Robotics News & Insights

A Robotic Helping Hand for the Welder Shortage

Written by Glen Ford | Nov 23, 2015 9:34:26 AM

If you have more welding work than you know how to handle, you’re not alone. Help is becoming increasingly hard to find. Thirty years ago, the number of welders in America surpassed 550,000, but by 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found there were just 343,000. Experts at the American Welding Society (AWS) say there will be a welder shortage of 290,000 skilled positions (including instructors, inspectors and engineers) between now and 2020.

Whether you are a big producer trying to keep up with orders or striving to grow as a smaller shop, it’s a great time to consider the benefits of robotic welding cells. Imagine giving your master welder a robotic cell. He or she programs the welding parameters and pattern into the robot controller and then verifies the results. Your expert can now move on to other high-value activities, and you can keep production flowing.

If you’ve hesitated to purchase a robotic welding cell because you perceive it to have a high entry-level cost, then consider your cost of labor and lost orders. Automated welding, under the direction of a master welder, can improve cycle times and boost total output. A robotic welding cell replicates the great results of your best welder, every hour of a shift or even for a multi-shift day.

Yaskawa Motoman’s ArcWorld® integrated robotic workcells can make it possible for you to take in business that you might be turning away because of a shortage of qualified welders. Our team members are experts in robotic welding and have combined the components needed for a successful automated welding installation. ArcWorld cells include a robot, a positioner (or table) for moving the part that you’re welding, power source, safety fencing and other optional components. As an example, an option like integrated sensors can improve precision, productivity and quality. When we receive an order for a workcell, an entire team of workers is involved in building the cell and shipping it to you ready to weld, with minimal on-site tuning.

The ArcWorld C-30 is the newest robotic workcell with a payload capacity of 150 kg; it’s an entry-level sized cell for smaller, straightforward welding tasks but is equally capable of supporting the work of a larger robotic cell stationed alongside it. And the addition of a Kinetiq Teaching™ module can simplify changeover programming with an easy-to-use interface that has app-like icons for fast learning and implementation.

Development of the ArcWorld C-30 was a conscious effort to reduce the entry cost of a robotic welding workcell and to help the first-time buyer acquire a system that builds on all of Yaskawa’s accumulated welding knowledge. So if you’re a shop owner who might have thought robotic welding was out of your reach, the ArcWorld C-30 will have you rethinking that notion.

But not all application needs are small or entry level. When the application calls for large and/or heavy weldments, the ArcWorld 2000 has two large load/unload stations that allow you to load parts by forklift or crane. Utilizing one of our large payload part positioners and coordinated motion software, parts can even be rotating during the robotic welding process. Previously known as FabWorld, the ArcWorld 2000 workcells have been updated with the latest Yaskawa components and safety standards.

Whether a job is small or large, these workcells help companies automate the repetitive motion in the production equation through the use of robots. With one or two highly qualified people on your team, you can make sure the weld is set up and completed properly.

As your needs change, Yaskawa Motoman cells can adapt to the kind of productivity you want to gain. No matter what your welding challenge may be, the key is that you won’t have to turn away work because of a lack of skilled labor. Anyone looking to ramp up a production process, while turning out a maximum number of quality components, owes it to their business to consider robotic welding cells like the ArcWorld 2000, ArcWorld C-30 or one of the other workcells in the ArcWorld family of solutions – all of which offer the robotic hands you need to keep welding.