Robotic Light Gauge Welding - Midwest Engineered Systems

Midwest Engineered Systems has been integrating modern welding processes and advanced sensor technology into its robotic systems to reliably mitigate the effects of common issues such as part variability and thermal distortion on a wide variety of light gauge materials. Regardless of material type or robotic welding process needed, MWES has the experience necessary to increase throughput without sacrificing quality or reliability.

Light Gauge Material Welding

Automated welding processes have advanced to handle a variety of material thicknesses, including thin-gauge materials. Improved welding and sensor technologies allow factories and other facilities to efficiently produce welded components while still accounting for issues such as thermal distortion and part variability across many different industries.

Robotic welding has shown its ability to weld thin-gauge metals, even difficult metals such as austenitic stainless steel and carbon steel efficiently. Thin-gauge materials are considered to be 18-ga. to 0.1875-in. for stainless steel and 24-ga. to 0.1875-in. for carbon steel. Thin-gauge robotic welding is typically done in short-circuit transfer (SCT) mode, as its low heat input is well-suited for thin-gauge welding. Some newer automated robotic systems are capable of pulse-on or pulse-on-short-circuit, both of which can be useful for thin-gauge welding so long as their respective heat inputs are comparable to the input achievable through SCT processes.

abb robot welding cellMany times, light-gauge robotic welding tends to be performed in a sequence to reduce the overall amount of heat applied to the metal, which minimizes distortion. It’s best to spread out small welds over the joint used in the welding process. The torch angle is another important part of the light-gauge welding process. Generally, the pushing torch angle is used in horizontal, overhead and flat positions to reduce the chances of the process burning through the metal material. For the SCT mode, it is best to utilize a short contact-tip-to-work distance, which is considered to be 0.25 to 0.5 in. Too much contact-tip-to-work distance can lead to increased resistance between the contact tip and the workpiece, causing unstable arcs to develop, MWES’s experienced robotic welding staff has a history of successfully integrating these techniques into robotically automated welding systems.

For SCT welding of carbon steel, its wire diameters can include sizes such as 0.023, 0.030, 0.035, and 0.045 in. In the case of SCT welding of stainless steel, its usual wire diameters are 0.030, 0.035, and 0.045 in., but will run even smaller for thin-gauge materials.

Benefits of Light Gauge Robotic Welding

Fully automated welding systems for thin-gauge materials come with many benefits. Here are some of its advantages:

  • High-volume: the robotic welding process allows industrial factories to very quickly and efficiently produce welded materials at a rate that isn’t achievable by typical human labor standards.
  • Cost-effective: Reduced human labor numbers save money in terms of training programs, worker’s compensation and benefits packages.
  • Durable: Robotically welded light-gauge steel won’t burn, split, rot or take damage as softer, non-metallic materials may.

Applications of Light Gauge Robotic Welding

There are numerous applications for automated thin-gauge welding. Here are some of its uses:

  • Stainless steel food processing equipment/food service
  • Thin wall vent & conduit system construction
  • Sanitation devices
  • Mobile machinery cabs/guards

MWES is skilled at robotic integration for a variety of robotic welding applications and industries. Contact us to learn how automated light gauge welding processes can benefit your manufacturing process!

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