ESAB has introduced its first cobot, or collaborative robot, for MIG and pulsed MIG welding applications on steel, stainless steel and aluminum alloys.
Unlike the programming pendants of other cobots, the ESAB Cobot enables operators to teach welding paths using a software app that runs on a standard smart phone or tablet (Apple iOS or Android) and a “Smart Puck” to hand-guide the torch and record its position with the push of a button. The ESAB Cobot costs a fraction of a pre-engineered robot cell, does not require a programmer and deploys in a matter of hours.
“The ESAB Cobot gives small- and medium-sized fabricators the freedom to automate high-mix, low-volume applications while improving productivity 200 to 400 per cent,” says Olivier Biebuyck, President, Fabrication Technology, ESAB Corporation. “With its intuitive operation, we have revolutionized automated welding while addressing the industry’s foremost issues: improving productivity and finding more workers. Using an ESAB Cobot, fabricators can weld more parts without adding staff, improve quality and free their skilled welders to concentrate on other value-driven tasks.”
The ESAB Cobot features a Universal Robots UR10e industrial robot arm. UR is the automation industry’s leading provider of cobots and has an installed base of more than 50,000 cobots. Welding components include ESAB’s heavy industrial welding system, the Aristo 500ix pulse power source, the RobustFeed U82 wire feeder, an air- or water-cooled torch and accessories.
A Siegmund 32- x 48-in. welding table organizes components and enables moving the cobot around a shop. The entire package ships on a pallet typically within two to three weeks of ordering from a distributor. Setup takes a few hours following step-by-step instructions accessed with a QR code. If a user has the skills to set up an industrial MIG system, they can start automated welding with the ESAB Cobot, the company says.
The cloud-connected ESAB software app offers in-app support from a team of experts that responds to inquiries in two-minutes or less, as well as access to knowledge articles and an extensive list of tutorials. The app automatically stores weld sequences, enabling them to be recalled even if they are deleted from a device. Users can add charts to track production data and consumables use, as well as share part programs between cobots.
The software app’s basic plan is free. A “pro plan” extends chart visibility from seven to 30 days and enables users to export chart data. It also enables additional features, such as requiring a password login and attaching photos and files to a part (such as photos showing part location on the table or a PDF of welding procedures).