The commissioning of a custom-designed dual-arm robotic welding system at the Austin Engineering facility in Perth, Western Australia, will lift efficiency, productivity and output, the company says.
Austin said these are all benefits that “underpin the specialty customised designs the company manufactures for the mining industry worldwide”.
For more than 35 years, the company has designed and engineered unique production and maintenance equipment including dump truck bodies, excavator buckets, water tanks and tyre handlers.
“Austin-designed equipment has given their customers significantly improved productivity and increased output through designs that have enhanced the operational efficiency and availability of site production equipment,” the company said.
The new robotic welding system, along with the advantages of modern robotic welding technology, includes features to improve overall efficiency and product capabilities. A mobile gantry carrying two six-axis articulated arm robots, each interfaced with a digital pulse welding module, heads up the system. Mounted on rails, the double gantry provides 14 m of longitudinal travel and 10 m of lateral travel to service the two new side-by-side production cells. Vertical travel is 2 m.
The system includes both online and offline programming capabilities. “Whereas the previous robot could only be programmed once the component was loaded into the cell, all necessary programming can now be completed prior to the job being loaded into a production cell,” the company said.
“The online/offline programming feature, combined with the system’s laser tracking feature, increases arc time as the robot can weld without having to stop for any adjustments to the program or the job. An ‘out of position’ weld feature also maintains uninterrupted job progress.”
Geoff Collins, Operations Manager at Austin Engineering Perth, said: “When fully operational, the new system will lift efficiency, productivity and overall capability throughout the facility.”
The new robot welds marginally faster, but Collins said this is only one of the production improvements the system will deliver. He emphasised that overall improvement will be a combination of a number of productivity inputs, with the new robot able to work on all products in the Austin Engineering range (the previous robot was restricted to truck floors).
“As well, access to the latest robot welding technology and software, the two side-by-side production cells which can be loaded or unloaded without interruption to the robot’s work schedule and advance planning functionality will all add to overall productivity improvement,” Collins added.
He said the benefits to customers will come in the form of shorter lead and turnaround times. “And that should ultimately improve their operational efficiency and productivity,” Collins added.