Written by arcmaster

Cost Justification for a Welding Cobot (or Robot)

When making an investment into automation, it is important to calculate your Return On Investment (ROI). The term ROI is a fancy way of saying how long it will take until this equipment makes me more money than it cost me. ROI can be calculated many ways and must meet different requirements for different companies, but below is a good start to cost justifying your purchase.

The first and easiest thing to calculate are direct cost savings. Direct costs are costs that can actually have a dollar value put on them. Purchasing agents love direct cost savings because they look great on paper. The most expensive direct cost in most welding jobs is labor: their hourly wage and the overhead associated with each worker. The overhead includes cost like bonuses, vacation time, holiday pay, sick days, insurance, HR cost, etc. The typical labor and overhead cost is three times the hourly wage of the employee meaning that a $20/hr employee actually cost the company $60/hr to have on staff. When robots are introduced, the very conservative numbers are that one welding robot will double the output of a manual welder, but in reality the production rate of a robot is typically triple that of a manual welder. The actual productivity of a robot can be calculated using a cycle time analysis formula. Contact Arc Solutions, Inc for a cycle time analysis on your parts if you are interested in working towards automation.

Consumables are another direct cost savings. Contact tips in robots will weld more parts than contact tips in manual applications. This is because the contact tip to work distance is more accurately maintained to create a smoother arc and less spatter. Weld cleanup and part rework is also reduced because the spatter is much more controlled and the robot is far more accurate than a human can be. As you well know, the cost of grinding wheels and labor associated with cleanup and rework is a number that adds up quickly and adds no value to the part. Over welding parts is a common human error also. Welders will error on the side of caution and create bigger welds than required when welding manually. With robotics the exact weld size is controlled so it speeds up travel speeds, lowers the amount of wire consumed, and uses less shielding gas all while increasing the quality of the weld.

Indirect cost savings are a little more difficult to put a number on. The biggest indirect savings from a robot is weld quality. Robots make perfectly consistent movements every time so you can be confident that the weld is the right size and in the right location. You can also be confident that welds didn’t get skipped over by human error. Weld spatter and wire stubs being cut off at the end of the torch are common when manual welding. However, with robotics this can be closely controlled and a higher percentage of the purchased wire actually becomes weld metal and not wasted material that needs swept up off of the floor.

In today’s market, no one is looking to get rid of employees, but instead the exact opposite is happening. Rather than hiring employees, the addition of cobots and robots allow you to free up and move existing employees to other jobs in the shop. On a similar topic, the employee training required as a robot operator is far less than that required as a welder. The pay scales of robot operators vs. manual welders reflect the necessary skills for the job as well with operators typically earning a lower hourly wage than welders. The one thing robots do require is someone with the proper training to program them. First time robot purchasers typically get free training for one person. The standard length of training is four (4) days. It is important that the robot programmer has some welding experience as well as being comfortable with computers. Cobots however are much less technical when it comes to programing. With the most recent programming methods being icon driven; a production welder who is comfortable with a smart phone can be programming the cobot on their own with only a few hours of training.

There are a few options for getting automation into your shop. The traditional way was a full purchase of the equipment from a number of integrators. Another option is rental or lease to own plans. These plans allow customers to get introduced to automation without having such a large upfront risk. Arc Solutions has rental plans available for both cobots and traditional robots. Our lease to own plan has a percentage of the lease price being applied towards the purchase price of the equipment if you choose to buy. We also offer financing options for customers who are looking to buy equipment.

Reach out to Arc Solutions, Inc. today if you would like to explore your automation options. We can be contacted by phone at 419-542-9272 or via email at

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Written by arcmaster

Welding Cobots – Are they worth the investment?

Traditional Robots Vs. Up and Coming Cobots

Automated welding in the manufacturing industry has always been most sought after for high volume, low mix weldments. Automation began as “hard automation” where a machine was built to do only 1 specific job and then evolved into “flexible automation”. Flexible automation as we know it today consist of multi-axis weld robots (typically 6 axis) that can be programmed through a teach pendant for hundreds of different jobs. The first of these programmable robots were developed in the 1960s and have advanced with technology ever since. Fully automated robots today move at lightning speeds to cut down on air move time, but require multilevel safety features including a full fence to keep humans protected. Cobots (collaborative robots) are now making their way into this automation scene because they are designed to collaborate (work alongside of) a human operator. Since the fencing has been eliminated, cobots take up a much smaller footprint. In fact, the Cooper™ Cobot option from Lincoln is on a wheeled cart so that it can be pushed anywhere its needed in the shop.

Why invest in a Cobot?

Cobots have brought an exciting new face to the world of robotic welding. The technology helps in many facets. Programming is now completed with a tablet instead of a traditional robotic teach pendant. This makes the device extremely user friendly and even more inviting for the younger generation. The programming side is icon driven and built around drag and drop techniques so it is very quick to learn. Even beyond that, the cobot can be programmed by physically moving it with your own hands to the desired location. Then you can hit one button to save the point, drag it to the next location, save the new point and so on. These features allow welders off the production floor to be taught to program in hours. With traditional robots, companies had to hire programmers who knew how to program a robot and how to weld. As those in the manufacturing business know, that is a difficult combination to find. With the ease of programming cobots, everyday welders can now teach cobots.

