Tennessee-based Hirebotics has developed a robot that can weld using a robot arm from Ann Arbor-based Universal Robots. The new technology was developed in response to a nationwide shortage of skilled welders.
“Many people didn’t believe that collaborative robots could perform such heavy-duty tasks as welding,” says Rob Goldiez, co-founder of Hirebotics. “We realized the need of a solution for small and medium-sized metal fabricators trying to find welders.”
Universal’s UR10e cobot (collaborative robot) is easy to teach and offers automation quality with small batch part runs.
Goldiez says Hirebotics addressed two major hurdles of robotic welding: the ease of programming and the ease of obtaining the system without assuming the risk of ownership. There are no installation costs with the robots, called BotX Welder and, with cloud monitoring, manufacturers pay only for the hours the system welds.
Customers must provide the wire, gas, and parts to weld. They can teach BotX the required welds through a smartphone or tablet app using welding libraries created in welding labs. A cloud connection enables support 24/7.
“With Universal Robots’ open architecture, we were able to control not only wire feed speed and voltage, but torch angle as well, which ensures a quality weld every time,” Goldiez says. “UR’s open platform also enabled us to develop a cloud-based software solution that allows us to ensure a customer is always running with the latest features at no charge. We can respond to a customer’s request for additional features within weeks and push those features out to the customer with no onsite visits.”
The collaborative robots do not require safety fencing like traditional industrial robots, so they take up less space.
The BotX Welder is now available to customers but will officially launch at Fabtech on Nov. 11-14 in Chicago.
Universal Robots was founded in 2005 and launched its first cobot in 2008.
Hirebotics pioneered robots-as-a-service with its pay-by-the-productive-hour business model. It was founded in 2015.