automated welding trends for 2021

5 Trends in Automated Welding for 2021

Automation in the welding industry has been a growing trend since the 70’s. There has been an increase in demand from end-user industries and market growth continues to be on the upswing. These demands have been supported by the continued advancements in technology and R&D surrounding both automation and welding.

As we move into the New Year, we thought it would be worthwhile to review 5 trends in automatic and semi-automatic welding from our perspective.

Trend #1: Welding Safety Enhancements

Safety should always be number 1!  While this is not a new trend, fabricators will continue to take steps to keep workers safe. Without the proper safety precautions, automated welding can be dangerous. Here are just a few of the most common hazards:

  • Exposure to Gases & Fumes
  • Physical Hazards such as burns, eye damage, cuts, etc..
  • Electric Shock
  • Fire & Explosions

To improve the safety surrounding automated welding, we’ve seen more and more adoption of interlocking perimeter guards, safety light curtains, laser scanners, sensors, pressure-sensitive safety mats, high-quality gear, auto doors, better smoke extraction systems and more!

Auto doors with safety enclosure

Trend #2: Labor Shortage Issues

There’s been a lot of discussion around the welder shortage in the United States—it’s estimated that there will be a deficiency of over 400,000 skilled welders by 2024. This is an extremely challenging hurdle for manufacturers looking to expand and fill demands. At Bancroft Engineering, we understand what an asset welders are to our economy and the importance of education for the younger generation.

Trend #3: Automation Technology Growth

New technology will continue to emerge as we move into 2021.  New tools and technologies that will see growth include:

  • Power Sources
  • Digital Control Systems
  • Welding Management Software
  • Seam Tracking Systems
  • Gas Control Devices
Seam Tracking System
Automated Welding Positioner Prototypes
Automated Welding Positioner Prototypes

The team at Bancroft Engineering has been hard at work implementing new technology for all of our customized and standard semi-automated welding equipment. Stay tuned for the release of a new automated welding positioner and seam tracking systems coming later this year!

Trend #4: Rise of Collaborative Welding Systems

The welding industry will continue to embrace collaborative systems to compensate for the increasing skilled labor shortage in 2021. Collaborative welding systems are designed to share a workspace with humans—creating a safe and seamless automation environment.  This is one of the latest big trends in automated welding as it can be deployed easily, used for a variety of welding applications and are affordable compared to large robotic systems.

 

Trend #5: Adaptive Control Advancements

For those looking to improve their automated welding operation in 2021, adaptative controls are high on the list.  Adaptative control are used to analyze welding data in order to make corrections and improvements based on the results. These corrections are made automatically to the weld current—in real-time. This data is critical for improved quality and process optimization.

 

The Future of Automated Welding

With the use of new and improved welding technology, there are many opportunities to increase productivity and uncover time and cost savings. Technology advancements can help you address critical welding challenges which will allow you to stay competitive!  If you’re looking to adopt automated welding or make an upgrade, our team of trusted engineers are here to help you select the best equipment that will have the most impact on your business and bottom line.

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solve wire feed problems when welding aluminum

How to Solve Wire Feed Problems When Welding Aluminum

Aluminum has gained popularity over the years for manufacturing parts both large and small. It’s lightweight, strong, highly corrosion resistant, has good electrical and thermal conductivity and is reflective to both heat and light. While aluminum is a common material used by fabricators, it can be rather frustrating to weld—mainly due to problems with wire feeding.

We have seen every type of wire feed challenge with both manual and automatic welding—from unstable arcs, birdsnesting, burnback and everything in between. Read on to learn more about how you can minimize issues associated with aluminum wire feeding, avoid downtime, and improve your welding output!

 

Why is Welding Aluminum Difficult?

Welding aluminum requires different techniques than steel.  Different shielding gases, pre and post-welding processing, wire, and feed rolls. It is not only softer but has less column strength than steel which makes it more vulnerable to buckling and tangling.

Here are a few other properties of aluminum that make it difficult to weld:

  • High thermal conductivity
  • Low melting temperatures
  • Fast cooling rates
  • Oxidized surface coating

While it may seem that welding aluminum and dealing with welding wire problems is high maintenance, it’s easy to overcome with a few key steps!

How to Solve Poor Wire Feeding

In order to combat wire feed issues, it’s key to understand your welding equipment and components. It’s also essential to take a look at the way your equipment is configured.

1. The Welding Gun

The two best guns to use with aluminum are spool guns and push/pull guns.

  • A spool gun is best for small applications that doesn’t require much changeover. One way to minimize feed problems with spool guns is to shorten the feed distance.
  • A push/pull gun allows for longer wire feed distances (up to 50 feet). These guns are built with a motor that pulls the wire and a secondary motor that pushes the wire through the liner.
welding spool gun
Welding Spool Gun

2. Drive Rolls & Correct Wire Tension

To avoid crushing or deforming aluminum welding wire, use a U-groove drive roll. These drive rolls keep a round shape while feeding the wire effortlessly.

