If you have clicked on this blog post, then perhaps you or someone you know are still using manually creating weld marks. If that is the case, then you already know the number of errors and rework this process has on projects. Then why not go for automated processes for accurate welds?
The biggest benefit of accurate model welds is the accuracy in Quantities – for planning or for estimation, with accurate model welds, you can instantly report weld lengths and even volumes automatically; whereas traditionally, you would need to leave through volumes of drawings to manually collect, calculate, and total the length of welds.
Quantities can be important for production planning as well. A few complex assemblies on a project might have far more welding than others, which means they will tie up welders, equipment and production lines for much longer. Knowing this in advance allows production to plan around these time-consuming assemblies, and avoid unexpected delays.
Then, there is Visualization – we are all visual animals and when we can see things, we can easily identify possible problems. Now imagine detecting those problems way before you start burning the gas at the weld shop. Seeing the detailed welds in the model itself makes the discovery of possible issues in fabrication easy. Seeing the welds can aid in better communication of design and details in both the model and the drawings.
As a result of visualization and accuracy, accurate welds result in QualityWork. Weld tracking and traceability are increasingly a requirement for projects. With all welds accurately modeled, you can assign each weld a unique tracking number to aid in the quality processes. This also means that you can store or link test results into the model for a 3D visual “as-built” record of the project.
So with accurate model welds, you can enhance your coordination, your production planning, and your Quality Assurance.
Moving on, accuracy in weld marking speeds up processes because now we can combine it with CNC marking and save time in the manual process of marking for CNC machines.
If welds are accurately marked in the 3D model itself, weld information can also be automatically marked on parts using software like Trimble Connect.
While various technologies exist, each with its own unique strengths and limitations, here we see one of the faster technologies; a laser marking system from controlled automation, in a side-by-side comparison with a manual layout on the right.
Automation of these processes directly impacts your efficiencies, your man-hour spent, and your ability to do more complex work which wasn’t possible to do otherwise.
As a result of this, welds can be more accurate and fast-paced as Robotic Welding can now be enabled to automate the cutting and welding of assemblies.
Here we see images where the model assembly and weld information is used to calculate and execute the final welding of a human tack welded assembly.
Using the model information, the robot is able to assemble, tack-weld, and perform final welding fully automatically, without the intervention of any humans.
So for applicable assemblies, it removes the need for any human layout or fitting as well as welders, which of course translates to an incredible gain of efficiency on the shop floor. This also allows your human welders and fitters to work on the more complex, or large structures, which cannot be put through the automated systems – for the time being at least.