Robot welding is a relatively new application of robotics, even though robots were first introduced into US industry during the 1960s. The use of robots in welding did not take off until the 1980s, when the automotive industry began using robots extensively for spot welding. Since then, both the number of robots used in industry and the number of their applications has grown greatly. Cary and Helzer suggest that, as of 2005, more than 120,000 robots are used in North American industry, about half of them pertaining to welding. Growth is primarily limited by high equipment costs, and the resulting restriction to high-production applications.
Robot arc welding has begun growing quickly just recently, and already it commands about 20% of industrial robot applications. The major components of arc welding robots are the manipulator or the mechanical unit and the controller, which acts as the robot's "brain". The manipulator is what makes the robot move, and the design of these systems can be categorized into several common types, such as the SCARA robot and cartesian coordinate robot, which use different coordinate systems to direct the arms of the machine.
The technology of signature image processing has been developed since the late 1990s for analyzing electrical data in real time collected from automated, robotic welding, thus enabling the optimization of welds.
North American robot sales increase slightly in 1Q02. (Industry View).(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included)
Jul 01, 2002; Ann Arbor, MichThe North American robotics industry showed signs of stabilizing in the first quarter of 2002 (1Q02), according to...