The Importance of Understanding your Swannecks

May 20, 2018

When understanding your complete welding operation, it is important to put these best practices and knowledge bits into action. The correct swanneck will ensure the torch neck will provide the repeatability necessary for optimal product quality.

Robot welding torch

Swan­necks are an impor­tant ele­ment to pay atten­tion to in order to pro­vide opti­mal repeata­bil­i­ty and con­sis­tent prod­uct qual­i­ty to your pro­duc­tion line​.To bet­ter under­stand the dura­bil­i­ty of a robot­ic torch and swan­neck it is impor­tant to under­stand the weak and wear points, con­struc­tion, tip hold­ers and dif­fusers, mate­ri­als, and wire liners. 

Key­ing of the Swanneck

Two key­ways locat­ed on the front mod­ule of the robot torch has ram­i­fi­ca­tions to the torch neck’s repeatability.

For instance, if the soft key­way is on the front mod­ule of the robot torch then the integri­ty of the front mod­ule erodes the swan­necks dura­bil­i­ty, and the swan­neck will begin to lose its tool cen­ter point.

The hard key­ways cause rota­tion­al move­ment and wear in the neck and should ide­al­ly be built into the torch module.

Soft Key vs. Hard Key Welding Torch Tips

Pic­ture Cred­it: The Defin­i­tive Guide to Robot­ic Weld­ing Torch­es by Abi­cor Binzel


It is also impor­tant to under­stand the con­struc­tion of the swan­neck when choos­ing a robot torch. A sin­gle piece of con­struc­tion of the swan­neck is going to be stur­dier than swan­necks man­u­fac­tured from mul­ti­ple components. 

In order to have high­er up-time, through­put, and ROI, it is impor­tant that when you remove a swan­neck and replace it, you want to main­tain a true tool cen­ter point (TCP) and not have to con­tin­u­ous­ly touch up your robot to account for TCP variance.

Tip Hold­ers and Diffusers

Tip hold­ers are the inter­face between the swan­neck and the con­tact tip and are an impor­tant piece to under­stand. Torch mak­ers have dif­fer­ent ways to con­struct tip hold­ers and diffusers. 

Some use a sin­gle piece con­struc­tion by com­bin­ing the dif­fuser and the tip hold­er into a sin­gle com­po­nent. This offers bet­ter con­duc­tiv­i­ty in the piece and greater shield­ing gas cov­er­age than with two thread­ed pieces. Some pro­pose that because it is a sin­gle piece con­struc­tion of a long, cop­per mate­r­i­al there is an increase for bend­ing at the piece, caus­ing mis­align­ment of the con­tact tip, wire, and joint. How­ev­er, a short­er con­tact tip hold­er won’t expe­ri­ence these prob­lems because the bend-abil­i­ty is almost nonexistent. 

They also can make them into sep­a­rate pieces and man­u­fac­ture the gas dif­fuser as a sin­gle piece con­duc­tor tube.

The dif­fuser will per­form bet­ter in crash­es and help main­tain the Tool Cen­ter Point if there is a col­li­sion when it sits inside the swan­neck end and is sup­port­ed against the out­er tube of the swan­neck. If there are a larg­er num­ber of big bores then the dis­tri­b­u­tion and resis­tance to spat­ter will be higher. 

Mate­r­i­al Choices

Dif­fusers and tip hold­ers typ­i­cal­ly uti­lize brass or cop­per as their main build material. 

  • Cop­per is a soft­er met­al; it wears quick­ly but it will achieve good con­duc­tiv­i­ty into the con­tact tip. 
  • Brass will resist wear­ing as it is a hard­er met­al but there will be some sac­ri­fice in conductivity.

Even under­stand­ing the type of tip used in rela­tion to the dif­fuser is impor­tant. A con­tact tip made from sil­ver plate or pure elec­trolyte cop­per will pro­vide the most from a brass dif­fuser; how­ev­er, a con­tact tip made from cop­per zir­co­ni­um would be best used with a cop­per dif­fuser as the cur­rent will pro­vide a bet­ter trans­fer to the tip.

Wire Lin­ers

A typ­i­cal wire lin­er will start from the wire feed­er and go all the way up to the con­tact tip. There are two dif­fer­ent pop­u­lar lin­ers that are used: neck lin­ers and front load liners. 

  • Neck lin­ers (also known as jump) are easy to use lin­ers that save time and mate­r­i­al cost in the replace­ment and main­te­nance of lin­ers. These lin­ers start at the torch body and trav­el all the way to the con­tact tip. Jump lin­ers are cost sav­ing mate­ri­als to have on hand because they pro­tect against a lin­ers’ weak­est point which is on the torch body itself. Jump lin­ers can be quick­ly switched enabling pro­duc­tion to continue.
  • Front load lin­ers use mechan­i­cal springs that don’t always per­form prop­er­ly. They are easy to install so they do pro­vide con­ve­nience and time sav­ings, but it is impor­tant to make sure they are the right length and cor­rect­ly installed on the spring.

Lin­er Material

Lin­er mate­r­i­al is anoth­er impor­tant choice to make. These can be heli­cal ver­sus a flat design and steel or metal­lic ver­sus plas­tic in mate­r­i­al. Flat lin­ers are not as flexible. 

It is extreme­ly impor­tant to choose the right diam­e­ter as well; an over­sized lin­er can have too much area around your wire and cause bird nest­ing and mis-feed­ing. Ensure that the lin­er size is matched to the wire size for opti­mal results. 

Con­tact Robots​.com

As you can see, there is an abun­dance of infor­ma­tion avail­able on swan­necks, dif­fusers, and tip hold­ers. For any ques­tions or for more infor­ma­tion con­tact the experts at Robots​.com online or at 8777626881.

Source: https://​cdn2​.hub​spot​.net/​hubfs…

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