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IPG Photonics launches ‘cobot’ laser welding and cleaning system

17 May 2024

Based on LightWELD fiber laser; targeting fabrication and manufacturing industries.

Industrial fiber laser giant IPG Photonics has launched an automated “cobot” (collaborative robot) laser welding and cleaning system designed for fabrication and manufacturing applications.

The new cobot is an automated, laser welding and cleaning system, which can be configured with any IPG LightWELD welding laser sources. The launch also expands IPG Photonics’ LightWELD range of portable laser welders.

Cobots are industrial robots which work with humans often for tasks that require precision, repeatable results or to streamline repetitive tasks. IPG says its cobot laser production system “makes automating welding jobs easy for fabricators regardless of experience with cobots or laser processing.”

The LightWELD Cobot System comprises an industrial base with the LightWELD laser source, system controls, a 1.0x1.5 m work surface, drag-and-drop operator user interface, and long-reaching cobot arm which holds the LightWELD gun.

The system is also capable of switching between laser welding and laser cleaning in just seconds by simply changing the nozzle with no tools required. The system is also fully compatible with the LightWELD wire feeder, which further expands the system capability.

Simple programming

IPG comments that, “regardless of prior cobot experience, welders can teach the cobot with manual guidance in a matter of minutes and control all system functionality from a single graphical user interface which requires no coding knowledge.”

Cobot motion and LightWELD parameters are easily accessed, as are the built-in editable presets for optimized welding and cleaning. A welder can test and simulate the programmed processing ahead of beginning a job, which ensures results are as expected. This can significantly reduce scrap and the need for rework.

The LightWELD Cobot System is available in three configurations: the base system that is integrated into a dedicated and enclosed shop space; an integrated system with a removable safety enclosure with dual-channel interlocking doors and laser-safe window; and in a LightWELD Studio comprised of modular laser-safe panels with sliding door, laser-safe window and safety signage.

‘New capabilities’

“This turnkey automated laser welding and cleaning system provides the shortest path for fabricators to install and easy to use system and produce consistent results efficiently and safely,” said Daniel Earley, LightWELD Product Manager.

“My firsthand experience using the system validates that anyone with or without prior welding or cobot skills can quickly learn to program and control the entire system in a matter of minutes. We are excited to bring this system to market as it will enable the fabrication industry to increase productivity with automated processing, address the shortage of qualified welders, and facilitate new shop capabilities.”

The system also offers the flexibility and range of motion to tackle multiple project setups with mixes of parts, joint configurations and material combinations, both on the system work surface and on adjacent work surfaces. The small footprint of the system and integrated leveling caster wheels enable easy system repositioning into other areas of the shop floor

The combination of welders and cobots lower the cost-per-part by reducing downtime, rework and scrap, while increasing production capacity, processing consistency and overall quality for fabrication shops of all sizes.

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