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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welding power supplies

Types of Welding Process and Power Supplies

Photo Above: MIG Welding Process

The primary function of a welding power source is to convert electrical power into a current type that is suitable for the welding application being performed.  There’s a lot to consider when selecting the best power source for your welding systems.

Whether you’re looking to invest in new manual welding machines or ready to upgrade an outdated welder to a more modern piece of automatic welding equipment, we’re here to simplify the process. Read on to learn more about welding power sources and what key factors to consider before making a purchase.

 

Getting Started

There are a variety of power sources to choose from. To make the best choice, you need to pair your material type with the welding process and the best method of supplying power to the arc.

Choose your Welding Process 

Both the welding process and material type play a big role when selecting a power source because they are not always compatible with each other.

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) or Flux-Core Arc Welding (FCAW)

Most commonly referred to as MIG or Flux-Core Welding; this process can be used on all of the major commercial metals, a wide range of thicknesses, and requires less operator skill than TIG or stick welding.  Welding speeds are higher because of the continuously fed electrode, absence of slag, and higher metal deposition rates.  Whenever possible, GMAW and FCAW are the chosen welding processes utilized in production shops.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding or Stick Welding (SMAW)

This is the most common form or ARC Welding.  A stick or electrode is placed at the end of a holder and an arc is struck between the tip of the electrode and the metal welding surface.  SMAW power supplies are generally the least expensive but are only capable of being used in manual operations.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

In GTAW—or TIG welding—an arc is established between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the base metal.  A shielding gas protects the tungsten and molten metal from oxidation.  GTAW produces high-quality welds on almost all metals and alloys.  It can be controlled down to very low amperages making it ideal for thinner materials.  GTAW can be done with or without filler material, it also has very little spatter and no slag.  Its biggest disadvantage is speed—GTAW is by far the slowest welding process.

TIG welding process
Tig Welding Process

Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)

Plasma Arc Welding is essentially an extension of GTAW.  Both GTAW and PAW use constant-current power sources and a high-frequency source for arc starting.  The primary difference is that the electrode is recessed in a nozzle to constrict the arc.  PAW is generally more expensive than GTAW but it is more tolerant of joint misalignment and can give better penetration.

welding power sources
PAW Welding Process

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)

In a SAW welding process, the wire is fed continuously with a granular flux material to cover the weld area.  The flux plays a key role in achieving high speed and a quality weld.  Very little weld fume is produced— eliminating the need for fume extraction.  Utilizing granular flux limits welding positions and requires special handling and recovery solutions.

SAW welding process
SAW Welding Process

Select the Proper Power Supply 

Welding power source types are defined by how they modulate electrical currents and what arc welding process is best supported by this modulation:

Direct Current (DC)

A DC power source is a flow of electrons in a single direction through a circuit. In welding, it creates a steadier arc and smoother output. It can be used to weld with a negative ground, or the flow of electrons can be reversed to flow toward a positive ground in reverse polarity.

Alternating Current (AC)

The AC power source is the bidirectional flow of electrons in which the polarity shifts a hundred or more times per second from a negative to a positive ground. Arcs tend to be less stable and welding is harder to control. However, AC welding can break apart oxide formation and allow for purer welding in some processes.

Pulsed Current

This is a form of DC welding in which the current goes from a high peak current to a lower background current at a frequency determined by the operator. This narrows the arc, allowing greater penetration while reducing the effect on surrounding materials. As a result, pulsed current welding is an excellent choice for welding thin metal or performing deep welds on thicker materials.

Pulsed Voltage and Heat

Pulsing GMAW power supplies focus on controlling pulsed voltage and heat applied to the consumable electrode. Controlling the pulsed voltage (heat) and wire feed speed allows greater control over how the wire melts and the rate of deposition. Adaptive pulse GMAW carefully monitors feedback and automatically compensates to keep the arc consistent despite variation by the welder and differences in height and joint location.

 

Additional Items to Consider

Once you have your welding process and the type of power source selected you should consider a few more key items to determine the size including:

What is your Input Power?

Your power source needs to match the type of input power available. The amount of electricity your welding system needs will ultimately depend on the type of power supply you select.

  • Single-phase: 115, 200 or 230 VAC
  • Three-phase: 230, 460 or 575 VAC

Material Thickness

Simply put, the thicker the material the more power required.

Duty Cycle

Duty cycle is the percentage of arc on-time a welding power source can operate in a given period. One of the most common mistakes welders make is under-sizing their power source. It’s important to understand how much amperage your power source can generate at any given duty cycle and ensure it’s MORE than enough to meet your demands.

Understanding the types of welding processes and power supply types is a large undertaking and can be overwhelming but a reliable power source will serve you for many years.

 

About Bancroft Engineering

Our engineers can help you select the best power source for your welding needs! Bancroft offers custom welding systems 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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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 machine section 179 tax deduction

Using Section 179 Tax Deductions for a Welding Machine in 2020

Whether you’re buying a new machine for the first time or are ready to upgrade existing equipment, the Section 179 tax deduction is something you’ll want to look into. When you purchase automated welding equipment from Bancroft Engineering, you will not only be improving your manufacturing process but also saving your business money on your 2020 taxes with Section 179 expensing.

