Collaborative robots, so-called Cobots, are easy to use, allow for quick and flexible use and represent an exceptional option for small and medium-size companies thanks to their outstanding price-performance ratio. The brand-new “Lorch Cobot Welding Package” now lets companies tap entirely new potentials when it comes to the efficiency and quality of their welding operations.
Small and mid-size companies are already facing a great number of monumental challenges: enormous cost pressure combined with the challenge to show maximum flexibility in manufacturing, the rapidly increasing stress of competition brought about by globalisation and industrial automation plus a stark shortage of skilled labour, which will only intensify in the future. The use of conventional industrial robots is often impractical on account of the high capital expenditure involved as well as the complex and time-consuming programming procedures and the massive amount of space these robots usually occupy.
In contrast, the innovative “Lorch Cobot Welding Package”, consisting of a collaborative robot (Cobot), the “Lorch Cobotronic Software” application and a Lorch welding system including high-performance torch, makes it possible to automate welding processes with prefect ease and optimise the associated workflows. The comprehensive bundle Lorch has launched is topped off by training, consulting, all-inclusive support and financing services that are offered by Lorch’s local Cobot partners. The commissioning of the system including extensive hands-on training measures using real workpieces takes place on the premises of the company who has opted for the system. This approach allows the company to enhance their productivity and competitiveness significantly after only a short period of introduction and, better still, at very reasonable initial costs.
Built-in sensors make sure that the robot arm of the welding Cobot will stop immediately at the slightest touch, allowing the welder to work side by side with the robot without the need for any extensive and expensive protective equipment. Its diminutive own weight of just under 30 kilograms makes the Cobot exceptionally mobile, allowing the welder to move it from one location to the next with ease and flexibility. It can be swiftly mounted on top of the welding bench, enabling seamless and immediate integration into the production environment.
Another major benefit of this system is its straightforward operation that makes the task of programming welding processes a snap – even for workers who lack extensive expertise. The “Lorch Cobotronic Software” application offers not one but a multitude of ways to work with the Cobot. It allows for both direct control over the robot’s operating arm and use of the innovative assistance system, permitting the worker to enter such variables as sheet thickness or base material, which the software will then use to calculate the best possible parameters and the matching welding speed. The welding Cobot learns the exact progression of the weld seam during the so-called “Teaching” process: During this process the welder simply guides the robot arm by hand from the start to the end point of the workpiece to be welded. The system will then use the recorded data to finish the weld seam on the workpiece.
Offering the option to save the welding process for each and every component, the system can reproduce a weld seam as many times as needed. Once set to the perfect parameters, the Cobot is guaranteed to deliver a weld seam that is of consistently flawless precision and quality. This cuts down the time-consuming chore of rework to a minimum or eliminates it altogether. A decisive asset that pays off even during work on small batches, as it helps save valuable time and prevent excessive amounts of rejects.
Another advantage lies in the fact that the welding Cobot is an effective means to compensate for the steadily increasing shortage of skilled labour. While the collaborative robot reliably takes on recurring – and, thus, frequently dull and strenuous welding jobs – welders can devote their time to more demanding welding jobs. All that is left to do is control the proper settings of the welding Cobot, while the newly instructed operator takes over the remaining production steps, which merely involves inserting the workpiece correctly and pressing the button to start the entire welding process.
“The first few installations quickly revealed how our solution managed to meet – and exceed – the expectations of our customers during everyday use”, reports Paul Spronken, Head of Lorch Automation Solutions. “A breeze to implement, our welding Cobots offer an ideal entry point into the world of automation. Even handicraft businesses benefit from our Cobots as they offer them versatile use in their existing manufacturing environment as well as a highly affordable price-performance ratio. The installation offers a rapid return on investment and gives an immediate boost to welding performance. The Lorch Cobot Welding Package will heighten the strength of any team and lets them take the first steps towards Industry 4.0.“