Robotic Welding: Process Optimization with IIoT
The future of manufacturing is connectivity. It’s only a matter of time until high-connectivity devices become mainstream in the manufacturing sector, and for good reason. The industrial internet of things (IIoT) – or in other words, a highly-connected environment where devices can communicate with each other, operators and business owners – presents numerous opportunities for optimization and productivity, particularly where robotic welding ROI is concerned.
Some of the most forward-thinking manufacturers, such as GM (coincidentally the first to implement robotic automation in the 1960s) have already made huge strides in this field.
What are the benefits of this technology? How does it help manufacturers today?
The Limitations of Manual Welding
Before we discuss IIoT, it helps to understand the limitations of manual welding. With manual processes, gaining insight that can help improve welding operations is limited. While high level statistics such as overall throughput may very well be known, it can be extremely difficult to see on a granular level what’s happening during welding.
The problem with this lack of visibility is that it’s a roadblock to ongoing process optimization. If you can’t assess and understand what the problem is, how can you adequately address it? The inherent connectivity and data collection capabilities of a robotic welding cell presents opportunities for data collection, process optimization and IIoT connection that manual welding simply cannot offer.
Connectivity in Robotic Welding
Monitoring robotic weld data can be completed through integration with the power source or via a third party. Either way, detailed data collection allows companies to monitor individual welds, identify the causes of weld defects, and begin to understand broader inefficiencies and how to solve problems within welding processes.
Robotic welding data monitoring also enables IIoT connectivity, which in turn enables a wide range of other process optimization capabilities. For example, a robotic welding cell with IIoT connectivity informs you when maintenance is needed, allowing timely repairs that can reduce downtime. A more technologically sophisticated example is IIoT connectivity that enables machine learning, allowing robots to fix small variations and inconsistencies in their processes without interrupting uptime.
Essentially, IIoT connectivity allows for a more holistic view of production and how robotic welding processes fit within the flow of products, materials and overall revenue generation.
IIoT is the future of manufacturing. It presents tremendous opportunities for manufacturers to take productivity to new levels and become more competitive on a global scale. Without the sophisticated data collection and interconnectivity capabilities robotic welding offers, manual processes may become a productivity roadblock soon, especially for large weldments and those requiring high repeatability. Robotic welding, on the other hand, is inherently connected and can be equipped to provide in-depth weld data that can be leveraged to optimize processes.
Robotic welding helps manufacturers realize ROI with IIoT connectivity capabilities, providing sophisticated data to optimize welding, and a gateway to smarter production across the entire production operation.
Robotic Welding: How Manufacturers Find ROI, Series Conclusion
In this series, we cover how robotic welding reduces rework and material usage; improves uptime and efficiency; solves safety and labor issues; and enables IIoT connectivity for process optimization. By realizing ROI with robotic welding, manufacturers can achieve production and product quality enhancements that keep them competitive in the ever-expanding global marketplace.
ROI is a key consideration for implementing welding automation. We hope this blog series has helped you to see the benefits of robotic welding for small and large manufacturers. Please feel free to reach out to Genesis Systems with your robotic welding issues and questions.
Read all earlier parts of our Robotic Welding Series: How Manufacturers Find ROI: