Automatic welding robot programming (ARP) with Valk Welding

Ablasserdam-based welding robot supplier Valk Welding offers a collection of software tools to almost fully automate the offline programming process of industrial welding robots. ARP combines the programming ease of a cobot with the durability, accuracy, and repeatability of Panasonic robots. ‘‘This means that everyone can now program a real welding robot, even without previous experience’’, says James De Villiers, robot programming specialist at Valk Welding.

Generating programs from STEP-files

Traditionally, welding robots are programmed in two ways: online programming using a teach pendant and offline programming using software such as DTPS from Panasonic. Robot supplier Valk Welding and their software partner ArcNC developed an advanced programming tool for Panasonic welding robots, ARP powered by ‘ArcNC for Panasonic’, which automatically analyses 3D CAD/STEP-files, identifies welds and recommends welding positions and sequences. ‘‘We are in contact with the developers almost every day,’’ says de Villiers, ‘‘and together we do a lot of testing and development for the Panasonic software.’’

Solution to the programmer shortage

The main challenge that this collaboration aims to address with ARP is the shortage of skilled programmers for robotic welding. ARP powered by ArcNC for Panasonic is easy to use and requires minimal programming knowledge, unlike traditional software. Many time-consuming tasks are automated, including the selection of weld seams, the best weld sequences to avoid product deformation, and robot positions to avoid collisions. Operators can program up to a couple thousand points in a single day with ARP, a feat that would take an online programmer up to nine times as long, even with a cobot.

Here, you don’t see any of the complicated commands. We want every welder to be able to program a robot.

James de Villiers, offline programming specialist at Valk Welding.

Cloud-based and accessible

ARP powered by ArcNC for Panasonic is a simple, cloud-based online software. ‘‘The whole platform is accessible via a webpage’’, explains de Villiers. ‘‘This is great because companies typically install software locally and have to maintain updates on their computer. Here, every update is placed in the cloud so that all customers are up to date with the latest software version at the same time.’’

Seamless calibration and support

Valk Welding has long excelled in offline programming, ensuring seamless integration with Panasonic hardware. ‘‘Many other companies struggle to connect the virtual robot to the real-world situation”, de Villiers continues. "They program the virtual robot on the computer, put it on the real robot, and in a lot of cases it does not match up perfectly.’’ To avoid this, Valk Welding ensures that their Panasonic welding robots and equipment are always well calibrated. And as the seller of the software, we take responsibility for the entire process: ‘‘We do everything to assist and support our customers, so they are never left alone. This is something we have consistently demonstrated in the market.’’

Contact us at info@valkwelding.com for more information and a free demonstration with your own product.

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