About the adaptation of robots and welding machines - a question from China

  • Hi guys, I'm going to introduce a welding robot recently, as a newbie, I have a lot of questions, so a friend of mine recommended this to me. Yes, I've been diving for days and read some articles and advice, thanks a lot! But I still have a lot of questions!


    I have a compactor frame that needs to be welded. It is about 3.5 meters long, 1 meter wide, and weighs about 1 ton.


    I know that in the passenger car industry, they use a lot of Fanuc robots and Fornius CMT.


    But my situation here is a little different. The thickness of the steel plate is at least 8mm, and the assembly tolerances are wide and unstable. Although I have been redesigning my welding fixture, I am not confident that the root clearance will be controlled within 2mm.


    So I have to use the nozzle sensor and arc sensor to relocate the position of the weld?


    I'm going to use a suspended 6-axis robot that is mounted on a 3-axis truss for wide range of motion, and the frame will also need a positioner, so I have a total of 10 axes. It's going to be a huge project, and I need to spend a lot of money on the truss and positioner, so the budget for the robot is limited.


    Our integrator recommended me some models of robots and welders. The robot: IMG, FANUC, CLOOS ABB, and the power source: Fornius, Lincoln, CLOOS.


    I know all of these brands are good at arc welding, but I don't know the difference between them, but the price varies greatly. Fanuc is a relatively cheap solution, and its robot body is very cheap, but I don't know how well it works with the Fronius power? CLOOS has both their own robot and power, will it be easier to operate? The price of IMG is very high, almost twice as much as other brands, I don't know where their advantage is.


    I know there are many guys here who have had many years of experience with welding robots and I hope to get your advice.


    Also thanks to Google Translate! :P

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  • I think you need to choose this entirely based on which brand in your area can support you better. Fronius machines are more affordable than Lincoln, and Fronius equipment becomes lighter. I think both are the same in terms of robustness. Cloos is not a brand I know of. According to Lincoln Fronius, there is more electricity consumption. However, because Lincoln is an older and more experienced company, their resource options are much greater.

  • I think you need to choose this entirely based on which brand in your area can support you better. Fronius machines are more affordable than Lincoln, and Fronius equipment becomes lighter. I think both are the same in terms of robustness. Cloos is not a brand I know of. According to Lincoln Fronius, there is more electricity consumption. However, because Lincoln is an older and more experienced company, their resource options are much greater.

    In my area, our supplier recommended Lincoln's PowerWave R450 and Fronius' TPS500i, and Lincoln's price is lower. I have never used a Fronius power source, but my friend highly recommended it, how do you think I should choose?

  • about the robot choice


    the priceing for Fanuc is pretty much all the time the cheapest, as long as you exclude options

    it feels like a Fanuc can only move from A to B without any paid options and the option feel expansive


    another point I experience here is that the hardware isn´t that reliable, we have at least every quarter Fanuc service here replacing motors up to half an arm on our paint robots, the ABB and Kuka we have run in worser environments without much more then the regular service

    (the software side at least seems to be reliable, but feels like its straight out of 1980s )



    a big point i would consider is the possiblities on offline programming (i hate to shut down production cause I need to set up a new product)

    for instance on ABB you can open and edit the program files in any texteditor or use ABB Robotstudio to set up your path in 3d and fill in the logic in the included editor and test it with the controller running on your PC (and many more applications for ~1.500€ per year license)


    Fanuc Roboguide and Kuka OfficeLite + Kuka.Sim would be somewhat comparable, don´t know if Cloose offers something in that regard

  • If it were me, I'd prefer Fronius. Your friend recommended a new generation machine, it's good. I have installed this series before, it is really light and has a very low power consumption, such as 35A of the machine. But I think the two most important features are that you can disassemble and install everything on the machine without needing any extra equipment, and the 100Mbit communication speed is very good.

  • I think you need to choose this entirely based on which brand in your area can support you better. Fronius machines are more affordable than Lincoln, and Fronius equipment becomes lighter. I think both are the same in terms of robustness. Cloos is not a brand I know of. According to Lincoln Fronius, there is more electricity consumption. However, because Lincoln is an older and more experienced company, their resource options are much greater.

    Strange, last time I saw a customer buy a Fronius package it was $50k. In my experience Fronius has always been the far more expensive option than any other brand. Not sure where you have your information from, but I know some people out there who would love if Fronius actually were to cost less than Lincoln!


    I have equal experience with Fronius and Lincoln. Fronius can be quite finicky. I've just gone through 8 ferris wheel systems and had to return 2 servo torches, 1 hosepack and 1 bad ethernet card/anybus module. Getting the Fronius system connected and functioning was also a pain because of their "over-engineering". Anytime the Fronius welder had an error, the screen displayed "Something went wrong. Contact support". I can't imagine why anyone would want their line down because their welder can't help their maintenance guy troubleshoot, instead "contact support". The integrator we sold those 8 ferris wheel systems to also mentioned their headaches with Fronius equipment, but chose Fronius anyways because of the CMT process. Just my .02c.


    As far as Lincoln goes, there is a Lincoln place over there in Shanghai, China. I believe Lincoln will be able to offer you more than just welding support too if you want/need it. They should be able to help with integration and programming. Lincoln has an entire automation division that specializes in turn-key systems.


