Robotics is a flourishing field, being introduced in sectors as diverse as education, business, national security, and even welding. Welding is an important industry with its impact strong in many aspects of everyday life. Welding is also a crucial part of the manufacturing industry at large, where robotics has found a firm footing. ARC Specialties is successfully utilizing robotics in ARC welding processes and seeing efficient high-quality results.
The Aerospace Industry has literally taken off from its humble beginnings. Today, it is a demanding and intensely regulated sector of the economy requiring expert engineering and high-precision manufacturing techniques such as robotic welding. Automated welding provides the accuracy necessary to meet the industry’s extremely tight tolerances, thus providing consistent, high-quality welds, with reduced waste and rework. In addition, robotic welding is highly efficient, which improves productivity. ARC Specialties’ line of robotics produces the precision welding necessary to meet strict aerospace industry guidelines. Let’s take a look.
History of the Aerospace Industry
The history of aerospace technology can be traced back to 1799 when engineer George Cayley first conceived an aircraft with a “fixed wing and a horizontal and vertical tail.” Over the intervening centuries, innovations such as the Wright brothers’ first powered sustained flight, the rockets of Wernher von Braun, and landing a man on the moon all helped to create the high-technology aerospace industry we know today. Aerospace manufacturing produces a wide variety of products including aircraft, guided missiles, space vehicles, aircraft engines, propulsion units, and related parts. The global aerospace and defense industry is forecast to increase by 4.1 percent in 2018, doubling last year’s 2.1 percent growth. The biggest players in aerospace are Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, UTC, and GE, followed by Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Safran, Finmeccanica, and Rolls Royce.
Automated Robotic Welding for the Aerospace Industry
High-quality, precision components for the aerospace industry must repeatedly withstand extreme forces and temperatures without failing, thereby requiring expert engineering and efficient manufacturing techniques such as automated robotic Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), commonly known as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding. In GTAW or TIG welding, the pieces to be joined are heated and melted using an electric arc and a non-consumable electrode made of tungsten. The pieces then fuse together as solidification occurs. Robots are increasingly being used to automate the TIG welding process because of the many benefits they offer, such as repeatability, rigidity, and accuracy, all at a lower cost. The result is a more consistent, higher quality weld. That’s why the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, a leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space, and security systems, has automated so many of their manufacturing processes, including welding.
ARC Specialties Solutions for the Aerospace Industry
ARC Specialties designs and builds automation equipment for aerospace welding. We incorporate robotics in custom solutions designed to deliver the highest quality, most repeatable welding process. With expertise gained from decades of experience in the oil and gas industry, ARC has perfected the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding process and then applied this extensive knowledge to the joining of aerospace components. ARC Specialties’ automated solutions incorporate innovations such as integrated voltage height control, touchscreen interfaces for motion programming and welding parameter setup, and a simple single point interface for welding and wire control, torch motion, and parameter feedback.
Robotic welding is transforming the aerospace industry. ARC Specialties’ deep expertise and extensive experience has produced an innovative line of robotics that provides the precision welding necessary to meet the stringent regulations and guidelines for aerospace manufacturers. Our inventive, diligent, and thorough staff works with each customer to produce a unique design personalized to fit their specific needs.
Find out more about ARC Specialties and our line of industrial automation products at https://www.arcspecialties.com/products/.
With over 100,000 attendees, experts, and industry thought leaders converging to share the best in manufacturing technology, IMTS 2018 is the premier manufacturing technology show of North America. This must attend event is a time to learn, connect, and engage, boasting an exhibit hall brimming with networking opportunities, innovation, and ideas.
Excited to attend this highly anticipated 32nd annual event, Arc Specialties will be showcasing several of their products at IMTS 2018—one-of-a-kind machinery that utilizes their unique experience and knowledge to improve day-to-day manufacturing processes:
- Experience Arc Specialities’ Robotic Bin Picking with 3-D vision. Utilizing an advanced vision system Arc has automated a highly complicated task of picking randomly placed parts to efficiently automat a monotonous tasks, great for machine tending and conveyor loading.
- See how Arc’s Narrow Gap SAW welding automates thick wall joining, minimizing weld volume to maximize production rates.
- Learn how a Portable Heavy Wall Milling system provides flexibility and mobility in creating high precision weld joints.