 

How Does Section 179 Expensing Work for Welding Equipment Purchases?

The Section 179 Tax deduction is for all businesses that purchase (or finance) new and used business equipment during the 2020 tax year.

Section 179 of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 179) is now available which allows you to write-off up to $1,040,000 of a qualifying equipment purchase for 2020. This annual deduction amount is up from $1,000,000 in 2019.

In past years, when manufacturers purchased welding equipment, they would write it off little by little through depreciation. For example, if your business spent $80,000 on a piece of machinery, you might write off $20,000 per year for five years.

When you use Section 179 in 2020, a business can write-off the entire purchase price of qualified equipment for the current tax year. As in our previous example, if your business spends $80,000 on a piece of automated welding machinery, you can write off all $80,000 in the same tax year using Section 179. This is an attractive tax deduction for small and mid-sized businesses to take advantage of!

How to Qualify for Section 179 in 2020

If you’re considering whether or not to purchase new equipment this year, section 179 is an attractive tax deduction to take into consideration. It’s also easy to understand and apply. Most new and used tangible business equipment qualifies as long as it meets the following criteria:

  • Equipment must be installed and ready for service in the same tax year
  • More than 50% of the use of the equipment must be used for business

Real Example of Section 179 Expensing in 2020

  • Cost of equipment after Bancroft Engineering discounts: $200,000.00
  • Section 179 Deduction: $200,000.00
  • Total First Year Deduction: $200,000.00
  • 35% Saving on Equipment Purchase: $70,000.00
  • Lowered Cost of Equipment After Tax Savings: $130,000.00
automated welding systems tax savings 2020
Image by: aws.org

NEW Automated Welding Machines + Tax Savings 

Buying equipment or upgrading your existing welding machines can provide many benefits from improved quality, increased production to better staff morale. Thankfully, these tax breaks allow you to afford the equipment you need!

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

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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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Automated Welding Machine Builder

How Much Are Welders Paid?

Insight from an Automated Welding Machine Builder 

 

The welder shortage has been a known issue for years. With many welders nearing retirement age, the younger generation can’t seem to replace them fast enough. The demand for welders isn’t slowing down either—The American Welding Society shows that there is an even larger shortage in our future. It’s predicted that there will be a deficiency of over 400,000 skilled welders by 2024.

  • The average age of a welder is 55
  • Less than 20% of welders are under the age of 35

As an automated welding machine builder out of Waukesha, WI, (Wisconsin is one of the top 5 states with the most welding jobs) we recognize the challenges to filling this skills gap. Read on to learn more about welding careers and pay.

 

How Much are Welders Paid — The Break Down 

With all of this talk of a worker shortage, what does that mean for salaries? In 2019, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported welders to make an average of $44,800/year. This being said, salaries can range greatly depending on location, skill and application.  Welding is a skill that can provide a good, stable living. But, just like any career, you won’t be earning top dollar right away—most have to start at the bottom and work their way up.

fabricator automated welding machine builder

Experience & Skill Matter

Years of experience and leadership skills are an essential piece of the welding salary puzzle. Other than the art of welding metal parts, here are just a few essential areas welders must be equipped with:

  • Understanding of blueprints and technical specifications
  • Ability to calculate dimensions
  • Insight for inspecting weldments and materials
  • How to maintain equipment and machinery
  • Critical thinking for processes improvements
automated welding systems

The Role of Welding Automation

Automation has become commonplace for many manufacturing companies. Welding can be a semi-automated process where only a few elements are mechanized, or it can also be completely automated with the use of robots. Automation does not eliminate the need for skilled welders, it simply frees up these professionals to perform more challenging tasks. Even with the use of automated welding systems, it’s essential to have the knowledgeable staff who understand the ins and outs of the process, how to overcome challenges and ensure a high level of welding quality output. In summary, welding automation means MORE opportunities for welders!

 

The Future of Welding – Automated Welding Machine Builder

At Bancroft Engineering, we are advocates of skilled welders and understand what an asset they are for our economy. The future of welding is bound to be an exciting one for those interested in learning new, emerging technologies! We offer cutting-edge welding equipment for manufacturers who need to get the job done right.  Give us a call today at 262-786-1880 or email: sales@bancrofteng.com

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Automated Welding Systems

Conquering the Challenges of Welding Stainless Steel

Automated Welding Systems + Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has been gaining popularity in applications across the fabrication industry for many years. This is mostly due to the material’s corrosion resistance, strength and overall resilience. From kitchen appliances, automotive products, medical equipment and much more, stainless steel is found all around us. While this low-maintenance metal has many benefits, it can cause a variety of welding challenges and frustrations!

 

Welding Stainless Steel Quick Facts:

  • There are hundreds of grades of stainless steel.

  • The most commonly used stainless steel includes 304 and 316.

