Automation and Robotics Articles

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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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Modula uses automation to produce automated storage units

August 4, 2015 | By Sue Roberts

The Modula U.S.A. plant in Lewiston, Maine, is the result of a $6 million investment in new equipment, a new focus on manufacturing automated vertical storage (AVS) units, and a renaming by Italian parent company System Logistics. Cost-competitive production resulting from integrated, automatic sheet metal fabricating equipment from Salvagnini was key in the company’s decision to locate in the United States.

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Vision-guided robots consolidate their place in the press shop

May 13, 2015 | By Abel Elias, Enrique Pano

Advancements in robotic technology are extending their functionality and improving their performance. Often a robot is expected to do more than move from programmed position A to position B; it must operate “smarter” and act upon other inputs, such as vision systems or force feedback. The applications for integration of vision systems and robots are almost endless but the most common application is vision guidance for the robot

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Gauging welding’s success

March 25, 2015 | By Tim Heston

In recent years Ashcroft’s Connecticut plant has changed significantly. It’s an operation transitioning from batch-style production to lean part flow, and a new, flexible welding cell has helped the manufacturer prepare for future improvements.

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5 things to know about robotic GMAW guns

March 11, 2015 | By Tom Whitter

When choosing the best robotic welding system for your operation, make sure to pay special attention to the gun and consumables. One size does not fit all.

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