What companies offer cobots?

There are a handful of companies that currently offer welding cobots. The professionals at Arc Solutions, Inc. have chosen to team up with Lincoln Electric for collaborative robots. Lincoln Electric and Fanuc have a long standing history of working together for arc welding automation. Through decades of knowledge and know-how, the two companies have launched the Lincoln Cooper™ Cobot. This system is an off the shelf part number that utilizes Fanuc’s R30iB mini controller. Those with a background in automation know the R30iB controller and its power in the automation world. The controller chosen for the Guru package still contains the programming features that automation programmers have come to depend on. The companies believe so wholeheartedly in their own equipment that Fanuc is promoting 8 years zero maintenance on the arm and Lincoln offers a 3-year warranty on the welding power source.

Is a cobot right for everyone?

No, we don’t believe they are. Like everything else in life there are tradeoffs. To account for human safety, cobots move slower than traditional robots. This increases the air move time thus increasing cycle time when compared to a traditional robot. If you are looking to weld 100,000 of the same part every year for 5 years, then a traditional robot is still your ticket. However, if you are more job shop oriented and build 50 parts of multiple different items you should look into cobots. The amount of time you lose with slower air moves would easily be justified by the time savings of programming. A current downfall of cobots are lack of weld positioners. With traditional robotic weld cells part positioners are used to rotate the welds in the optimal orientation. Cobots cannot do that yet. Collaborative positioners have not been tied to collaborative robots yet, BUT the clock is ticking and the technology will soon follow to allow cobots and positioners to work in conjunction.

What kind of weld quality can I expect from a cobot?

Weld quality from robots and cobots is nearly impossible to beat. Once the weld parameters have been dialed in (which manual welders are typically skilled at doing), the welds are extremely consistent. Robots and cobots both go to the exact same location and travel the same speed every time. This eliminates weld quality issues due to operator fatigue or trying to rush a job. It also helps to eliminate spatter since all the variables remain constant. The Guru package has a built in software package that locks in the torch angle as well. This allows for the first weld point to be taught and the torch angle to remain consistent for the entire length of the weld. Software packages like Touch Sense can be purchased in addition. Touch sense uses the wire to go around and locate the orientation of the part if there are consistency issues. On thick plate there is a software called Through the Arc Seam Tracking (TAST) that uses voltage measurements to maintain the programmed path on joints such as T joints.

How does cobot pricing relate to traditional robotic cells?

Cobots and simple one or two station traditional robotic cells are priced very similar to one another. The dollars saved on safety gear like fencing and light curtains are now used in the technology to make the arm collaborative. The Fanuc CRX arm that the Lincoln cobot package offers has sensors in each of its 6 axes. These sensors are what stop the cobot arm immediately when it hits something in its path. If the cost of buying a cobot seems daunting, Arc Solutions offers a leasing/rental program. In fact, both cobots and traditional robots can be used on a rental or a lease-to-own program that helps take risk away from the purchaser.

Are there options to customize a cobot?

With the Guru cobot package there are all kinds of options. The system comes standard with a Powerwave R450 powersource and a Lincoln Magnum 550 amp gun. The gun can be upgraded to a 650 amp water cooled option. Additional options like fume extraction, fabrication tables, thick plate software which includes multipass software, touch sense software, and different length arms are available. The standard reach arm is 49 inches and the long reach arm goes out to 55 inches. This is measured from the center point of the robot. This means the reach is actually 49/55 inches in each direction from the center. Reach out to Arc Solutions Inc. for a full list of cobot options and arm lengths!Arc Solutions has a full technical staff well versed in the welding and cutting industry. Please feel free to call us at 419-542-9272 or email for sales and technical assistance.

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Written by arcmaster

What Are The Advantages Of Plasma Cutting Technology?

Metal cutting isn’t a job for the weak, but rather a job for the ambitious. Mechanical methods aren’t always the best option for cutting metal. In recent years, plasma cutting technology has grown to become the go-to for professionals, contractors, and DIYers across the United States.

But why? 

Introducing plasma cutting equipment into your fabrication process only enhances the final outcome. Unlike mechanical cutting, plasma cutting encompasses fine tuning precision qualities that promise a clean cut and even sharper edges. Read on for key advantages of plasma cutting technology and why you should consider this industry favorite if you’re not already. 

How A Plasma Cutter Works

Plasma is the fourth state of matter. The one our elementary science teachers most likely skipped over because nearly impossible to point out in plain sight. The fuel source for The Northern Lights and lightning, plasma makes up about 99% of the visible universe. 

So, how can plasma cut metal?

Plasma cutters take electronically conductive gas and transfer the energy from a power supply to any conductive material, which creates the clean, fast cuts that are so satisfying to make. 

The Advantages Of Plasma Cutting Technology

Plasma cutting tools are not only precise, as previously mentioned, but they are constantly evolving. Their most recent innovations make them cost-efficient and more accurate than ever before. Most fabrication operations can benefit from the advantages of plasma cutting technology. It’s simply a matter of finding what works best with your setup. 

