotic Automation is the exclusive distributor for Yaskawa Motoman, which has installed over 540,000 robots worldwide since 1977.

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