Welding Robots Need Their Humans

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Robotic welding may be an automated process, but every machine still needs an operator, especially if the “automated” machine needs its parameters to be set.

Robotic pipe welding with a human touch

Keeping the operator involved in the act of automating pipe welding

By Carl Heinrich
September 1, 2009

Automation has emerged as an alternative to manual welding, but these robotic and fixed automation technologies tend to work for specific applications, rather than general pipe fabricating. Automation coupled with the flexibility of a human operator during the welding process, however, represents a new alternative for those companies looking to squeeze more productivity out of the pipe fabricating process.

pipe-welders-spool-drawingsWhen it comes to welding pipe, a welder has to be highly skilled and prepared for many variables. No two jobs are exactly alike, even when they are somewhat similar.

The welder has to be skilled enough to perform code-quality, multiple-pass welding and be experienced enough to recognize when the weld joint will require modifications in technique and parameters to achieve success. In some instances, the welder has to be strong enough to work in unusual positions over large and awkward part configurations and be flexible enough to accommodate inconsistent fit-ups and endless varieties of fittings.

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