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FANUC America Features Robotic Plasma Cutting System for Metal Pipe from ARC Specialties


From FANUC America:

FANUC America Authorized System Integrator ARC Specialties designs and builds custom manufacturing machinery and automated systems including systems for metal welding and cutting, material handling, pick and place, test equipment and other custom applications. In this robotic system, ARC Specialties utilizes a FANUC M-710iC/20L robot to perform plasma cutting for 40-foot long sections of metal pipe.

First, a full-length pipe moves from a notched workplate to an automated infeed conveyor system. The automated in-feed conveyor indexes the pipe into the headstock cutting area, where the pipe is automatically positioned into place by chuck jaws. The system has five sets of chuck jaws that can be manually changed to accommodate pipes of varying diameter – from 0.75” to 24” in outer diameter. The six axis FANUC M-710iC/20L robot, equipped with a quick tool changer, picks up either an OAC or PAC torch from the quick tool change station. The robot uses touch sensing, as well as laser sensing to locate the nozzle parts and the pipe.

Once the pipe has been located the FANUC robot proceeds to first make a bevel cut. The headstock contains a robotic aux axis motor package and pop-up turning rolls that rotate the pipe in coordinated motion with the robot as it makes the cuts. After the bevel cut, the robot proceeds to plasma cut small and large holes into the pipe. The robot uses FANUC Constant Path, which allows it to maintain the same path regardless of static or dynamic speed override changes.

The system features simple setup – An operator simply inputs the desired cut dimensions into the HMI, presses the Go button, and the robot executes the cut. ARC Specialties’ cutting software generates robot code to execute the desired cuts based on the operator’s input, and the HMI is able to save and store these part programs. Once the FANUC robot is finished cutting, the pipe parts roll onto a gravity-fed pipe rack where they are removed from a notched work plate and finished pipe rack manually.

FANUC America Authorized System Integrator ARC Specialties transform manufacturing processes into high-quality, high-production and high profit operations. To learn more, please visit


Robotics on Display at FABTECH 2016

The robotics team at ARC Specialties have designed, fabricated and programmed two separate robotic demonstration cells for Fabtech 2016 in Las Vegas. The RoboCell 1T will be located in the ARC Specialties booth, North Hall #5002, and the RoboCell 2P will be located in the KUKA Robotics booth, North Hall #5520.

The RoboCell 1T in the ARC Specialties booth will have a joystick that allows show attendees to try live Robotic TIG Welding on a business card holder to take home.

KUKA Robotics Expert Hired for Technical Sales Position

This company has elected to hire Brent Lindell, formerly of KUKA Robotics, as a Technical Sales professional to help increase opportunities and revenue. Lindell stated, “It is an exciting opportunity to start a new chapter in my life, and to sell robotic systems instead of just the robot.”

The team at ARC Specialties is also ready to receive the help from Lindell and are open to the changes that come with working more closely with a former vendor. Lindsay Burck, Marketing Coordinator at ARC Specialties said, “Brent is someone that ARC Specialties has come to rely on over the years for expertise in robotic technology. This company is confident that working closely with Mr. Lindell will allow the manufacturing and robotics industries to continue to thrive in Houston and worldwide.”

KUKA Robotics, a company with which ARC Specialties has a close vendor relationship, leads the industry in new robot technologies. One technology in the spotlight this year from KUKA is collaborative robotics, which allows for humans and robots to work together in close proximity, something that up until the last 2 – 3 years would have posed a large safety risk.

Robots also help to stimulate the economy, with an average of 3 jobs being created for every one robot that is installed (source:


IMTS – International Manufacturing Technology Show 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. From Left to Right: Trey Hoover, Gary Bartz, Jim Walker, Brent Lindell and Lindsay Burck.

FANUC Robotics Open House in Houston, Texas: October 19th and 20th, 2016

FANUC Robotics in Houston, Texas is hosting an Open House on October 19th and 20th. As an integrator of FANUC Robotics, the team at ARC Specialties will represent the latest in robotic and automated manufacturing technology at this event.

The Technology Workshop will include sessions on ROBOGUIDE/Offline Programming, CNC Technology and General Motion Applications, and CNC Aftermarket Support and Maintenance Overview.

Demonstrations at this event will include:

  • M-20iA/25 with FANUC Flex Gripper 3D Bin Picking
  • New M-900/280 Rigid Robot
  • CR-35iA Load/Unload
  • Robodrill with LR-Mate Load/Unload
  • M-1iA High Speed Battery Handling
  • LR-Mate 200iD/4S Relay Inspection
  • M-20iA/25 with IRVision Fenceless Assembly System

+1 888-FANUC-US

TSTC Welding Technology Program Receives Robot

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College in Waco’s Welding Technology program recently received a KUKA welding robot valued at $150,000.

