Call RDA Search

Blog

A Solution to the Skilled Welding Labor Shortage

31 October, 19 9:57 am · Leave a comment · Geoff Campbell
Share
Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

In This Article: Welding Labour Gap  >  Cobots  >  The BotX Welder  >  Welding Mobile App  >

An Industry In Distress

The manufacturing industry is in distress. There is a shortage of skilled talent and this gap is only widening. While manufacturing companies are able to make goods faster and cheaper than ever, there is a growing lack of skilled manufacturing employees to ensure that production continues. Industry projections from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, among other industry analysts, predict that over the next decade, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled across the U.S.

This decline in skilled manufacturing workers is a result of two issues:

1. A very large portion of workers at or near retirement age
2. Incoming generations that are far less interested in the manufacturing industry

Welding is perhaps one of the susceptible areas in manufacturing to this trend because of the skill welding requires. The lack of skilled welders is causing large inefficiencies in the manufacturing industry due to under-staffing and also causing pay rates of skilled welders to go higher and higher. Since it does not appear that upcoming generations will have a large participation rate as welders, the solution to the problem will likely be solved by the implementation of automated welding solutions.

  • Automated Welding Solutions That Deliver ROI
  • Automated Welding Solutions Come in a Variety of Forms

Automated welding robot machines, automatic welding bugs, automatic orbital welding machines, and even automated resistance welding equipment are being used to help combat the void created by a lack of skilled welders.

The lack of skilled welders is causing large inefficiencies in the manufacturing industry

Although full-auto arc welding machines are part of the remedy, they are not a panacea. Fully-automated welding solutions often require high capital expenditure, require expensive skilled programming personnel, and pose significant safety risks if not set-up properly. The trade-off between the benefits of fully-automatic welding machines and their disadvantages led to the development of a new type of automated welding solution: the welding cobot.

welder shortage infographic


Enter: The Cobot (a Collaborative Robot)

botx collaborative robotic welding table
The name cobot is short for “collaborative robot”. The increase of cobot development and deployment is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. Welding cobots are unique welding tools that hold many advantages over other automated welding machines, especially traditional welding robotic systems. Cobots have special mechanisms and move in such a way that enables them to require little to no safety fencing.  While the potential for increased safety without extra costs is an excellent benefit, the most important benefit of cobot use in an automated welding cell is the reduced costs associated with installation and programming.

Robotic Welding Just Got Easier

Traditional automatic robotic welding machines require a high level of skill to program. Oftentimes many years of knowledge and experience are required to set up an automated weld cell; for this reason, many companies elect to hire contractors to do this work for them, adding to the already high cost. With cobots, the programming of the machine is much simpler. The programming software is engineered to be user-friendly, vastly decreasing the instruction time required to train a programmer. This not only lowers the initial costs of programming, but also enables a cobot to have a high degree of flexibility. The decrease in programming time and safety equipment and the increase in flexibility typically result in a very short ROI timeline and reduce the dependency on skilled welders and automated welding robot programmers.

The decrease in programming time typically results in a very short ROI timeline

Red-D-Arc understands that many of our customers are not immune to the trends affecting the manufacturing industry as a whole. We know that maintaining a technological advantage is key to success. In order to help our customers fight increasing costs associated with the decline in skilled welding employees and complicated automatic welding machines, Red-D-Arc offers collaborative welding robot solutions.


Introducing The BotX-Welder:  The Robotic Welding Solution

2 welders working with a cobot

The BotX-Welder is our cobot product solution for our customers. The BotX-Welder package comes with a UR10e cobot arm created by Universal Robots, a leader in cobot development. In conjunction with this robot arm, the Bot-X Welder system also comes with an XMT350 MPa MIG welder and S74 MPa Plus wirefeeder, both made by Miller Electric. A MIG torch and a welding fabrication table are also included to complete the cobot welding cell. While the hardware is state-of-the-art, it is the software in the BotX Welding cell that truly sets it apart. The robot arm in the Bot-X automated welding system is controlled by the Hirerobotics application, which can be used with either iOS or Android operating systems. The Hirerobotics app is much easier to use than a traditional automatic robotic welding machine teach pendant.

A Welding App With All The Robotic Welding Routines You Need

botx cobot welder operator

What’s more is that the Bot-X Welder also comes with an expansive library of welding routines, with weld parameters made to fit almost any application. Welding can be automatically monitored and recorded through cloud connectivity. This allows remote users to view weld data from anywhere in the world as long as they are connected to the network.  The cost and risks of  new technologies are often high. Red-D-Arc eliminates the risk of failed robotic welding implementations by only charging our customers by the productive hour when using the Bot-X Welder. This enables users to try the machine out, use it as much as they need it, and get rid of it when it the work slows down. This probably won’t be a problem, since you’ll be able to keep customers happy with a quick rate of output and very high weld quality.  The pay-as-you-go system is much easier and more cost-effective than the traditional hiring and firing of personnel.

Maintaining a technological advantage is key not only to prosperity in the manufacturing industry, it is essential to survival. As more and more efficient means of weld production are developed and as the number of skilled welding laborers decline, the pressure is on to adapt.

Red-D-Arc has always and will continue to support our customers through industry shifts. The Bot-X cobot welding system is another way we help you keep ahead of the competition.

See the BotX Welder in action live at Fabtech 2019.

