best automation welding systems

Why Skilled Welders Make the Best Automation Programmers

Integrating welding automation into your manufacturing process has major benefits. Automated welders and robots are more efficient than humans and can improve overall productivity. BUT that doesn’t mean skilled welders are no longer useful—far from it.

Skilled welders have a wealth of experience and knowledge surrounding the welding process, making them some of the best automation programmers around. We’re diving into the 4 reasons why we think skilled welders make the best automation programmers—Read on!

#1. Welding Process Understanding

Producing high-quality welds requires process-specific knowledge. Manual or automated, the understanding of how the process works is vital! The most common variables include:

  • Part variability
  • Welding torch position
  • Heat input
  • Travel speed

Leveraging a skilled welder’s expertise can greatly reduce the time and effort it takes to setup or improve automated welding systems and programs.

#2. Application & Equipment Insight

It’s commonplace for the operator to be involved in selecting the automatic welding equipment setup and variables. To properly configure a welding cell, it’s important to have the knowledge of the best equipment for the specific welding application. Take the GMAW process for example, the following must be selected correctly:

Tapping the knowledge of a seasoned welder during this decision-making process often results in higher weld quality, lower scrap, improved production rates, higher ROI’s and a better-optimized overall-setup.

#3. Troubleshooting & Optimization Knowledge

Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills is a requirement for any kind of welder. Veteran welders are well-versed in overcoming challenges such as part inconsistencies, reducing rework and achieving cosmetic requirements. A skilled welder will also be well versed in the limitations of a process, peripherals and material types.

#4. Ongoing Growth & Innovation

Automation has become possible for more than just large corporations. Technology is becoming more flexible, making automation systems economically justifiable and productive for manufacturers of all sizes.

We’ve seen a number of small, repetitive welding jobs be transitioned to an automated process, freeing up skilled welders for more difficult projects. This not only keeps your skilled welders learning and growing but also encourages them to continue to be challenged in their day-to-day job and move your business forward!

welding automation system types

Custom Welding System Builders

Automation is aimed at supplementing the welding workforce, not replacing it! Bancroft Engineering has the experience and equipment to help manage a transition to automated or semi-automated welding. Get in touch with our engineers today to discuss how we can help optimize your process with custom equipment.

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welding automation system types

Welding Automation for YOUR Business

Finding the Right Tool for the Job – Welding Automation Types

  

On the fence about whether welding automation can actually work—AND be profitable—for your business and project applications? We realize how imperative it is to get answers upfront to all your automation questions. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you through the basics.

Automaton Works to:

  • Improve weld quality
  • Enhance safety and the overall well-being of operators
  • Increase productivity
  • Attract skilled workers
  • Lower ongoing costs
  • Grow your bottom line
Welding Automation Types

3 Needs to Move Forward in Automation

 

1. Workpiece Uniformity

Why is uniformity SO critical?

All automation or semi-automatic welding equipment is programmed on a “master part,” meaning the welding path and framework is set and then repeated over and over.  When the part location or welding condition changes, the automated equipment will not know without adjustments made by the operator.  Therefore, part uniformity is one of the most important aspects of any automated process.  One of the best ways to improve inconsistencies is to address the source!

Quality and consistency through repeatability is the most predominant perk to welding automation.

 

2. Opportunity

If you’re under the impression that you need a complex or large-scale weldment in order to make automation worthwhile, think again. We’ve noticed many shops experience huge gains from automating simple or small parts. This strategy allows for automation to do what it does best on the simplistic parts and gives your skilled welders time to focus on more complicated projects.

 

3. The Right Team

We talk a lot about teaming up with a reputable welding automation partner or integrator. Along with an experienced team like Bancroft Engineering, the most successful long-term automation gains come from teams of operators who have a high level of ownership and are willing to problem solve to get the job done right.

