Should your fab shop adopt robotic welding?

July 13, 2023
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Case studies of successful robotic welding adoption

Company A's transition to robotic welding

Company A, a medium-sized fab shop, was facing escalating production costs and quality control issues during the 2020 pandemic. They decided to invest in robotic welding technology and found immediate improvements. With the help of robots, they accomplished a 40% increase in part fabrication rates and a staggering 60% reduction in scrappage. Combined, these changes made a significant contribution to their bottom line and quickly covered the initial investment costs.

How company B improved consistency with robots

Company B, a large fab shop, struggled with consistency in its manual welding process. Having a large team of welders with different levels of skill and experience meant that they struggled to ensure a consistent level of finish. They implemented robotic welding systems, using a six-axis robot with a high level of repeatability and experienced a significant transformation. Through automation, they achieved not only a 20% reduction in production time but managed to ensure a uniform weld quality across all their products. Consequently, Company B strengthened its market presence and established itself as an industry leader.

Making the decision: Is robotic welding right for your shop?

Now that we’ve covered the benefits, challenges and industry experiences of automating welding in your fabrication shop, here are a few considerations to help you decide whether this technology is right for your shop.

Evaluating your shop's needs and capabilities

Before making a decision, it is essential to analyze your fab shop's specific needs and capabilities. Assess factors such as production volume, product complexity, and labor costs. Determine if your shop can benefit significantly from the increased productivity, improved quality, and enhanced safety that robotic welding offers. Understanding your shop's unique circumstances will help you make an informed choice. 

It’s also worth paying attention to the physical environment of your shop. Do you have the space for multiple robots to operate? Do they need to operate in close proximity with humans? These factors can affect the total initial investment size required to ready your shop floor for automation.

Calculating the potential return on investment

While the upfront costs may seem staggering, calculating the potential return on investment (ROI) can paint a clearer picture. Evaluate factors such as increased production output, labor cost savings, reduced rework, and improved customer satisfaction. By quantifying the potential benefits against the investment required, you can better assess the financial viability of adopting robotic welding in your fab shop.

Considering the future of the welding industry

Lastly, it's crucial to consider the future trends and developments in the welding industry. Robotic welding technology is continually advancing, offering even greater capabilities and opportunities for fab shops. At the same time, US welder shortages mean the industry is facing some of the greatest supply shocks in recent history. By embracing this technology early on, your fab shop can position itself as an industry pioneer, ready to adapt to the changing demands of the market, handle increasing levels of demand and secure long-term success.

The decision to adopt robotic welding in your fab shop is not one to be taken lightly. Understanding the fundamental aspects of this technology, as well as the potential benefits and challenges, is vital for making an informed choice. By studying real-life case studies and thoroughly evaluating your shop's needs and capabilities, you can determine whether robotic welding is the transformative step your fab shop needs to take.

Next steps

Interested in bringing robotic machining to your own business? RO1 by Standard Bots is the best choice for machine shops large and small:

  1. Affordable: RO1 is the most affordable robotic arm in its class, starting at almost half the price of incumbent competitors. 
  2. Powerful: RO1 is faster and more precise than competitors, despite having the highest payload capacity in its class at 18 kg.
  3. Integrated: RO1 comes equipped with built-in relays to control almost any machine on the market, including plug-and-play support for Haas CNC milling machines.

Speak to our solutions team today to organize a free, 30-day onsite trial and get expert advice on everything you need to deploy your first robot.

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