An automated manufacturing system

Unless you just crawled from under a rock or recently awoke from one of those Rip van Winkle naps, then you know that the trend toward smart products is growing rapidly. Perhaps more impressive is the demand for smart manufacturing systems. In many cases, smart manufacturing indicates that the equipment and systems that create end products utilize software that controls aspects of the manufacturing process. 

Indeed, the ability to send and receive data is typically a primary function of smart manufacturing systems. Equally important, however, is process automation that does not require a human operator’s intervention. Therefore, a software-based automated manufacturing system can be considered smart manufacturing. And while welding plays a significant role in automating manufacturing systems in many industries, such as biopharmaceuticals and food processing, smart manufacturing processes are not routinely associated with welding. However, is welding itself also becoming a smart manufacturing process?

Is Welding Getting Smart?

Welding, which has been around for millennia, has traditionally been a manual process. However, the lack of consistent weld quality, the physical stresses placed on welders, concern for welder safety, and a shortage of experienced welders have contributed to the increased utilization of orbital welding. Orbital welding equipment introduces the basic tools for a smart welding system, such as automation and data acquisition, to the welding process.

The Keys to Welding Smart

For data—including video imaging—to be the most useful in welding, a User Interface (UI) should enable the technician to view and analyze weld quality unobscured by hazards like fume clouds. Along with automation and data utilization, the ability to view and control the weld remotely are attributes that make orbital welding a smart process.  

Smart Welding Essentials

🔑 Automation

A basic tenet of any smart manufacturing system is non-reliance on direct human control or automation. By utilizing a rotating weld head, orbital welding frees welders from the responsibility of circumnavigating the perimeter of a pipe joint, which can be challenging in cramped spaces or for overhead pipe welding.

🔑 Data Transfer and Utilization

With the welder or technician removed from the immediate area of the workpiece, visual data must be captured and transmitted to the remote operator’s location. This remote monitoring system is essential for analyzing the weld bead creation and overall joint quality. 

🔑 Optimizing Safety

As welding is one of the most dangerous skilled jobs, all welding processes are highly concerned with worker safety, as documented in welding safety standards by OSHA. Orbital welding virtually eliminates the sources of welder injury from the process. 

The above keys are inherent in a good orbital welding process, and they form the basis for today’s smart welding for automating manufacturing systems.

Smart Orbital Welding for Automating Manufacturing Systems 

Orbital welding exhibits the essentials for a smart welding process. However, smart welding does not end there. For example, robots can be used to perform welding operations. Specialized software tools, such as Octopuz, enable virtual offline programming for enhanced productivity. Like IoT systems, smart welding continues to expand its applications across industries for automating manufacturing systems.

Arc Machines, Inc. , since its founding by former NASA engineers in 1976, has been an industry leader in producing high-quality and high-tech welding equipment. This includes orbital welding machines, weld heads, data acquisition, and remote control modules that aid in the construction of automating manufacturing systems. For inquiries regarding products, contact For service inquiries, contact Arc Machines welcomes the opportunity to discuss your specific needs. Contact us to arrange a meeting.

Engineering Department | Arc Machines, Inc.

The first engineers at Arc Machines were also part of NASA’s Apollo program, and we continue to hold our staff to those that level of drive and quality. Not only do we produce the best welding machines on the market, but we can also build customized machinery—tailored to your operation.

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