  • Stainless steel is best known for its corrosion resistance, strength and workability.

  • Stainless steel has low susceptibility for bacterial growth, making it a popular choice for food-grade and medical products.

  • Some stainless steels can be 3-5 times more expensive than mild steel.

 

Choosing the right manual or automated welding system and process is key. Read on to learn about the common challenges to welding stainless steel and tips to overcome them.

  

Chromium Oxide

The thin layer of chromium oxide provides stainless steel with its “stainless” characteristic. This layer is one of the main attractors as it protects the material from harsh environments. The challenge when welding stainless steel is avoiding damage to this layer with spatter or slag as this can cause vulnerability to the end product. Post weld cleaning with the proper tools is essential to avoid this challenge.

 

Temperature Input

The alloy content of stainless steel conducts heat at a much slower rate than carbon steel. This means, the heat from the arc won’t distribute as easily throughout the material—causing heat concentration in the weld pool. This will lead to warping, burn-through and oxidation. An indicator that too much heat is being used on stainless steel is when the weld begins to form a rainbow of colors. While the colors may look like a work of art, it’s a red flag that the end product may not pass welding quality tests.

 

GMAW vs. GTAW

Historically, gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) was the preferable method for working with stainless steels. However, as technology has progressed, gas metal arc welding (GMAW) has become more of a standard. This is due to the use of semi-automated welding equipment combined with state of the art controls which provide fast deposition rates, regulates heat input and improves consistency. Get in touch with Bancroft Engineering to discuss the many benefits of welding automation for stainless steel.

 

Finishing Processes

Stainless steel requires special finishing processes once the weld is complete. Don’t make the mistake of using steel brushes or polishing pads that have been used before on carbon steel—this will damage the protective oxide layer. Whether you need a matte, brushed or mirror finish, it’s important to use stainless-specific finishing tools such as finishing discs, belts and other tools.

 

Automated Welding Systems + Stainless Steel

Mastering how to weld stainless steel is a vital part of fabrication. Bancroft Engineering has years of experience building automated welding systems for stainless steel applications. We can help you optimize your production equipment and make huge welding improvements! Ready to upgrade? Give us a call today at 262-786-1880 or email: sales@bancrofteng.com

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enhance weld quality

4 Tips to Enhance Weld Quality

Excellent weld quality helps to build a competitive advantage for your manufacturing business. With the right process in place, you will be able to regularly deliver durable, strong and clean welds to your customers. Read on to get our 4 simple tips to enhance weld quality.

  1. Proper Placement

  2. In-process Monitoring

  3. Use Automated Welding Machines

  4. Quality Assurance Checks

 

The Cost of Poor Weld Quality

Before we get into our tips, let’s review some of the most common welding problems:

  • Spatter
  • Porosity
  • Undercut
  • Deformation
  • Cracks
  • Poor weld penetration
  • Incorrect wire delivery

These issues are often structural in nature while also affecting the overall appearance of your part. Low weld quality will hurt your bottom line, be a strain on your work environment and negatively impact customer satisfaction. Some issues could even be a safety hazard resulting in damage, injuries to workers or worse!

 

Tip #1: Proper Preparation

The steps before the welding process takes place are some of the most critical! Learn more about tips to prepare metal before automatic welding right here. When you skip out on cleaning your metal surfaces, removing oxide layers or prepping the metals edge—you’re setting yourself up for disaster. It’s worth your time to complete all best-practice welding preparations so you can not only pass quality inspections but also get beautiful and clean welds!

 

Tip #2: In-Process Monitoring

Real time, in-process weld monitoring is a great way to stay on-top of weld quality and catch errors before they occur. Some techniques used today for process monitoring include sensors, lasers and vision-based monitoring. Seam tracking allows you to track weld position during the welding process. This results in better welds, improved path speed, decreased scrap and reduced cycle times. Check out our run-down of seam tracking and how to select the right solution for your project right here.

  

Tip #3: Automated Welding Machines

Using the proper welding equipment is the first step for ensuring high-quality welding output. Automating your process can keep welding pitfalls at bay. Up-to-date technology makes a huge difference when it comes to avoiding welding defects—automation makes welding more consistent and reliable.

Bancroft Engineering provides both standardized and customized welding solutions. From semi-automated welders to 100% robotic cells, our engineers can help you select the right system for your process. Check out more information about our welding system offerings right here!

  

Tip #4: Quality Assurance Checks

Our last tip for improving weld quality is to have strong quality control in place. A welding quality assurance inspector reviews the weld and tests it’s quality. Quality assurance checks should focus on the overall quality of the weld as well as the strength of the weld. The main benefits of having quality control in place is to catch problems, analyze them and determine the best way to fix the issue moving forward.

 

Step up Your Weld Quality

Bancroft Engineering is here to help you improve weld quality with state-of-the-art equipment. We offer both design and build services under one roof. Specializing in standalone semi-automated welding machinery and large, automated weld systems, we offer full-service welding support. Give us a call today at 262-786-1880, or email: sales@bancrofteng.com.

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