Setting the drive roll tension can be tricky and often takes practice to get it right. To start, make sure your drive rolls are aligned. Use low pressure, but make sure it provides enough for consistent wire feeding. The point is to avoid stress on the wire while the system is feeding the wire to the contact tip. Stress on the wire will cause an unstable arc.

3. Type of Welding Wire

High-quality aluminum wire is a must to avoid feeding problems. Check that your wire has a smooth finish and a steady cast. If your using a poor-quality wire, it can result in a wavy motion leaving the contact tip which will cause an unstable arc.

4. Contact Tips & Other Consumables

Look for aluminum specific contact tips. These are designed with smooth bores that have larger diameters for feeding wire. Since aluminum expands when it’s heated, these tips allow for wire to flow and prevent burnback.

The two specific liners that should be used for welding aluminum are Nylon and Teflon. These prevent birdnests and increase the life of your contact tip.

Aluminum wire birdsnest
Aluminum Wire Birdsnest

5. Handling Approach

Following spool handling best practices is another way to limit wire feeding issues. Here are a few handling strategies to keep in mind:

  • Always lift the spool from either the center or the bottom.
  • Don’t lift the spool in a way that permits the flanges to angle away from the wire.
  • Don’t adjust or disturb the way the wire is wound on the spool.

  

Custom Welding Machine Builders

Bancroft Engineering has the experience and equipment to help manage your aluminum welding woes! Get in touch with our engineers today to discuss how we can help optimize your process with custom welding machines.

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Shielding Gas Types for GMAW

How to Choose Shielding Gas Types for GMAW

Welding Enhancements

 

If you’ve ever experienced a low-quality weld due to your shielding gas selection, this article was made for you. Shielding gas protects the hot weld pool from outside contamination, which is the main reason why it’s so important to make the right selection for your application.

Here at Bancroft Engineering, we’ve seen how much the wrong shielding gas can drop quality, increase costs and negatively affect production rates. We are going to dive into choosing the gas that’s best paired for your gas metal arc welding (GMAW) job so you can enhance your process once and for all. Whether you’re using a manual process, semi-automatic welder or fully-automated equipment, we’ve got you covered—read on!

About Shielding Gas Options for GMAW

Use one—or combine—these most common shielding gas options for GMAW:

Pure Gases

  • Argon is most commonly used for GMAW on nonferrous metals. This single-atom gas has a low thermal conductivity and ionization potential which results in a low transfer of heat to the exterior of the arc. Because of this, Argon delivers a deep yet narrow weld penetration.

 

  • Helium has lower density than Argon which requires higher flow rates. Helium is also a single-atom gas, that’s commonly used on thicker materials. It’s also a good choice for welding aluminum. Because if its limited high price though, Helium is seldom seen in the industry anymore.

 

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is rarely used on its own because it yields a wide weld bead and often ends up producing a lot of spatter. CO2 is more commonly combined with Argon to produce the best end result. CO2 is also a reactive gas, meaning it has high ionization potential.

 

Gases Used in Mixtures

  • Oxygen is a two-atom molecule commonly added in GTAW gas mixes at a rate of 10% or less. It may be seen as an addition to Argon for GMAW as it can help create a deep and narrow weld penetration in specialized applications.

 

  • Hydrogen is an active shielding gas also commonly used in GMAW mixes at a rate of 10% or less. This diatomic molecule tends to result in hot and wide surface beads. Hydrogen is mostly used for stainless steel materials to improve fluidity and increase travel speeds.

 

How to Select a Shielding Gas 

There are three main components to consider when selecting shielding gas for GMAW: material type, filler type and transfer mode.

  • Material Type: The most important factor of all is matching your gas to the material type. For instance, steel is much denser than aluminum which requires different shielding gas to achieve a desirable welding outcome. It’s also important to consider the materials thickness as thicker materials will require higher heat inputs.

 

  • Filler Metal Type: Double check that your filler metal matches the base material. This will give you reassurance when it comes to selecting the best shielding gas.

 

  • Welding Transfer Mode: Determine whether you’re using short-circuit, spray-arc, pulsed-arc or a global transfer. Each transfer mode will play better with certain shielding gases than others.

 

There’s a lot more to cover when it comes to shielding gas for GMAW. Stay tuned for future articles where we’ll walk through proper shielding gas flow and we’ll dive into detail about the GMAW process with each material type!

 

GMAW Welding Equipment Builders

Selecting the right shielding gas is an important step towards welding success. When optimized correctly, it will not only improve your weld quality, but also save you money and time. The team at Bancroft Engineering can help you decide on the proper shielding gas and ensure your automated or semi-automated welding system is producing the very best results. Get in touch with our welding engineers today!

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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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