The gift was made by ARC Specialties in northwest Houston, a company that designs and builds automated machinery for welding, pipeline manufacturing and the oil and gas industries.

“It’s important that the students get access to the newer technology,” said Jim Walker, a welding technologist and certified welding inspector at ARC Specialties. “It doesn’t do any good if they don’t ever touch the equipment and have to learn about it once in the industry.”

Mark Watson, a TSTC Welding Technology instructor, said the robot will give students a way to learn technology they may encounter in the industry. He said a robot like the one from the company can be used in the automotive industry on assembly lines.

“I want them to be able to operate it,” Watson said. “You also have to learn how to program and repair it.”

Robots typically perform about 10 percent of tasks across the manufacturing spectrum, but this is expected to increase to 25 percent worldwide by 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group, a private global management consulting firm specializing in business strategy.

“It’s taking over the skill level of your welders,” Watson said. “Nowadays, it’s hard to find the skilled welders. Students need to be on the global playing field with technology.”

Watson’s welding students are excited to start learning about the machine.

Rhett Fuller, 20, of Cedar Park and a 2014 graduate of Cedar Park High School, said the robot combined his interests in welding and computers. He said the donation made him glad he chose TSTC to study welding.

“A lot of the things Mark is doing is for the students,” Fuller said. “He wants to teach a new generation of welders.”

Taylor Otte, 20, of Lexington and a 2014 graduate of Lexington High School, is studying for an advanced pipe welding certificate. He said he enjoys learning how robotics and his knack for mathematics fit into the welding field.

“My aunt is the high school principal in Lexington and she told me about a tour of TSTC when I was a student,” Otte said. “I learned about other programs and took an instrumentation class here. It made me want to be in the field doing work. I want to do underwater welding.”

Walker, along with Dan Allford, the company’s owner, and Randy Ellington, project manager and process specialist, all have associate degrees in welding technology from TSTC in Waco.

“We all enjoyed going through the program at TSTC,” Walker said. “We are still involved in welding and deal with welding on a daily basis. It’s been something all three of us have loved to do.”

ARC Specialties is also represented in the Welding Technology program’s Advisory Board.

Watson envisions securing more technology through partnerships with other companies in the future so students can be more competitive for jobs.

“Good things are going to come to us in the future,” Watson said.

For more information on the Welding Technology program, log on to


Original news release by Daniel Perry of TSTC Communications

Robotic Hardbanding System

This Robotic Hardbanding System is an automatic welding machine that is used for applying tungsten carbide to tool joints and pipe. The project was completed in Summer 2016, and is available for purchase from ARC Specialties in Houston, Texas.


  • A dry run in the video demonstrates the torch movement during the weld program.
  • Included here is a 3-jaw-self-centering manual actuated chuck.
  • This Robotic Hardbanding System uses touch sense to calculate the diameter of the part.
  • The system then changes the speed of rotation of the part to match that diameter.
  • The laser in this system is used to show where the first bead will be welded on the part.
  • The torch cleaning station automatically cleans the nozzle, applies anti-spatter, and can be programmed to clean at any interval.
  • The carbide refill station includes semi-automatic feeder calibration and a water-cooled carbide nozzle integrated into the torch gas cup.

Robotic cells built by ARC Specialties may be customized with other robotic applications like TIG or MIG welding, plasma cutting, plasma transfer arc welding, and other manufacturing processes.



Sales Team Represents Latest in Robotics at IMTS 2016 in Chicago

On September 12 – 17th, 2016, the Sales Team from ARC Specialties helped display the latest in robotic machining and machine tending technology in a booth at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois.

Demonstrations on display included an ABB Deburring Robot, programmed and integrated by ARC Specialties, as well as a FANUC Pick-and-Place Demo Cell. A Facebook Live-feed video of the booth is available for viewing here:

The Sales and Project Management Team members left to right are: Trey Hoover, Gary Bartz, Jim Walker, Brent Lindell and Lindsay Burck.

IMTS – International Manufacturing Technology Show 2016 in Chicago, Illinois


Dan Allford to Speak at IMTS Chicago 2016

On Wednesday, September 14th at 9:00 am, Dan Allford will lead a session at IMTS 2016. The Presentation Topic is 3D Robotic Machining, and the talk will take place in room W192-B at McCormick Place.

