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8 February 2022

Evaluating the effectiveness of a robotic solution

How much cheaper and more productive are robots compared to manual labor?
yaskawa industrial robot
Arc Time: manual welding vs robotic welding
There are several indicators that are generally recognized in the industry. One of them is Arc Time – the time interval during which an arc is maintained in the making of an arc weld. The indicator is calculated as a percentage, and this is the share of the most efficient production time – that is, the welding itself. Non-Arc Time accounts for various preparatory operations, loading parts for example. Even the most efficient productions can't bring Arc Time to 100% (additional processes cannot be fully avoided).

It is believed that the average Arc Time of a person is 10-30%. Meaning, 70-90% of the time your welder is engaged not in welding, but in some other tasks.

In serial production with robots, it is possible to bring your Arc Time to 90%. In non-serial production with a wide list of different products, ABAGY raises the Arc Time of robotic welding to 50-80%, which is 4-5 times more efficient than that of a human. To make it simple, you can assume that one robotic cell can replace 5 welders in production.

These data are confirmed by not only our clients' numbers, but also those of other companies that are engaged in robotization of production.
What other advantages does robotic welding provide?
Let's quote one of our clients – VSM. This company produces bridge structures, and it's been using Abagy for about 2 years now. Evgeny Pashan, Chief Welder at VSM:
"Aside from direct comparison, we must take quality and replicability of the result into account. When work is done manually, everything depends on how good a welder is. You can have a good welder in the first shift, a mediocre one in the second, and a beginner in the third. Robots allow you to never worry about these possibilities again. A robot maintains the exact same quality during the entire period of its operation."

In addition to consistent high quality production, robotic welding also saves you money in the following areas:

  • 10% on wire (robots use the precise length of wire needed, while a person often uses a bit more than necessary)
  • 10% on gas (robots are also more accurate in gas consumption)
  • 30% on grinding welds after finishing welding (after robotic welding, grinding either is not needed at all, or the need is significantly less)

ABAGY also saves you money on assembly defects. To make our solution adaptive, we use machine vision which scans parts before welding, comparing them to their perfect 3D models. After scanning a part, the operator of the robotic cell sees all its deviations. If these deviations don't meet the standards accepted at the enterprise, the operator either marks the part as defective, or sends it for an adjustment. This way, unnecessary welding is avoided. Moreover, even more losses are avoided that could've happened later – when painting a defective part or worse, after sending it to the end client. In other words, it provides additional quality control.
scanning a part during the robotic welding

Benefits: customer case in bridge manufacturing

Other benefits:
Savings on gas
arc time for this CASE STUDY:
Additional savings on assembly defects checked by the scanner before welding, which results in saving on defects and rework required
Savings on wire
Savings on grinding after robotic welding
Robotic welding
Manual welding
Calculating the effectiveness of robots for your production
The cost of robotics consists of several main components:
– Equipment (robots, welding equipment, security systems, etc.).
– Equipment installation
– Software licenses

The most expensive component is the equipment itself. Its configuration depends on your products and needs.

The first step is to determine the list of products that you would like to weld with robots. This can be a large group of similarly sized products. The size of the products in this list will tell what kind of a working zone is needed for your robotic cell. With ABAGY, you can weld any products that fit into the working zone. Our customers weld dozens and even hundreds of different types of parts in one cell.

The second step is to decide what your goals are. For example, if your goal is to significantly increase your throughput, it is better to consider installing a cell with several robots.

Knowing the number of welds in the selected list of products, and the required welding parameters for them, you will understand the total length of all welds or total number of each product types you can get in a given period of time using robots. In other words, you will be able to predict the production cycle.

From the experience of our clients, we can say that a meter of weld or one product are 2-4 times cheaper with robots. Therefore, your robotic system will likely pay for itself within 1-2 years.

Robotic welding

within 1-2 years
4x more productive than manual labor
2-4x cheaper than manual labor
Here are some examples of system configurations and specific examples of products which show the throughput that can be achieved
Two robots can weld one workpiece together, or different products at the same time in one work zone. Track length can vary and depends on your request (depends on the length of the parts - 60 ft, 120 ft, or 150 ft)
Work zone Dimensions:
Robotic cell Dimensions:
46 ft * 9.8 ft * 4 ft
65.6 ft * 29.5 ft * 10.8 ft
14 m * 3 m * 1.2 m
20 m * 9 m * 3.3 m
robotic cell with 2 robots on tracks: maximum perfomance
Welds length:
Welds length:
Cycle time per 1 workpiece:
Cycle time per 1 workpiece:
Number of products per year (when running 24/7):
Number of products per year (when running 24/7):
39.4 ft * 7.9 ft * 1.6 ft
36 ft * 8.5 ft * 1.8 ft
81.6 m / 267.7 ft
7.2 hours
3.1 hours
862 pcs.
2 024 pcs.
12 m * 2.4 m * 0.5 m
11 m * 2.6 m * 0.55 m
156 m / 512 ft
robotic welding for the bridge structures
robotic welding for the bridge structures
· Drawings, blueprints with weld leg size and welding speed per each type of weld (corporate WPS may differ from what we take as a basis)
· 3D CAD model in stp/step format (if applicable)
· Current and required cycle time, volume per shift/month/year
· Current and required welding cost per item (if applicable).

Estimating the added value of robotic welding for your types of products

To provide you with a commercial proposal and economic efficiency calculations we need the following:
  • General information:
  • Description of your welding process (current assembly and welding process, fixtures, metal used, etc.)
  • Products geometry and minimum and maximum dimensions of typical products in a group (small, medium, large), so that we could configure the robotic cell (pictures are very useful)
  • Information on an exact item if you would like to compare manual and robotic efficiency in more detail:

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