    And lastly, not to get into too many specifics about my upcoming project, but it is a little similar to what you are doing (yzdtc2008) in terms of size and layout. Our customer has chosen to go with a Lincoln Power Supply because of the support that they can get from Lincoln, and also previous experience with them. Lastly, FANUC and Lincoln have quite the partnership going on, so they work very well together. Though I will say FANUC and Fronius work well together too when it comes to connectivity. It's up to you which you choose and as Byrol mentioned, just see which one has the best support for you in your area. I know I will definitely recommend Lincoln, but I may be a little bias, but! I am also talking from experience with both Fronius and Lincoln!


    EDit: Also wanted to mention we have a returning customer who originally went with Fronius, but for all future cells (starting with the next batch here) with them are going all Lincoln.

  • Thank you Alex!


    According to the quotes I have, FANUC M10iD/10 is about 27K USD(Including arc welding package,ARC Sensor , multi-pass, etc.) . This is an attractive price!


    ABB's price will be 30% higher, and CLOOS will be 80% higher, IGM is 350%?


    I don't know if I need to pay that much for reliability? Of course long shut down time is unacceptable for me, I don't want to spend too much energy on repairing the equipment, and I just want to buy it, power it up, and keep working until I have new equipment to replace it.


    You mentioned offline programming, I wonder if they can completely replace the teach pendant? Being away from the workshop seems like a big plus. My supplier offered me a one-time payment plan, which would be a lot of money, almost the price of a robot body! Did you mention the way of annual fee licensing? Sounds good.

    Compared with offline programming of these brands, who will be better? Graphical interface? Structure of the program? Or do I need an IDE like VSCODE? Then use a high level language such as C++?


    Well, I may have asked too many questions, please enlighten me!

  • If it were me, I'd prefer Fronius. Your friend recommended a new generation machine, it's good. I have installed this series before, it is really light and has a very low power consumption, such as 35A of the machine. But I think the two most important features are that you can disassemble and install everything on the machine without needing any extra equipment, and the 100Mbit communication speed is very good.

    I took a fancy to the volume and modularity of the Fronius power supply! But I browsed their website and didn't find much information about the TPS500i. Instead I found a lot of technical manuals for Lincoln welders on Lincoln's website, the RV450 seems like a good choice? I'm worried that, as TomFoolious said, Fronius doesn't seem to be quite as good at fault detection?

  • Haha, you seem to like Lincoln a lot. We also cooperate a lot with Lincoln Shanghai, we have dozens of Lincoln manual welding power sources! But I am more concerned about the connection between Lincoln or Fronius and Fanuc or ABB robots, and the coordination of work. As I said earlier, I'm going to buy the arc sensor package, the robot uses the feedback of the arc voltage to relocate the path, so maybe the speed of the sensor as well as the fit is important, and the different waveforms seem to have a big effect? I wonder if you have any experience in this area to share with me?

  • (the software side at least seems to be reliable, but feels like its straight out of 1980s )

    Do you think the interface of the FANUC teach pendant is very simple or ugly? I noticed ABB's teach pendant looks like a Nintendo switch? has a remote sensor, and a touch screen, it seems to be easier to operate?

  • Haha, you seem to like Lincoln a lot. We also cooperate a lot with Lincoln Shanghai, we have dozens of Lincoln manual welding power sources! But I am more concerned about the connection between Lincoln or Fronius and Fanuc or ABB robots, and the coordination of work. As I said earlier, I'm going to buy the arc sensor package, the robot uses the feedback of the arc voltage to relocate the path, so maybe the speed of the sensor as well as the fit is important, and the different waveforms seem to have a big effect? I wonder if you have any experience in this area to share with me?

    Ha, no need to worry about the connection between Lincoln and FANUC. FANUC has come up with their own communication standard for Lincoln welders called ArcLink. To setup a Lincoln welder with FANUC, all you need to do is setup Host Comm TCP/IP address for Port 2 as well as the subnet mask. Connect to the Lincoln Welder with the PowerWave software, verify the welder is set to Dynamic IP (most of the time it already is, but I like to check anyways). Then go into Controlled Start on the FANUC controller with the Lincoln welder powered on, then FANUC will find the welder and ask some setup questions. Then Cold Start and you're off to the races (at this point I usually check the wirefeeder rollers spin with Wire+/- buttons on teach pendant). You also already seen that there is a Lincoln Arc Package with FANUC, so that should tell you all you need to know about the coordination between the equipment.


    As far as using Touch Sense, you'll be best to look through the ArcTool manual from FANUC's website (CRC) or get your hands on it somehow. I'm actually looking at it right now as I write this. There is a bit to the whole process, but the I/O side of things is pretty straightforward: Tell the robot how you are touch sensing (wire or laser) and what I/O it is looking for to activate the touch sense circuit and what to look for when a side is found. Then you'll need to setup schedules and a master, so the robot knows how to find the part, what to expect, etc. As far as the speed of the sensing goes, that depends from my experience. I was using a keyence laser sensor to detect a 10mm wide V Groove once and I had to slow it down a bit to get it to sense correctly, BUT I was also taking the GO signal of the Keyence sensor over ethernet to the robot, so there was probably latency that was causing me a fuss. I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that most of your debug time with the touch sensing will be in finding the right speed and practice of finding your edges rather than setting up the touch sense circuit to work. That's where most of my debug time goes with touch sensing. As they say, put good in, get good out.


    Lastly, as for the welding source waveforms, well there are a lot of waveforms available on a Lincoln Power Supply. Your best bet is to get in contact with Lincoln. I'm not sure how things work on that side since I'm usually at the end of the process with parameters already figured out from the Parents ;) , but I would imagine they would be able to work with you on getting some good starting welding parameters with your setup.

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