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Fabulous Fabricating! – Increased Robot Welding Capacity


In March 2015 leading UK metalwork subcontractor Hydram Sheet Metalwork took delivery of a new Panasonic PerformArc ET-2PD-XL robotic welding cell.

The new robot welder brings the total of robot welders to three – all provided by Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems Europe.  All three robot cells are PerformArc ET with electric turntables allowing maximum productivity of the cell, since the operator is able to perform the loading and unloading cycle whilst the robot continues in production. 

Marvellous Manipulation

What makes this new investment stand out from the existing machines are the manipulators attached to each side of the turntable.  These allow the work pieces to be turned independently of the robot position and in full synchronisation with the robot.  This allows for either repositioning of the work piece to facilitate access and accuracy of the welding process, or for rotational movement of the work piece during welding to facilitate welding in a circular motion.

Welding Excellence

The ability to reposition the work piece was particularly important for this investment.  Senior Account Manager Neil Bell explains:

“Many of our multinational customers audit our processes to ensure that we can meet their exacting standards.  In the case of Caterpillar they were particularly interested in welding standards and so we enrolled on the CAT ‘7 Steps to Welding Excellence’ program, an award that we achieved in 2014.”

Welding Uphill

Working closely with CAT highlighted the need for the use of vertical welding techniques to improve weld penetration on thick (greater than 6mm) plate.  Sometimes referred to as ‘welding uphill’ this technique ensures that the weld penetrates deep into the corner of the join which results in a stronger weld. 

“The manipulators on the new robot welder allow us to reposition the parts in cycle to permit vertical welding in all critical areas without having a second setup,” says Neil.  “This makes us more efficient and at the same time ensures that the parts are welded to the high standards required by customers.”

Continued Investment

The acquisition of the PerformArc ET-2PD-XL is just one of the investments Hydram has planned for the 2014-2015 period, which has at its heart a major expansion of its powder coating capacity.  Once again Hydram’s continuous policy of expansion and renewal is helping maintain the company’s competitive edge in precision sheet metal fabrication.

Leading sheet metal fabrication supplier

Hydram Sheet Metalwork is a leading supplier of sheet metal and tubular components, assemblies and light fabrications to customers throughout the UK.  The leading fabrication company provides the full range of subcontract engineering services, including tube and sheet laser cutting, tube and sheet bending, fabrication, powder coating and assembly.  Hydram supplies components and sheet metal fabrications to market leading companies in industries such as shop-fitting and point of display, lighting, earth-moving machinery and white goods.

Hydram – your complete manufacturing partner.