  

3 Types of Welding Automation

Having a full understanding of the automated welding solutions available, along with their benefits and drawbacks, is the first step to making the right choice for your needs. Here are the three main types of welding automation:

Fixed Automation

Fixed welding automation equipment is built and designed to weld a specific part or part-family. This is one of the most cost-effective forms of automation. A few examples of fixed automation systems include linear welders,  rotary welders and circle welders, seam welders and circumferential welders.  This solution is best for high volume parts.

robotic welding machines

Robotic Welding

Traditional robotic welding is what most think of when it comes to welding automation. Robots come in all sizes and are offered by robot manufacturers, suppliers, and integrators. Robots require a certain set of safety equipment to protect humans such as guarding, fences and sensors. The best fits for robotic welding are large parts, complicated welding, and high-volume operations.

collaborative welding automation

Collaborative Automation

One of the newest forms of automation is collaborative technology. Collaborative robots include internal sensors, allowing humans to work directly with the robot in the same space. This eliminates the need for safety fences and frees up more shop floor space. Collaborative welding automation is best for low volume production and for those needing a lot of flexibility.

With over 50 years of welding equipment experience, Bancroft Engineering has worked to improve automated welding processes for hundreds of businesses. We’re always ready for your specific application questions—get in touch with our engineers today!

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A Guide to Optimal Robotic & Automated Welding

Getting Started with Automated Welding Systems

 

Automated welding is the way many manufacturers are fabricating these days. With that, there are a lot of misconceptions about how easy automated systems are to use and if the benefits outweigh the struggles.

Automatic welding has a host of clear perks such as improved weld quality, faster cycle times, and a better working environment for welders. A common restriction is that robots require a certain skillset to program and run the equipment smoothly. Don’t worry, the technology has advanced greatly, leading to simple ways to accomplish quality automated welding without the hassle.

We’ve unpacked the most optimal process for getting started with automated welding systems so you can benefit from high-quality welding with less stress!

  

1. Define Welding Type & Tasks

With any welding project, you’ll need to first define and understand the task at hand.  What type of welding will be needed? Which steps will the robot or automated welding machine need to perform? There are a variety of different welding types—below are some of the most common:

  • Circumferential (Rotary) welding
  • Linear (Seam) welding
  • Resistance (Spot) welding

The technical specialists at Bancroft Engineering can help you confidently define the scope of your welding project and automated system requirements so your job will be successful—get in touch with us.

2. Secure the Needed Equipment

Now that you’ve clearly defined the task and welding type needed, it’s time to pick the right automated welding system—whether that be a robot or semi-automated welding machine. Most welding systems require the following pieces of hardware/software:

  • The robot or the welding machine itself
  • The welding tools & fixtures
  • A user-friendly programming interface
  • Welding power supply and consumables
  • Safety measures such as barriers or sensors
automated welding machine
Universal Welding Robot

3. Determine Proper Weld Settings

There are basic guidelines for picking weld settings, but they can vary from model to model and certainly from brand to brand.  To get to the best weld setting, a number of considerations must be made including:

  • Type of metal you are welding
  • Cleanliness of the joint
  • Joint design
  • Material thickness
  • Proper wire size
  • Voltage
  • Wire feed speed
  • Travel speed
  • Torch position
  • Shielding gas

This can seemingly be a daunting task, but any good welding equipment manufacturer will have engineers on staff to assist with this process.

semi automated welding postioner
TT500 Welding Positioner

4. Program, Test, & Debug

Programming an automated welding machine requires a trained specialist for the initial start-up.  This only needs to be done upon setting up your system for the first time.  General maintenance programs and welding schedules can be created and modified with little training throughout the lifestyle of the system.

Once your system is in place and programmed correctly, it’s time to sit back and watch the system make magic happen!

 

5. Team Up with the Right Automated Welding Provider

Lastly, team up with a reputable welding automation provider who can walk with you every step of the way. From concept to installation and run-off, the team at Bancroft Engineering is here to ensure your new welding system is successful!

 

Bancroft offers both customized welding machines and a variety of standardized semi-automatic welding equipment in stock such as positioners, Welda-Round rotary welders, seam welders, weld-lathes and much more!

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GMAW welding nozzle automated welder

How to Choose the Right GMAW Nozzle

Choosing equipment that provides the highest weld quality goes all the way down to the fine detail. The right welding nozzles—or contact tip—make a significate difference between running an efficient and productive shop or dealing with downtime to address problems. Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) guns have a variety of welding nozzle designs and styles to choose from—making it tricky to choose the right nozzle for your weld process.

The welding experts at Bancroft Engineering know a thing or two about optimizing all different types of welding processes—from small to large scale parts to automated welding systems. Let’s get into the common nozzle materials, designs and features so you can be equipped to make the best choice.

