The welding industry has been consistently growing over the years. As the demand for welding services increases, more and more shops are turning to automation. Are you one of them? Then here are some best practices for welding automation.
1. Start simple and cautiously
If you just recently introduced automation in your weld shop or is still on the planning stage, you need to take it one step at a time, and small, careful steps. Welding automation is a form of investment for businesses. And like any other new investments, test the waters first before going all in. See what your weld shop needs – partial automation with welding manipulators or full automation with robots.
Let your workers learn and adjust to the new additions. Identify room for improvement and potential risks and find the right solutions. Introducing new equipment and processes in your weld shop should be done incrementally.
2. Identify key cost drivers
Identifying the key cost drivers in your operations is important to fully enhance the overall production process. Conduct detailed cost analysis of both fixed and variable costs and take into consideration the following:
- How much it cost to produce a certain part/output
- The total time spent on a project
- Cost of equipment maintenance
- Cost of lost productivity when a piece of equipment is down.
The information you can gather from this analysis allows you to form a more cohesive strategy, focusing your attention to the more important factors in your shop and reducing non-value added activities. Understanding the key cost drivers in your weld shop lets you adjust your processes accordingly to fully maximize your resources and achieve greater productivity.
3. Ensure Good Ergonomics
Like other businesses in the manufacturing industry, the welding sector is exposed to various hazards typical of such workspaces. Ergonomics is a factor that should always be taken into consideration when managing a weld shop.
Here are a few ways to control the work environment in your shop:
- Establish a regular maintenance schedule and strictly adhere to it
- Make sure your automated welding equipment remain accurate and repeatable
- Ensure all welders had proper training before joining the operations
Check out this blog post on welding hazards for more tips!
4. Select Appropriate Welding Equipment and Process
Different projects or circumstances may require certain welding processes and specific materials or equipment. For example, pipe welding and other large scale tasks require a process and equipment capable of putting out high-strength welds.
Having the perfect automation equipment is also a must. Choose the equipment that can provide as much efficiency as your shop may need. If going for a welding manipulator, a piece of more portable, more capable, and more flexible equipment would be a perfect choice. See ArcBoss’ welding manipulators for valuable options.
Sometimes, there’s no single welding manipulator or automation unit that can fit a very complex project requirement. Good thing automation can also be customized! Find the right supplier who can offer the perfect custom welding automation solution your weld shop needs.
5. Adapt to any changes accordingly
The manufacturing industry is ever-evolving. New trends and methods constantly. As a business trying to stay competitive in the market, operators must stay updated with these innovations and always adapt accordingly.
To remain competitive and to continuously improve, companies should recognize the need to invest in personnel training and materials and equipment acquisition and maintenance. This might require operators to try new things, the benefit per cost ratio can determine if it’s worth a shot.
You can spend a lot of time, effort and resources to streamline a better process that maximizes productivity and efficiency in your weld shop, but don’t forget the next steps – backing up the strategies with actual actions and continuous improvement plan.
Planning to introduce automation to your shop? Reach out to us and talk with a representative regarding our products and custom solutions.