Plays Nice With All Conductive Metals

Material compatibility is essential when investing in cutting equipment. Plasma cutting works on a variety of materials such as:

  • Copper
  • Titanium
  • Steel
  • Iron
  • Alloys

Hits Every Angle

Oddly satisfying, plasma cutting can cut any shape, angle, or curve. The beam of light is as smooth as putting pen to paper. This alone opens a realm of possibilities for taking on new projects.

Less Maintenance, Lower Costs

The experts at Arc Solutions swear by the value plasma cutting technology offers. They’re low maintenance and rarely require service. When the time does come for a routine tune up, we have techs on standby ready to get you back up and running.

Keep Up With Demand With Plasma Cutting Tools

Fabrication professionals across the country rely on plasma cutting technology to keep up with increasing demand. Not only is it easy to implement into existing workflows, but it expands potential for taking on a wider variety of projects that require precision cutting. Tackle any curve, angle, or metal with reliable plasma cutting. 

High Quality Equipment That Makes The Cut

If you have questions about how to select the right plasma cutter for your project, Arc Solutions is here to help. We bring over 100 years of experience to the table to get you the best product for the best deal. Shop our inventory of plasma cutters today or contact us directly to talk to a local expert.  

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Written by arcmaster

Why You Should Be Automating Your Welding Process

There’s no question that the employment crisis of 2021 is impacting every industry on the market - including finding professional welders. 

 Many manufacturers are seeing the crisis as just that, a crisis. In all reality, they should be viewing this as an opportunity to automate day-to-day welding processes that ultimately boost production levels and keep costs down. 

In other words, the “labor shortage” is actually just an opened door to make a strategic business move that moves the needle for years to come. 

With all of that said, is automation the right solution for today’s market? There are many benefits of automated welding. It eliminates the need to interview, hire, and train new employees because it all comes down to a one-time programming session that provides high quality results without sacrificing time and budget.

This article highlights why welding automation is critical. But first, it’s important to understand 

What Is Welding Automation? 

Over the last 20  years, Arc Solutions has passed down the best welding techniques to make every project a success. While manual welding capabilities is an admirable trade, the demand for such a skill has outgrown the number of skilled workers willing to do it, thus forcing technology improvements. As a result, our extensive inventory of welding equipment and machine repair services have also adapted to serve the needs of today’s modern market - especially when it comes to automated welding equipment.

But what does it mean to automate welding processes in the first place? 

Also known as robotic welding, automated welding equipment introduces a game-changing advantage to your manufacturing process. With just one specialized machine, you streamline the workload of several employees. Job turnaround time is cut in half and the risk of human error is completely eradicated. Welding automation is a lot more than fancy equipment. The benefits of upgrading your resources goes far beyond the shop and drastically improves the final product. 

The Benefits Of Automated Welding

Any manufacturing plant or contractor looking to profit from streamlined production should consider automated welding equipment. After all, who wouldn’t want to simplify this complex process? If you’re unsure about whether automated welding can benefit your business, keep the following points in mind: 

Unparalleled Product Quality

Incorporating robotic welding equipment into the mix enhances the integrity in which your welded products are made. Manual welding is limited when it comes to quality control. This is because welds can only be made once and any mistakes made along the way are easily noticed. With the help of automated processes, potential mistakes like these are reduced, resulting in a much more superior product than traditional manual welding can accomplish.

Enhance Project Capacity

Humans can only take on so much work. We have capacities that are quickly exhausted and regulated by work breaks, shifts, and general productivity levels. In other words, automated welding equipment surpasses the capabilities of manual welding because our tools don’t need to clock out for a lunch break. Streamlining your production with robotic welding equipment keeps everything moving consistently while simultaneously empowering your bandwidth to take on more projects.

Reduced Production Costs

Automated welding not only enables higher project capacity, but has shorter cycle times. As a result, the cost to complete projects is minimized. This goes hand in hand with condensing the amount of mistakes that are made during a weld. Robotic welding is designed to decrease fatigue induced errors - ultimately cutting back on the amount of material needed to finish the job correctly

Safer Working Environments

It goes without saying, but a work environment is always safer when less people are on the floor. Robotic welding arms and tools require supervision to a certain degree, but are programmed to weld on their own. Manufacturing plants also benefit from not needing the protective welding gear like goggles and gloves to keep employees out of harm’s way. 

Robotic Welding: The Key To Efficient Manufacturing

Despite the labor shortage the media keeps putting in our faces, there are upsides to less people working. Manufacturing plants, contractors, and DIYers can all benefit from robotic welding equipment in more ways than one. Not only does automated welding give you optimal control over product quality, but using robotic welding machines keeps costs low, uses less scrap, and cuts back on the need for providing protective welding gear. 

Purchase Your Automated Welding Equipment Today

Any smart business owner can argue the benefits of automatic welding. Arc Solutions is on standby to answer your questions and help find the right solution for your welding needs. We’ve been doing this for a long time and are experts in showing our customers the best tools to refine production and upgrade performance. 

Talk to a local team member today to get started. 

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