Safe and fast: nanoScan3 makes Cobot welding even more efficient
The company Lorch Schweißtechnik has developed a new Cobot solution for TIG welding. The handy and mobile Cobot allows companies to weld even smaller batches of particularly challenging components with the utmost speed, reliability, and TIG quality. The speed, in particular, can be attributed to the integrated safety concept and installed nanoScan3. This application provides a good example of just how much of a direct effect a highly intelligent safety sensor technology can have on efficiency.
Powerful partners – Cobots and the Lorch Welding Package
Lorch Schweißtechnik GmbH is continuously setting new technological standards in the market. This is also clearly evident in the electric arc welding systems that it manufacturers for industrial applications as well as for use in collaborative robot systems. Lorch has established itself as the leader in this area in recent years. Collaborative robots, so-called Cobots, are characterized by their exceptional price-performance ratio and ease of use as well as by their outstanding versatility across a wide range of applications. Their special feature is that they can perform their tasks in the immediate vicinity of workers. Ensuring a safe and injury-free collaboration between humans and robots is particularly challenging. With its latest Cobot application, Lorch is now extending this quantum leap to the field of TIG welding. Lorch’s solution comprises a UR 10 Cobot, a welding system including high-performance torch, suitable software, additional accessories, and a sophisticated safety package incorporating the nanoScan3 from SICK. The tried-and-proven MIG-MAG version of the UR 10 Cobot is already being used for the fast and efficient series production of small and medium batches, and is being employed with great success by its users. Lorch has now further optimized the system for the demanding application of TIG welding.
Simple learning of perfection
The Cobot solution from Lorch can be used to perform welding tasks on thin sheets with and without filler metal. For welding applications that require the use of filler metal, an optional automated cold wire feeder can be integrated into the Cobot Welding Package. This option provides a quick and effective way of reliably delivering the filler metal during the welding process. To increase the speed of TIG welding, the system is equipped with a high-frequency pulse process operating at 20 kHz. The torch holder also guarantees a reproducible track accuracy.
The Lorch Cobotronic software used to control the Cobot is intuitive to use and can therefore be operated without any special programming skills. The welding Cobot learns the exact path of the weld seam by means of a so-called “teach-in”. During this process, a Free Drive function, which is attached in the ideal ergonomic position directly at the torch holder in the TIG solution, guides the torch to the various waypoints such as the start and end point. Once set up, the Cobot welds each product in the batch with consistent quality and absolute perfection.
Hand in hand – safety thanks to competent partners
The collaboration of humans and robots poses risks. This is where SICK and its special expertise as a partner comes into play. The integrated safety concept is an important component of Lorch’s Cobot solution. The nanoScan3 safety laser scanner monitors the work area with a protective field at a distance of 1.5 m from the work surface as well as an additional warning field at a distance of 0.5 m, thereby guaranteeing the highest level of safety for users. On entering the activated warning field, the operator is warned with an acoustic signal and the Cobot reduces its speed. If the operator reaches the protective field, the Cobot immediately executes an emergency stop. This prevents any collisions between the operator and the system during the welding process. Depending on the size of the workstation, the monitored area can be expanded by installing a second scanner. Another benefit: The new safety concept ensures an extremely high transfer speed between the individual points of the weld seam. This significantly boosts the productivity of the system, especially for jobs that involve a large number of small welds or even tack welds.
This benefit is also emphasized by Paul Spronken, Head of Automation Solutions at Lorch Schweißtechnik: “Lorch’s latest Cobot edition enables companies to substantially increase the productivity of their TIG welding operations. Thanks to the easy-to-use system, the Cobot edition can not only weld small to medium batch sizes significantly faster but also guarantees a consistently high welding quality.”
Lorch and SICK are working hand in hand to make this possible, thereby ensuring that the increased speed becomes a measure for improved efficiency as well. And as evidence of a successful partnership that is throwing the door to the future of collaborative systems wide open.