At a Glance: Cobots and the BA1 Cobot MIG Gun
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Companies today continue to face a shortage of qualified welders, but the demand for product has stayed the same — or in many cases, increased. Turning to new solutions to keep up with production can help keep the welding operation running smoothly and quickly.
For many companies producing a high mix and low volume of parts, investing in a cobot can be a smart business decision. A cobot, or collaborative robot, relies on interaction from a welding operator but provides faster speeds than semi-automatic welding. Cobot welding is also a less expensive alternative to robotic welding and takes up less space.
To operate the cobot, the welding operator uses a tablet to program the desired weld and moves the cobot welding gun to the beginning of the joint. While the cobot is welding, the welding operator can work on other activities, helping companies make the most of the available labor.
Tregaskiss BA1 cobot air-cooled MIG gun
Tregaskiss designed its BA1 cobot welding gun to help companies gain the most from their cobot. It provides several key benefits.
The BA1 gun is designed and engineered with the same trusted and robust components as other Tregaskiss guns and is proven to last in high-volume welding operations.
Combined with AccuLock™ R consumables, the BA1 welding gun can help ensure greater productivity. The contact tips last longer so there is less downtime for changeover. When routine changeover is necessary, it can be done quickly and easily so the cobot and welding operator spend more time producing parts.
The BA1 cobot MIG gun has metal-to-metal keyed connections to hold it in place in the mounting arm. These also keep the aluminum-armored neck firmly connected to the gun, so users can depend on the gun to perform consistently.
The gun is easy to maintain when needed — necks can be changed with one tool by loosening a small number of fasteners. Operators can also easily install QUICK LOAD® liners from the front of the gun. For operations that have semi-automatic welding, companies can streamline inventory by using the same AccuLock contact tip on their MIG guns.
The BA1 cobot gun is compatible with cobots from FANUC®, Yaskawa® Motoman® and Universal Robots (UR) and most welding power sources. Power pin options are available for machines from Miller®, Lincoln®, Fronius®, Tweco®, Panasonic® and more.
Tregaskiss offers customizable options according to style and neck, consumables, cable length, wire size and power pin through the online configurator.
Cobot welding best practices
Along with having a reliable cobot MIG gun, there are some best practices to consider for cobot welding.
- Provide welding operators with proper training. Programming is relatively easy using a simple tablet interface, and training can be done quickly. In many cases, welding operators are able to share their knowledge with other employees to expedite training.
- Follow safety precautions and use proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Read and follow the cobot and cobot gun owner’s manuals. The cell where the cobot is located should be surrounded by welding curtains to protect the operator and others from arc flash.
- Tooling, fixtures and other equipment added to the robotic cell after delivery may change the type and number of hazards present in and around the cobot system. Conduct a safety review and perform another risk assessment after the installation of any additional equipment to the robotic cell.
- Understand the rating of the gun and make sure that it is appropriate for the application and prevent overheating. The BA1 cobot gun offers 385 amps at 100% duty cycle with mixed gases.
- Be sure the robot and gun can move freely and that the power cable doesn’t interfere. Operators should also stand clear of the moving cobot.
- Understand the tool center point (TCP) and how far the cobot and cobot gun can reach to ensure quality.
As with any welding application, contact a trusted cobot welding gun or cobot manufacturer with questions or reach out to a local welding distributor.