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ABB introduces weld joint seam tracking system

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has introduced WeldGuide III, an adaptive sensing system that performs weld joint seam tracking during the robot arc welding process.

The system identifies variations in the weld joints and dynamically corrects the robotic torch path whilst in motion. Utilising voltage and current sensors, the system takes real-time measurements through the welding arc to make any adjustments necessary to keep the robotic welding torch on the joint path; regardless of the path programming.

A combination of hardware and software, specifically designed for ABB’s IRC5 robot controller, WeldGuide III is half the price of the advance weld controller system (available from ABB since 1994) and is very much easier to use. WeldGuide III requires less initial programming than traditional robotic seam tracking systems and is ideal for applications on heavy weldments.

WeldGuide III is especially effective for:
• Heavy deposition welds where a 1 to 2 mm weave pattern must be used to fill the gap between the parts
• Applications where the welding seam location moves from part to part, or during welding
• Parts where multiple passes are required to complete the weld

In such heavy, high heat welds, WeldGuide III provides more precise path accuracy and better weld integrity than would be achieved with standard welding systems. With the tracking system automatically adapting to the part, it provides consistent welds, even on parts where there is considerable part variation, providing far better throughput and less re-welding.

“WeldGuide III is a direct result of consistent input from our key heavy welding integrators and customers,” said Olivier Coquerel, ABB’s account manager for manufacturing industries in Australia. “Welding and metal fabrication are primary growth areas for robotics and ABB will continue to develop best-in-class robots, control systems and support tools to serve these markets. WeldGuide III is so easy to use and so cost effective that it is even appropriate for the smallest welding and fabrication shops.”

Primary application areas for ABB’s robotic welding and WeldGuide III systems include off-highway and agricultural equipment, transportation, defence, and other manufacturers that fabricate large, heavy metal parts requiring longer, wider welds.

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