The abstract for this presentation is below:

Advances in technology allow robots to capture more material removal applications. This paper will discuss advantages and limitations of plasma and oxy fuel cutting, plasma gouging and drilling and tapping and polishing when applied using robotics. One of the main drivers in this field is equipment cost. A 6 axis robot with 500 kg. end of the arm payload capacity costs around $140,000, which is substantially less than a typical 5 axis mill with similar work envelope. Articulated arms are also quicker than Cartesian based machine tools due to reduced inertia. On the opposing side, robots are less rigid or accurate than machine tools. Plasma and oxy fuel cutting and gouging require no tool force, which makes them ideal candidates for robotic machining. Material removal is accomplished using the power from either the plasma arc or the exothermic reaction of steel rather than using spindle horse power. Drilling, tapping and polishing are good robotic material removal technologies, as they do not exert side loads on the tool or the robot.

July 28th | Lunch and Learn | Featuring Talks and Demos on Hydrogen in Shielding Gas, High Deposition Welding, and Welding Contact Tip Life Extension

When: Thursday, July 28th at 11:30 am – 2:30 pmWhere: ARC Specialties, 1730 Stebbins Drive  |  Houston, Texas 77043Cost: FreeRSVP: The first 25 companies to RSVP to will receive a packet of the new long-life contact tips from ARC Specialties on the day of the event.
Material Covered at the July 28th Lunch and Learn:Due to falling oil prices, the industry has endeavored to do more with less. ARC Specialties has recently completed work in three areas of interest in Hot Wire GTA Welding: 1.) the use of hydrogen blends in shielding gas, 2.) high deposition welding and 3.) contact tip life extension.1. Hydrogen Shielding GasThe thesis is that the use of 98%Ar 2% H2 shielding for GTA Hot wire ERNiCrMo-3 “625” welding reduces defects and improves productivity. Most 625 defects are oxide inclusions. Hydrogen has a strong affinity for oxygen, so it acts like a flux to reduce oxides from part, wire and shielding gas contamination. There is industry resistance to use hydrogen gas for shielding as 625 overlay is specially intended to mitigate hydrogen induced cracking.However, ERNiCrMo-3 is not a low hydrogen filler material at 8.5ppm hydrogen. Hydrogen in the wire accounts for 90% of the diffusible hydrogen in the weld, when welding with 98Ar 2%H2. Pre- and post-heat reduce diffusible hydrogen by 30%. In the worst case scenarios, with no pre-heat, immediate quench and holding in liquid nitrogen, there is only .9ml/100g in the weld metal. This is less than half of the most stringent published low hydrogen specification. Full weld procedure qualification tests were conducted on both argon & argon/hydrogen weld tests to demonstrate that mechanical properties are not affected. Finally, using a microscopic examination technique, the team has quantified weld quality to show that weld quality improves with hydrogen blends.

2. High Deposition Welding

Many manufacturers GTA Hot Wire Clad at 80 IPM (2 m/min) with .045” (1.2 mm)  wire. This deposition rate is 2 lbs /hour (.9 kg/hour).  ARC is working to improve on this in three ways. The first is to simply increase deposition while welding with argon in the 2 G position. ARC Specialties has pushed wire feed speeds up to 300 IPM (10 m/min) resulting in 8 lbs/hour (3.6 kg/hr) in production with a single wire. The team has also developed single layer procedures which meet the <5% Fe standard and pass <250 Vickers HAZ hardness after post weld heat treatment. Finally, ARC Specialties has achieved 10 lbs./hr (4.5 kg/hr) with a single layer welding at a 45 degree angle. The following 4 procedures were recently qualified, passing base tensile & impact, weld side bends, weld chemistry, and hardness HRC & Vickers, with both 1175 degrees F for both 4 and 12 hour PWHT.
Deposition rate in pounds/hr. Number of total layers Iron content % Welding Position PWHT 1175F (635C)
6 1 2.6 2 G 4 and 12 hours
8 1 3.1 2G 4 and 12 Hours
6 2 3.6 2G 4 and 12 Hours
10 2 4.1 45 Deg
  1. and 12 Hours

3. Contact Tip Life Extension

High deposition welding necessitates high wire speeds, which degrade tip life. Standard copper contact tips tested at 8 lbs/hour wear at a rate of .0036”/lb. Several other tips materials were tested with wear ranging from .00220” to .00025”/lb (best). Testing also determined that typically, .01” of wear will necessitate an adjustment in contact tip position to maintain correct wire to puddle alignment. New tips from ARC Specialties are able to operate for 5 hours without adjustment when welding at 8 lbs/hr, a 1600% improvement.
Tip Type Wear (inches/lb) Time before .01” wear position adjustment at 8 lbs/hr
Standard Copper .0036 34 minutes
ARC Alloy Tip .00025 5 hours (10 X improvement)