Preventative Maintenance Tips for Welding Automation

Sep 21, 2017

​Just like any large machine, routine maintenance and care will help the system up and running smoothly. Proper maintenance for welding automation will ensure the system achieves maximum up-time, life expectancy, and fast ROI. There are a few tips to follow to ensure proper welding maintenance occurs.


Rou­tine main­te­nance will keep your robot­ic weld­ing cell sys­tem run­ning at peak per­for­mance. It will help ensure your sys­tem achieves max­i­mum up-time, life expectan­cy, and return on invest­ment. Here are some guide­lines and tips to help achieve the best results.

Robot and Con­troller Dai­ly Main­te­nance Tips

1. Begin each day or shift with a visu­al once-over of the weld­ing cell to inspect the over­all health of the robot­ic system.

2. In weld­ing cells, hoses, wires, and pro­tec­tive coat­ings of elec­tri­cal wires are exposed to UV light and will break down and crack over time. Be on the look­out for signs of loose or bro­ken fit­tings or dam­aged hoses/​hard tub­ing, such as any vis­i­ble liq­uids on the floor or equip­ment. If you would like to proac­tive­ly pre­vent this prob­lem, fab­ric cov­ers can be pur­chased to extend the life with­out restrict­ing movement.

3. Air and hydraulic clamps can be degrad­ed or destroyed by the buildup of spat­ter. There is also a risk of splat­ter or slag, if plas­ma cut­ting, or burn­ing a hole through the tub­ing in the clamps, caus­ing a pos­si­ble fire haz­ard. When hydraulic tool­ing is under high pres­sure, it is good to be extra care­ful; the tini­est pin­hole under pres­sure can cause a lot of dam­age to the sur­round­ing area if ignit­ed. To be proac­tive with this issue, you may want to con­sid­er a hydraulic flu­id that is more fire resistant.

4. The hard­ware on the robot and sur­round­ing tool­ing needs to be inspect­ed for signs of loose or miss­ing bolts. All safe­ty cov­ers should also be in place and visu­al­ly not­ed and ver­i­fied. A sight glass to help iden­ti­fy flu­id lev­el and col­or for the robot gear­box oil is also be help­ful for a quick safe­ty check. The inspec­tor should check for flu­id lev­el (poten­tial leak iden­ti­fi­ca­tion) and dark­er col­or (high heat or con­t­a­m­i­na­tion). Robots and flu­ids are typ­i­cal­ly designed for max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures of 45 degrees. Oper­at­ing at high­er tem­per­a­tures than this will mean the grease degrades faster and will show signs of this by chang­ing color.

5. Air leaks will present them­selves through sounds. If you hear the sound of an air leak, it could be an air­line with a burn hole or a fit­ting that has worked its way loose.

6. It is also ben­e­fi­cial to try to pay atten­tion to the sounds of your equip­ment while they are run­ning. Grind­ing nois­es or awk­ward vibra­tions could be a sign of a mechan­i­cal problem.

7. A final item rec­om­mend­ed to inspect dai­ly is the robot mas­ter posi­tion and cor­re­spond­ing user tool val­ues. This helps ensure all items are prop­er­ly locat­ed and accu­rate before begin­ning pro­duc­tion for the day.

Robot and Con­troller Inter­val Main­te­nance Tips

Some items should be checked based on the amount of time it has been run­ning or a set peri­od of time. 

1. These items include: check­ing the grease of robot and posi­tion­er gear­box­es, look­ing at the col­or and lev­el of grease, and bat­tery replace­ment (where used) on a reg­u­lar, typ­i­cal­ly a year­ly, basis.

2. The robot con­trol cab­i­net should be cleaned; the fans and fan ducts should also be free of debris. If the loca­tion of the sys­tem is close to cut­ting and grind­ing oper­a­tions, make sure air­borne con­t­a­m­i­nants don’t get inside the con­troller and the exposed cir­cuit boards. Any unwant­ed dust or oil could lead to a short or poten­tial­ly even a fire.

3. To wrap up the rou­tine, inter­val main­te­nance, back up the robot­ic soft­ware reg­u­lar­ly. As tech­nol­o­gy con­tin­ues to advance, it is impor­tant to stay on top of pro­gram­ming tech­niques to help the robot return to pro­duc­tion in a much short­er time frame.

Weld­ing Equip­ment Main­te­nance Tips

The oth­er weld­ing equip­ment in the cell is imper­a­tive to fur­ther sup­port the robot and con­troller; so these items are also good things to check on a reg­u­lar basis. 

1. Check the cable con­di­tion with a spe­cial focus on the con­nec­tion points. Loose con­nec­tion points or cable strands can affect the over­all weld­ing per­for­mance and could cause cables to gen­er­ate more heat.

2. Rotary grounds should be prop­er­ly lubri­cat­ed with con­duc­tive grease.

3. Ensure the cool­ing sys­tem for the pow­er sup­ply and weld­ing torch is clean and able to exchange heat effi­cient­ly. When using a water cool­er for weld­ing, ver­i­fy the clar­i­ty and flu­id lev­els of the water or cool­ing flu­id. If these items aren’t done, algae can grow which would decrease the over­all cool­ing per­for­mance and lifes­pan of the system.

4. When a shield­ing gas is used in weld­ing appli­ca­tions, it is excel­lent prac­tice to check all gas con­nec­tions and fit­tings for leaks and also val­i­date pres­sure and flow.

5. The con­sum­ables would be the last items on the check­list for the weld­ing equip­ment, gen­er­al rec­om­men­da­tions as to when to change con­sum­ables is avail­able through the weld­ing equip­ment sup­pli­er. This includes wire guide rolls, wire deliv­ery sys­tems, torch lin­ers, tips, noz­zles, and dif­fusers. The usage, con­di­tion, and fre­quen­cy of when they need to be addressed will vary.

Fur­ther­more, we expect to see the quick­ly advanc­ing tech­nol­o­gy and incor­po­ra­tion of the Inter­net of Things into automa­tion solu­tions help with pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance solu­tions as well. Through the use of var­i­ous algo­rithms, trend analy­sis, and data col­lec­tion, com­put­ers should be able to close­ly pre­dict when equip­ment needs attention. 

Con­tact Robots​.com Experts Today

Once you adopt a rou­tine for inspect­ing a weld­ing cell you can expect your invest­ment to stay at the qual­i­ty you expect. It will tru­ly cre­ate the longest pos­si­ble life span for your equipment.

Robots​.com experts are ready to help inte­grate a robot­ic sys­tem onto your pro­duc­tion line and pro­vide you with the tools nec­es­sary to set it up and run it to its max­i­mum poten­tial. Con­tact the experts today online or at 8777626881.

Source of infor­ma­tion from: http://​weld​ing​pro​duc​tiv​i​ty​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​r​o​b​o​t​-​u​p​keep/

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