Automation and Robotics Articles

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Robots for hire

March 24, 2017 | By Tim Heston

A company has introduced a new way for a fabricator to use automation: not by investing in a permanent system, but by hiring them and paying for their use by the hour. The technology behind collaborative robotics is making this possible.

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Anatomy of a robot-based welding system

January 4, 2017 | By Bob Rochelle

A robot is only a part of a robot-based automation system, whether the system is for welding or other applications. Regardless of the application, several components and functions are common to all systems. Controls, communication devices, operator interfaces, sensors, peripheral equipment, parts handling equipment, fixtures, safety features, and cable management devices are common components in all systems. Most projects require some personnel involvement as well.

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Shopping cart manufacturer rings up productivity gains with automated bending cell

November 21, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Shopping cart manufacturer Technibilt has been incorporating automation little by little over the last few decades, but recently took a big step when it solicited bids for a transfer system that would bend and punch tube to make shopping cart frames.

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Need welders? Automation can help!

November 16, 2016 | By Chris Anderson

Finding good welders is a real issue for some fab shops, but so is the anxiety attached to integrating robotic welding to help fill the gaps. Pinpointing the appropriate skill set for robotic welding programmers is important to ensure you have the right person in place to run the machine. Industry also has stepped up to deliver systems that make robotic programming easier and faster for individuals who have limited programming training.

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Robotic welding in a small shop

October 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

TnL Welding, Sidney, Ohio, is a two-person operation with four robotic cells. Todd Whitt is the welder with the talent for getting automation to work smoothly. Kristen Whitt is getting her B.S. degree in welding technology by learning tips and tricks from her dad.

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The evolving bending-to-blanking ratio in metal fabrication

October 4, 2016 | By Dustin Diehl, Scott Ottens

How many lasers and punch presses do you have? How many press brakes? Determining the best ratio isn’t as straightforward as it once was. It’s a puzzle that must be looked at holistically. The trick is discovering which pieces fit best for your operation.

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High-tech stamping in Amish country

September 21, 2016 | By Kate Bachman

The SUPERB™ factory in Sugarcreek, Ohio performs surprisingly high-tech operations in a traditional village in Amish country, including stamping components for next-generation power grid storage units for Alevo. To meet the demand to stamp and assemble 100 million battery components, the manufacturer installed automated assembly equipment.

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Still asking Elmer

July 20, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

The Ask Elmer column, written by Hobart Institute of Welding Technology instructor Elmer Swank, appeared in Practical Welding Today for four years. Even though the column no longer exists, Swank is still in the business of answering questions and developing good welders.

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Reamer keeps consumables clean in robotic welding

July 5, 2016 | By Ryan Lizotte

Installed and used properly, a reamer minimizes spatter and debris, prolongs consumables life, improves weld quality, and keeps a robotic welding cell productive.

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Offline weld robot programming evolves

April 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Several years ago Groupe Gravel invested in robotic welding and plasma cutting. And from the very start, for most work, technicians never programmed jobs using a teach pendant.

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Best practices and troubleshooting tips to optimize robotic welding

March 21, 2016 | By Ryan Lizotte

A robotic welding cell is a significant investment that improves productivity and weld quality and ultimately reduces costs. These best practices and troubleshooting tips can help you maximize your ROI.

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How to set up your press, tooling, workpiece for press-to-press robotic transfers

January 19, 2016 | By Tim Tuttle

Setting up for robotic press-to-press transfer systems requires some consideration of distances, bolster height, and stroke length, as well as feed length, die clearance and several other press, tooling and workpiece considerations.

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Why machine monitoring matters

November 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Monitoring machine performance in real time is gaining traction in metal fabrication. MTConnect, a machine communication standard that has made serious headway in the machining arena, now has a toehold in the sheet metal business.

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Small batches, big-time automation

October 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Rapid-Line Inc., a contract manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich., has a long history of early technology adoption. Two years ago it became an early adopter again, this time with an entirely different kind of robot. Regardless of the technology, everyone keeps their eye on what truly matters when it comes to manufacturing efficiency: how long it takes for an order to make it to the shipping dock.

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Metal fabrication, automation, and the big picture

September 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Ludlow Manufacturing Inc.’s managers are big believers in automation, but they’re not just interested in shortening machine cycle times. They look at the big picture, from the first order to the final shipment.

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