Page 42 - MetalForming March 2016
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Real-Time Welding Data to Optimize Quality, Efficiency
Welding-data capture-and-analysis software can help metalformers elevate their weld-shop quality and productivity to new heights,
by managing and reducing costs, identifying opportunities to fine-tune welder training, and preventing defects from escaping detection.
 Welding information-manage- ment systems gather data in real time from the
shop floor, right from the
welding machines (semiau-
tomatic or robotic) to pro-
vide management with a
live look at every welder
and welding cell. Data
can even move to the
cloud (Internet or intranet)
to allow for remote review
over the Internet. Managers
can keep a close watch over numerous productivity-related metrics, such as arc-on time and weldmetal-deposition rate.
Supplier-fabricators can use the sys- tems to automate the preparation of documents they need to deliver to their customers, and alleviate welders from having to spend time logging data. And, large companies can centralize their welding-knowledge base. They can develop standard welding procedures based on application specifics, and push those procedures out to their weld cells or to the weld cells of their suppliers.
Wondering how often welders (human or robotic) have to stop what they’re doing because of excess spatter or poor penetration, so they can eval- uate and solve procedural issues? Weld- ing-information-management systems will provide that knowledge as well,
and allow shops to immediately iden- tify and address common causes of downtime.
Operations managers use welding- information systems to seek opportu- nities to increase productivity while maintaining quality. They can identify which operators are the most produc- tive and which may need additional training, measure true welding costs, discover opportunities to reduce costs and gauge the impact of continuous- improvement initiatives.
Quality-assurance engineers can trace weld performance and, should welds fail, determine what changes are needed to prevent future issues. And, they can find which welders are oper-
ating outside of acceptable limits and prevent future occurrences. Service and maintenance technicians who need to keep track of all of the machines in their fleet can instantly identify what each machine is doing. If a machine experiences hiccups, the information-manage- ment system can alert technicians so that they can provide quick and accu-
rate diagnoses.
And, welding engineers can use these systems to adjust and opti- mize a welding process for a given application, test it, and then download the updated parameters to one or more
machines in the shop.
Welding-Process Insight from Miller Electric Mfg. Co.
In addition to alerting production managers to under-performing welding cells, an information-management sys- tem can allow companies to establish performance baselines and quality metrics. For example, Miller has devel- oped its Welding Intelligence systems to collect data from several models of the firm’s power sources. The data can transmit via a wired Ethernet connec- tion or through built-in Wi-Fi capabil- ity, which allows for quick, easy setup and flexibility on the shop floor. With
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