 

About Weld Nozzles 

The main purpose of a welding nozzle is to direct the shielding gas into the weld puddle in the best way possible. When selecting the right GMAW nozzle, you’ll need to keep in mind your welding application and joint access as some designs offer better gas coverage, while others allow better access.

Welding Nozzle Materials

The two most common materials used for welding nozzles are either copper or brass. Copper tends to be a better choice for overall spatter resistance, they also manage heat well at higher temperatures. Brass welding nozzles also have good spatter-resistant properties, but only in lower-amperage applications. Nickle-plated welding nozzles are also available and provide improved durability. Nickle is able to deflect heat, keeping the nozzle cool while welding. This allows for a longer life span and often is a preferred choice for robotic welding applications.

 

Weld Nozzle Shapes and Designs

Nozzle shapes include straight, bottleneck and short/long tapper styles. A straight welding nozzle usually has a larger inside diameter, but don’t offer the best joint access. If joint access is needed, a bottleneck nozzle is a better option. Bottleneck shapes are especially good for automated welding systems. Both short and long taper nozzles are also a common choice for achieving good joint access. When selecting your nozzle shape, keep in mind you’ll want to allow for the proper amount of gas to flow to the weld puddle. It’s best to use as large of a nozzle as possible that still allows easy access to the weld joint. This will ensure the greatest shielding gas flow and keep spatter to a minimum.

Threaded Welding Nozzle
Threaded Welding Nozzle
slip-on welding nozzle
Slip-on Welding Nozzle

Threaded vs. Slip-On Nozzles

The main distinction between threaded and slip-on welding nozzles comes down to speed and security of the connection. Threaded nozzles have a secure connection to the welding torch, preventing shielding gas leaks. This also helps align the contact tip correctly so the nozzle will not be off-center. A down-side to threaded nozzles is that they can be difficult to remove and replace—especially if spatter bridges into the threads. Slip-on welding nozzles are easy to remove and replace and are typically more cost-effective than treaded nozzles. Slip-on nozzles are ideal for welding applications that produce more spatter because their design protects the other welding consumables.

 

Custom Welding Equipment Builders & Welding Nozzle Experts

Weld gun nozzles play a critical role in your overall welding operation. Choosing the proper nozzle for the job will reduce welding defects, rework and downtime—this ultimately shows up in your bottom line!  Bancroft Engineering is a leading supplier of custom welding equipment for manual, semi-automatic to fully automated welding systems located in WI, USA.  Give us a call today at 262-786-1880 or email: sales@bancrofteng.com

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automatic welding system

Tips to Prepare Metal Before Automatic Welding

Understanding the importance of clean metal before you begin any automatic welding, semi-automatic welding or manual process is key to a strong end result. Skipping the metal preparation step is one of the most overlooked tasks in the welding process, but it shouldn’t be! You run the risk of failing quality inspections or end up with ugly—or even weak welds.

Material preparation will vary depending on what type of tools you have such as automatic welding equipment, rotary welding systems, TIG welding cells or if you are welding manually. It will also depend on what type of metals you are using. Read on to get our general best-practice tips on how to prepare metal before welding.

 

Keep it Clean

Beginning with clean, debris-free material is the best way to ensure positive outcomes. Before using an automated welding system, remove any paint, oils, grease or rust. Here are a few common tools used to clean metal:

  • Sandpaper
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Stainless steel brushes
  • Solvents such as acetone or other alkaline cleaners

Avoid creating any deep scratches when cleaning your material as removing too much material from the metal can result in poor weld quality and costly rework. Always organize your cleaning utensils and keep ferrous and nonferrous tools separate. Cross-contamination can occur when the wrong cleaning tool is used.

 

Removing Oxide Layers

If you’re welding with aluminum, it can add an extra element of difficulty due to the nature of the metal.  Aluminum has a greater risk to develop weld problems— such as lack of penetration—due to the tough oxide layer. Other metal materials may also have a coating on them to avoid rust during shipping. Oxidation can from quickly, so it’s best to clean small areas at a time right before the automatic welding process begins.

