Friday, September 11, 2015

Top 5 Traits You Should Look for A Robotic Cell Operator

Automatic welding is promising to keep your competitive edge because it will help reduce labor cost. Still, the robotic welding cells require certain human intervention. For sure, no manager wants just anyone in the position of robotic welding cell operator. Below are 5 traits that employers can look for to ensure they hire the right person for this role.

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Only in the most state-of-the-art automatic setups do humans have no interaction with the automatic welding technology. Even in high-volume, low-mix manufacturing that an engineer would set up the volts and amps in the welding equipment and lock out the operator to avert tampering with the equipment, the operator would hit the cycle button. Still, in this manufacturing world, most metal fabricators take on jobs that can range from simple to complicated just within the same hour. Operators without engagement in their role of overseeing the automatic welding operation can create headaches for the management that thought its headaches on production would be remedied with the investment in robotics.

The best way to avoid the headaches and get profits from the investment is to find the right person for the position of robotic welding cell operator. Below are 5 characteristics to look for:

1. Experience

You can hire an inexperienced welder that is comfortable with new technology and have him/ her operate the welding cell with a bit trouble. That may be the case though, you have better to find an experienced person. Recruiting experienced personnel for this post would best ensure quality and less downtime. 

It can't be denied that advanced control software would help control variables of welding process, but there have still been hundreds of earlier generation welding cells without advanced capabilities in the metal fabricating world. That’s when experience of a welder really shines. He/ She would know that the correct welding sequence ensures integrity of material, realize the upstream processes can possibly affect welding, and quickly define out-of-spec welds with his/ her quick glance at the final point.

For those who are concerned about:
How to Retain Your Experienced Welders

2. Ownership

Hire workers that feel responsible for the machine they operate. As the owner of the automatic welding cell, they will take good care of not just machine operation but setup and maintenance. 

3. Initiative 

Willingness of a worker to step forward for quality is more important with complex welding positions. Tig welding cells can be really hard because the application success does count on the operator. The process window is narrowed in Tig welding, so you do need a conscientious operator.

The operator has to maintain tungsten electrode, ensure appropriate wire guide positioning, and verify the parts sit in the fixtures as designed. Also, the operator has to step forward in case production needs halt. The downtime represents a far better scenario than re-working parts as the quality issue wasn’t tackled in time.

4. A 3-D mindset

It will be great if a welding operator has a 3-D visualization. He/ She can see how a robotic arm moves around a work-piece, and figure the best way to attack the hard-to-reach area. It is often difficult to find a welder with this trait, but you have options. That person can be a good car mechanic with the ability to visualize in 3-D of how the engine works.

5. Familiarity with computers

Experience and familiarity with computers help a welder transition to the role of robotic welding cell operator. Those skills allow an operator to jump into all the benefits which advanced control software has to offer.

For instance, some software packages would run the simulation routines that tell the operator what will (not) work. 

Providing proper training

Once you have identified potential robotic welding cell operators, it is imperative to select the right training. You have to find the training approach that engages your would-be operators. Rather, it’s not simply a lecture that you say how it works and then you send them to the work. They need have some hands-on. They need be engaged, tested and assessed on their skills.

If those being trained possess some of the above traits, they should produce some rather good evaluations.


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