All companies tend to find the means to lower the production costs in order to remain competitive in a moving market. Changing from manual welding to automated welding is an investment for sure, but there are a lot of advantages.
But what does that change, mean to the welder?
We will give you some information in the article concerning the changes that will occur for the welder, the most important person concerned by this change, when you replace manual welding by automated welding.
Refuting preconceptions about automated welding
There is an adage: “learning by doing” and this is the same for the welder.
An welder needs hundreds of hours in order to have experience and dexterity and in most cases he will not be very happy when an automated welding equipment is set up in the company.
He will be worried and asking if a machine will replace his know-how, achieved over a long period. But this is not the case; a machine will always be a machine. It is not able to verify the welding cycle or to program a welding procedure. But the experienced welder can do this.
Decreasing the repetitive work of the manual welder
An orbital welding machine cannot replace the manual welder in the whole range of his competences; this is impossible in a technical and an economical way.
Orbital welding equipment can make the difference if the same welding configuration is repeated several times during a project and if the quality of the welding must be of a high level as for instance on gas pipelines in a desert that can have a length of several kilometres.
Of course, and experienced welder can carry out this work. But under these conditions it will be difficult for him to remain concentrated in a hostile environment (temperature, humidity, position, confined space) and this during long periods, which is inevitably tiring.
An orbital welding head does not get tired and is able to repeat all welds with the same level of regularity and quality.
So the manual welder is no longer needed in the welding industry?
Of course, the answer is no.
An enhanced know-how with the use of automated welding machines
Let us take a gas pipeline project in the desert with 80% of tube-tube welds and 20% of tube-accessory workpieces.
Here, the machine can produce in a continuous way 80 % of the welds whilst the welder will be in charge of the other operations where his manual know-how and his dexterity are needed.
According to the parameters an orbital welding machine can be used by operators according to the standard EN ISO 14732.
On the other hand manual welds and more sophisticated machines that need more defined settings will be operated by welders according to the standard EN ISO 9606-1 to 5.
You can be sure that manual welding will still have a bright future as automated welding equipment is only of interest if the four following conditions are given:
- A high production level (medium or large volumes)
- Same welding configurations repeated
- The need of high quality welds
- And a perfect repeatability of the result
If you only have small series of multiple configurations, the investment in an orbital welding machine is more questionable. An experienced welder with a manual welding equipment can be just as viable.
The investment of an automated orbital piece of equipment should help to increase the productivity and the quality level of simple and repetitive welding tasks, but this decision has to be taken by evaluating the welders and their experience. Don't hesitate to ask us for a free demonstration of our orbital solutions!