Joint Preparation

Preparing the metal’s edge is a critical step that allows the filler metal and part edge to fuse together without melting. Depending on your parts, one of these basic weld joints should be used:

automatic welding equipment
  1. Butt joint: parts are on the same plane and they are joined at their edges.
  2. Corner joint: parts form a right angle and are joined at the corner of the angle.
  3. Tee joint: one joint is at a right angle, while the other resembled the letter “T.”
  4. Lap joint: formed with two overlapping parts.
  5. Edge joint: joints are parallel with each other and are joined at the seam.

 

Proper Storage

A major challenge is preventing indirect material contamination from dust or other airborne particles floating through your shop floor.  While you can’t stop dust and dirt completely, here are a few material storage tips to keep in mind:

  • Store in a dry location
  • Ensure minimum temperature fluctuation
  • Cover materials with plastic or thin sheets of cardboard

 

Automatic Welding Systems

No matter what type of welding you are performing, it’s important to take the time to prepare your material before you get started. It’s worth the extra effort to get a strong weld that also looks perfect!

Bancroft Engineering designs and builds welding equipment such as rotary welders, weld lathes, seam welders and much more out of Waukesha, WI—specializing in stand-alone machines to fully robotic automated systems. Need help automated your welding process? Give us a call at 262-786-1880, or email: sales@bancrofteng.com to get started.

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automated welding system

Looking to Automate Your Welding Process?

Pondering between fully or semi-automatic welding systems?

 

Fully automated robotic welding strives to completely remove the need for skilled labor to produce welds. Everything is done by the machine itself from setup to production—all the way down to the cleaning of the welding torch. While the initial equipment investment tends to be higher, there are many advantages to fully automatic welding over manual welding:

  • Produces more consistent welds
  • Ideal for large volume production
  • Higher quality welds
  • Improves worker safety
  • Reduces production cost

 

automatic welding systems

 

A popular alternative to fully automatic welding is semi-automatic welding systems.  These machines generally require an operator to load and unload product. Depending on the job, semi-automatic systems can be as efficient and many times easier to operate than a robotic system.

 

automatic welding systems

 

Bancroft offers a wide variety of equipment for both fully-automatic and semi-automatic welding. Both types of equipment offer processes that are much quicker and more effective than manual welding. It also produces better, more consistent welds than welding by hand. There is an even greater benefit if larger welds are involved, multiple passes are needed, or higher part quantities are being produced. Automated equipment is also ideal for industries where weld strength plays an important factor, as the welds are of higher quality.

 

Bancroft is always ready to start a completely custom machine design and also has a variety of standard semi-automatic welding equipment in stock including welding positioners, Welda-rounds, and weld-lathes.

 

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automate your welding process

Is it Time to Automate your Welding Process?

Bancroft Engineering offers both semi-automated machines and fully-automated systems to help with all your welding needs. From our Welda-Rounds and Weld-Lathes to vision-guided robotic systems, we have the equipment to improve your process.  When you automate your welding process, it can improve quality, productivity, lower your labor costs, and increase the reliability and consistency of your operation.

 

How repeatable are the welds you are making?

If your weld process is repeatable, a semi-automated system would be perfect for you. It produces at least 2 times the output as a skilled welder, which can drastically reduce labor costs. Making the switch can eliminate mistakes and there are also tremendous savings in scrap material.

 

welding automation value

What is the value of the product before the weld?

If the value of the product is very high before the weld is made, considering either a semi or fully automated system could prevent costly mistakes. Both systems eliminate mistakes caused by human error. They produce the highest quality weld every single time and offer much faster speeds.

 

welding automation value

What is your budget?

Prices for both semi and fully automated systems have dropped significantly in recent years. Robotic systems now have a lower initial investment, increase productivity and can produce an ROI in less than a year. Set up times are minimal, and mistakes are non-existent.

 

Are you better than the competition?

welding automation

As technology advances, so do our competitors. Are they using automated systems? If you want to beat out your competition, you can easily become more productive and profitable by having the best equipment in the industry.

 

Next Step?

Contact the knowledgeable sales team at Bancroft Engineering to see how our products can benefit you!

 

Request a Quote

 

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welders

Are Welders Being Replaced by Robots?

Robotics and technology have made extensive advancements in the past decade. The recent push has been to improve their software and make them even “smarter”.

welders

 

Robots are designed to perform very specific repetitive tasks. But, no matter how smart they get, they will never compare to the creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving skills of a welder.  Robots will always be tools for our welders to use, not replacements!

