From Ancient Artistry to Technological Mastery

The evolution of the latest generation of robot welding systems draws on a long history in Japan of incredible innovators renowned for their attention to detail, precision and quality. 

by Tobias Hater and Claudia Schemann

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The rich cultural heritage of Japan is intertwined with a legacy of remarkable craftsmanship, where artisans have honed their skills over centuries to create masterpieces that embody precision, detail, and beauty.

Japanese craftsmanship has been celebrated across the world for its meticulous attention to detail, extensive time invested and innovation in creating extraordinary works of art. Examples include Japanese pottery - Hagi, Karatsu, and Arita porcelain - where the delicate artistry, clay blending techniques, and exquisite glazing methods result in beautiful and functional ceramic wares cherished internationally. Through to the art of crafting Japanese swords, known as katana, that requires extensive knowledge and skill to forge and shape the blade, temper it using traditional techniques, and meticulously craft the hilt and scabbard.

And in the digital age, this approach has continued with a new breed of technological expertise emerging in Japan. Technology experts have harnessed their ingenuity to create ground-breaking systems that combine robotics and manufacturing. Notably, the development of world-leading robot welding systems exemplifies the seamless fusion of craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. Here we can see unrivalled robot welding systems renowned for unparalleled quality, speed, and reliability.

Next Generation of Controller

Take the next generation Robot Welding G4 Controller, from Panasonic Robot & Welding Systems (a division of Panasonic Factory Solutions), being showcased at the Schweißen & Schneiden international trade fair for Joining, Cutting and Surfacing in Essen, Germany, this week. It’s part of The Arc Welding Robot System (TAWERS), which delivers unique peace of mind to customers by bringing together the total solution of robot, controller, power source and servo wire feeder all from one manufacturer.

Sixty plus years of Panasonic innovation has gone into the new G4 Controller. With improved parallel processing power, it helps deliver a faster, more accurate and efficient robot welding service than ever before for manufacturers focused on everything from automotive parts to agricultural machinery. In these environments the ability to weld to a high quality, using a variety of techniques, consistently and quickly is the holy grail. And with a shortage of highly skilled but expensive human resources, the manufacturing industry is increasingly turning to robot welding systems to meet its needs.

Here the G4 Controller excels like never before. For example, it’s fast. There is an 18% increase in the speed of movement on the robot’s main axis by fine tuning acceleration and deceleration control. Individual axis movements can be up to 27% faster than with its predecessor the G3 Controller. But speed is not everything. It must be quick but also accurate and motion accuracy has also been improved by up to 20%.

Intuitive to use

Of course, robot welding systems are only as good as their human programmers and therefore the teach pendant has been enhanced with an intuitive, slimmed-down user interface and increased resolution on the glove-friendly touch panel display. It also includes a 3D high definition display for operators to visualise the movement of the robot and any potential safety issues ahead of operation.

With an integrated and automated manufacturing future ahead of us, fast and flexible connectivity in a manufacturing environment is also important. That’s why the new G4 Controller has the OPC UA open standard built-in for connectivity. This means the future addition of cameras or sensors for data collection or safety can easily be integrated into the system. 

A series of innovations

Next generation welding performance is also assured with a series of innovations. The welding table from the G3 controller is available for use with the G4 and will continue to be enhanced with more than 150 different welding operations scheduled in total. Control of welding is improved with MTS Control reducing spattering by up to 62% to improve quality. In the pursuit of ever higher quality, the new G4 Controller also offers enhanced welding navigational data and management, on-site welding waveform analysis and welding defect verification without the need for external measuring equipment. 

But with innovation must also come safety and the G4 Controller leads the way. It comes with the standard installation of functional safety software that complies with IEC 61508 and ISO 13849, flexible assignment and editing of safety input and output and its external axis controller with individual servo on/off control as standard. 

With uptime more important than ever, reliability is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Here the G4 Controller has improved reliability and maintenance functions with data log enhancements and an increased error histories capability to improve quality tracking. It also offers improved data for preventative maintenance, alongside an enhanced dual tunnel cooling structure and energy-saving fan control.

It’s clear that the new G4 Controller, as part of the TAWERS system, has been built with the same eye for detail, quality and innovation that the Japanese master craftsmen of history had in mind. It’s the answer for customers on the continuous quest for robot welding with improved efficiency, quality and maximum uptime. 

If you are attending Schweißen & Schneiden, why not stop by and see for yourself in Hall 3 at the Panasonic Factory Solutions Stand C25. We would love you to take a closer look at how the G4 Controller could help your Robot Welding operation. 

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