Induction Heating vs Other Methods

29 April, 19 4:48 am · Leave a comment · Colin Brown
Share
Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Pre-weld and post-weld heat treating is critical for many welding operations. Without proper thermal manipulation, welds and heat affected zones can have mechanical properties that are undesirable. Worse yet, inadequate heat treatment can result in cracks and devastating weld failures. While temperature and time are the primary concerns when heat treating a weld, the heating method should also be considered diligently when selecting a process. Induction heating is one of the most popular types of heat treating methods, and rightfully so. The benefits of induction heating are many, and Red-D-Arc has the equipment you need to successfully implement an induction heat treating operation for your projects.

What is Induction Heating?

Induction heating is a heat treating process that, when used properly, can alter the mechanical properties of a weld and its adjacent base metal in a way that meets the demands of the application in which the weld is being used. Induction heating relies on the science of electromagnetism to heat the part. Induction coils are placed around the material being heat treated, and alternating current is fed through them. This alternating current going through the induction coils creates a rapidly alternating magnetic field.

The eddy currents that occur as a result of this heat the material surrounded by the coils. Magnetic materials are even more easily heated by the alternating magnetic fields.

(more…)

Welder shortage: Key is efficiency, not automation

02 April, 19 1:31 pm · Leave a comment · Colin Brown
Share
Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Note: This article first appeared in BIC Magazine

In industry, a growing trend is the idea to use orbital welding as a solution to the mounting problem of welder shortages. It is a well-known fact there are just not enough pipeline welders to go around (no pun intended). By 2020, the American Welding Society expects the U.S. will face a shortage of 290,000 welders. Companies in other business sectors — from food service companies to banks — attempt to solve labor issues and increase efficiencies by utilizing automation to replace workers. Is automation, specifically orbital welding in this case, the way to improve operating factors and productivity?

(more…)

Axxair Orbital System Makes Welding Small Pipes Easy

18 October, 18 3:12 pm · Leave a comment · reddarc
Share
Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

multi pipe welded array
Welding small diameter tubing can be difficult.  The tight radii often require expert welders to deliver precise torch manipulation with finesse.  If the welder is not skilled enough, the out of position areas are at risk of poor quality due to gravity affecting the weld pool and ineffective torch angles.  If out of position welds cannot be completed satisfactorily, the part must be rotated.  However, some assemblies can’t be rotated because of size constraints or they might rotate off of center.  If a mechanized welding solution is desired for small diameter components, look no further than our Axxair Orbital Fusion Closed Welding Head Systems.


Closed-Head Pipe Welders

Axxair Orbital Fusion Closed Welding Systems are comprised of two main parts: the
Axxair Orbital Fusion Closed Welding Head
and the Axxair Orbital Inverter Power Supply.  The Orbital Fusion Closed Welding Head fully encompasses the assembly being welded.  This means that an inert gas environment can be created around the part, preventing it from the risk of oxidation that it might be exposed to during a welding operation that relies solely on a gas nozzle.  The Orbital Fusion Closed Welding Head also has a ring drive that enables full 360 degree motion around the weld joint, all the while keeping a consistent torch angle.  Furthermore, it is capable of going over 360 degrees for when slope-in and slope-out parameters are needed.
Closed Welding Heads

“The Orbital Fusion Closed Welding Head also has a ring drive that enables full 360 degree motion around the weld joint, all the while keeping a consistent torch angle.”

(more…)

Strengthening Metal Parts with Hardfacing

27 April, 18 2:42 pm · Leave a comment · reddarc
Share
Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Metallic parts sometimes fail their intended use at a lower stress than they are designated for.
Various forms of wear such as abrasion, impact, metal to metal contact, heat, and corrosion can compromise the strength of metal pieces. This is where hardfacing comes in. Hardfacing is a technique which can be applied to minimize the damage from these types of wear, helping to prolong the life of metal pieces.

What is hardfacing?

Hardfacing —often called hardsurfacing— is the covering of the metallic part with a wear resistant metal by welding. Alloys which commonly need to be hardfaced include carbon alloy and low alloy steels whose carbon content is lower than 1 %. These include stainless steels, manganese steels, cast iron as well as nickel and copper-based alloys.

Metallic parts sometimes fail their intended use at a lower stress than they are designated for.

Techniques, Materials and Costs

The particular hardfacing technique for a job depends on the geometry of the part and relative cost of the hardfacing method. Costs can vary with the deposition rate of the material.

These cost variations can be summarized as follows:

  • Flux cored arc welding (FCAW) 8 to 25 lb/hr
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) 3 to 5 lb/hr
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), including both gas-shielded and open arc welding 5 to 12 lb/hr
  • Oxyfuel Welding (OFW) 5 to 10 lb/hr

 

Applied materials commonly include cobalt based alloys such as STELITE, and nickel based materials like chromium carbide alloys. More advanced materials such as complex carbides containing columbium, molybdenum, tungsten, or vanadium can also be used and provide more overall abrasion resistance. They also have a very low friction factor, which can be used in situations involving severe abrasion.

Hardfacing can be applied to both newly manufactured pieces, in order to prevent deterioration, or to strengthen and extend the life of worn pieces currently in use.

Red-D-Arc provides welding machines suitable for hardfacing using techniques including SMAW, FCAW and GMAW.

AirGas Logo

Airgas, an Air Liquide company, is the nation's leading single-source supplier of gases, welding and safety products. Known locally nationwide, our distribution network serves more than one million customers of all sizes with a broad offering of top-quality products and unmatched expertise.