 

Robots cannot come up with new innovative ideas, perform a large variety of detailed tasks, or solve an issue when something goes wrong. They have many advantages, but these disadvantages keep our welders relevant and in high demand.

 

Robotic Welders

 

Challenges come in when companies refuse to move and change with technology.  Human welders need to be comfortable with the addition of automation and not fearful of it taking their jobs.  Old fashioned manual welding techniques and outdated equipment can make life a hassle.  Here at Bancroft Engineering, we have modern techniques, top of the line equipment, and some of the highest skilled employees in their fields, ensuring your job exceeds expectations.

 

Keeping an opened mind with new advancements in technology ensures the success of our company. Purchasing our top of the line products ensures the success of yours!

 

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welding retrofitting

Welding Retrofitting and upgrades

welding retrofitting

Your welding equipment’s performance decreases and starts to deteriorate from many years of operation, breakdowns, lack of operation, and just simply being outdated. Any of the following can take a toll on the equipment making it inoperable and a risk to productivity. A solution to this is to conduct welding retrofits on your current machine with updated controls or to completely rebuild the older machine. Bancroft Engineering offers these services on all of your arc welding systems and on all other OEM’s, whether that is on-site or at our manufacturing location.

 

Bancroft’s Engineering Service Team provides onsite services that consist of: evaluations of the equipment, troubleshooting, repairs, and developing procedures. We also specialize in on-site or in-house retrofits, as well as in-house rebuilds of your machines. These techniques help your company stay productive and upgrade your arc welding equipment to prevent losing any further productivity.

 

Some benefits to having your machines upgraded and retrofitted are:

welding retrofitting

 

  • Improves machine productivity
  • Improves equipment reliability
  • Reduces future maintenance costs
  • Modernizes and extends the life of the equipment

 

Welding Retrofitting

Our team is dedicated to helping your company stay productive and bring your equipment up to speed. If the retrofit takes longer than expected, our team can ship your machine to our manufacturing location where we have access to our extensive inventory. If retrofitting is not what you need, but instead decide to have it rebuilt, Bancroft’s Engineering Service Team will build it at our location, ship it to you, and install the machine.

 

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robotic welding

LEAVE MANUAL WELDING IN THE PAST & WELCOME AUTOMATION

Welding is a fundamental part of almost every manufacturing industry and metal product production today.  The process of welding dates back to the 19th century, where manual welding was first introduced.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the first robot was used in a spot welding application for the automotive industry.  And later, in the 1980’s where robotic welding started to gain popularity in many manufacturing facilities around the world.

 

Today, the benefits of welding automation have become more widely recognized.  Even more advancements in robotic welding technology are being used that are allowing manufacturers in every industry to increase production, cut costs, increase worker safety, conserve material, and much more.

 

Manual welding has become a process of the past!   Automation has taken over and here’s why:

 

robotic welding

Programming Ease:  Robotic welding systems have simple interactive interfaces on a teach pendant making programming a breeze for anyone willing to learn.

 

Multiple Tasks:  Robots can easily be programmed to weld a variety of different parts.  It’s even possible that a robotic cell can move from one part to another very quickly.

 

Operator Ease:  Learning the manual welding trade takes years of practice and training.   On top of that, it’s a dangerous and taxing job.  Automation systems remove the hazards of the process.  Robotic welding operators only have to load parts and press the correct button to run the job.

 

robotic welding

Increase ROI:  The cost of a robotic welding system has dropped greatly over the last 10 years.  Not only has cost gone down, but also system accuracy, speed, and software technology have been improved, making a robotic system purchase a fast return on investment.

 

Any Part Size:  Whether your parts are large, small, or have complex geometries, robots have the ability to weld with accuracy.

 

Increase Production: Unlike people, robots don’t require breaks.  Robotic welding systems can run without interruption, therefore, increasing your productivity and throughput.

 

robotic welding

Fewer Mistakes:  Even the most experienced welder makes mistakes.  Robotic systems are highly accurate, meaning there will be less wasted time and material.

 

Bancroft Engineering has extensive experience in metal fabrication and can customize a robotic welding system to fit your requirements.

 

Our team of engineers works with you every step of the way to provide a fully or semi-automated solution.  Our industrial welding experience provides us with the ability to engineer the best possible solution for almost any welding application.

 

To discuss your specific needs, contact the Bancroft team today. 

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