For large or difficult welding jobs there is a tool made specifically for the task. Large material needs some oversize equipment to well it correctly. This is the reason for a welding manipulator. When the size of the job becomes extra large, a welding column and boom are brought in.
Making welding easier for production purposes
A welding manipulator is a novel way to make it easier to perform a weld. This is especially true for those who need to create a set amount of pieces per day. For repetitive assembly line work, this is another way to automate a step in the process of getting a product out the door. This applies to large or small jobs, as some manipulators are about as tall as a two story building. These machines come in sizes to fit many needs according to the size and weight of the material being welded.
Taking a look at a light duty welding manipulator
Light duty manipulators are smaller versions of these welding machines. They can be mounted on trolleys and become mobile. They can become stationary by simply creating a base for them. The normal size for these smaller models is six feet by six feet. Newer models come with actuators that are similar to computer numerical control, or CNC, machines. An LED screen will be the control station and may have touch capabilities. The machine has rollers that hold stock horizontally while the other end of the manipulator holds the piece securely. The exacting movements are controlled by a computer while a submerged arc welder operates to perform the weld. The machine can be integrated to outside welding power sources. A continuous roll of filler wire keeps the welding going until the job is done.
Larger duty welding manipulators get the job done
If those smaller manipulators are interesting, the larger ones are more. Imagine a piece of equipment that is 16 feet by 16 feet, or almost five meters square, in size. It can hold large stock and move it at a set speed, chosen by the operator. This means things like huge pipes can be turned automatically and at the right speed to produce a remarkable weld. This is a size that approaches the second story of many buildings. One such application is to be able to weld oil pipelines or fittings to them.
Welding columns and boom equipment
This is where welding gets to be super-sized. When a large manipulator is still not big enough, it is time to use a welding column and boom. This is an apparatus that has at least two variations. One version is fixed, with a base that the material moves into. The other is a welding column and boom that is mobile. It can revolve around the item being welded.
The fixed design supports a better weld quality with reduced labor. It also allows flexibility for the welding head to be placed in the exact spot that is needed. For this reason, the fixed design can produce high quality automatic welds after setup. The fixed design also works well for longitudinal or circumferential welding.
A revolving boom design is mobile and can weld overly large objects such as metal pipe, rockets or large earthmovers. This has a basket for the operator to stand in while the weld is taking place. It can have its own motor to move over the surface of the material. More care must be taken to ensure the accuracy of the work. This should not be a problem since the operator will have his controls right in front of him to ensure a quality finish. The boom itself can be similar to a pantograph with the welding head on the end for maneuverability. Another style has the boom as a long shaft with the welding head mounted on the end. If the metal being worked is round rollers rotate the metal from underneath to control the rate of welding.