Arc Specialties is propelling manufacturing technology further and further into the 21st century. Be sure to attend IMTS 2018 and stop by booth #236030. Chat with the Arc team about emerging trends in manufacturing technologies, robotics integration, and learn how Arc Specialties’ capabilities can be customized to fit specific needs that meet and exceed your production objectives. But before the show, get ahead of the crowd by taking a sneak peek at Arc Specialties’ technology innovations that are transforming manufacturing processes into effective, high-yield operations for optimized profitability.
What does robotics and cutting-edge tech have to do with manufacturing? A lot. Automation, robotics, and process development are becoming completely integrated in the manufacturing industry. If you’re not sure how, this podcast is for you. Listen as we talk to Dan Allford, President of ARC Specialties, a manufacturer of one-of-a-kind welding and welding automation machinery. Dan shares how he built his first robot in his garage in the early 1980s and turned that passion into a thriving company.
In manufacturing, efficiency is paramount. To remain relevant in today’s increasingly competitive business environment, implementing advanced technology and streamlining operational workflows is crucial to success. With customer demands for quality products at lower prices on short timelines, only the most optimized manufacturing systems will be able to deliver.
Arc Specialties has taken on this efficiency challenge and developed multi-positioner robotic cells. With an innovative design that greatly enhances productivity while offering versatility, safety, and portability, Arc Specialties multi-positioner robotic cells are the ideal solution to maximizing manufacturing processes.
The global demand for energy continues to increase as populations grow and industries expand. To meet these energy needs, the oil and gas industry has explored into harsher terrain and deeper water to locate rich reserves of fossil fuels. These extreme locations create immense engineering challenges to extract oil and gas in a manner that is safe for the environment and those who perform the work.
While conventional onshore and shallow water oil production is still going strong, the development of deepwater offshore fields has become a major contributor to worldwide oil and gas production. To operate in deepwater and ultra-deepwater locations, new oil and gas welding technologies have been implemented to safely produce and transport these reserves.
ARC Specialties furnishes one-of-a-kind machinery that utilizes its unique welding and material handling experience and knowledge. From machining and cutting to testing and final assembly, everything ARC does is vertically integrated—completed right in the buildings it owns. Furthermore, by having teams of engineers and software developers on-hand, ARC Specialties is able to create process-specific applications perfectly tailored to a specific customer need.
We read article after article stating the biggest problem for fab shops is the difficulty filling skilled-labor jobs. In May of 2017, Industry Week posted that an estimated 2.7 million jobs are likely to be needed as a result of retirements of the existing workforce, while over 700,000 jobs are likely to be created due to natural business growth. The article continues to explain there’s a perception or stigma that manufacturing is outdated, legacy work that is of little interest to the new breed of workers and the skilled-labor shortage has turned into a perfect storm threatening to impeded a manufacturer’s ability to deliver on customer demand.
Here are a few common responses that we hear regarding dedicated, traditional robotic cells:
- We run small batches of parts that would take too long to program on a robot.
- I don’t have enough work or I can’t afford to keep a full time robot programmer on staff.
- Takes up too much floor space, too expensive, and too complicated.
Manufacturing is a competitive industry. Domestic manufacturers have been competing with overseas manufacturers for decades, which often offer lower cost labor. With competition high and approximately 96.4 percent of U.S. manufacturers qualifying as small businesses, per the U.S. Census Bureau, they are turning toward automation for leaner operations.
Automation Increases Productivity
Automation delivers higher productivity and is represented in various applications including robotics. According to Robotic Industries Association (RIA), end-to-end automation in manufacturing can double or even triple throughput. With automation, the equipment can also keep running, giving these manufacturers a competitive edge.
Cladding is a key part of corrosion protection in several vital industries. However, most cladding machines can only deposit material at a rate of two or three pounds per hour. For busy companies, this rate is simply too slow and can cause a bottleneck in production schedules. Fortunately, ARC Specialties has introduced four new cladding system models precisely engineered for high speed cladding. All four of these models deposit material at a speedy eight pounds per hour, representing a giant leap beyond older, slower systems.
With traditional systems, the low pound per hour deposition rate is either the result of old equipment design, or the welding procedure itself. The new ARC-5i, ARC-5PL, ARC-5XP, and ARC-5HVT cladding systems solve both of these problems with a cutting edge design that delivers Inconel® welding deposition rates up to eight pounds per hour. Inconel® 625 is the alloy of choice, it is a nickel alloy containing chromium and molybedenum that is highly resistant to corrosion. ARC’s engineering innovations and process development give ARC customers the ability to double or even triple their output with systems specifically engineered for speed, offering higher welding speeds and pre-programmed welding procedures.