Spool Welding Robot SWR
The Spool Welding Robot (SWR) is a collaborative welding machine designed specifically for pipe, small pressure vessel, and other types of roll welding. Companies that have invested in the SWR have increased their pipe welding productivity to 200-350 diameter inches per shift and have dropped their repair rate to less than 1%. This is making our customers more competitive when bidding on jobs, and it has increased margins on contracts they've already won.
The SWR has the smallest footprint in the industry and when you combine our proprietary Welding Vision System with the insights provided from NovData™, you get a world-class solution that will make you more competitive in your market. From Novarc Technologies in a global collaboration with ABICOR BINZEL.
Spool Welding Robot Advantages:
- 3-5x improvement in diameter inches per shift
- Less than 1% repair rates
- Average ROI of 6-18 months
- Accountability and traceability for your QA/QC team through our Welding Vision System
- Easy access to detailed operations reports through NovData™
- Smallest footprint in the industry
- Extend the careers of your welders
- Complete ABICOR BINZEL product solution suit including ABIROB W, TH6D laser seam tracking, EWR 2 Net, and MasterLiner
"We wouldn't have been able to make the lead time on our current project without the Spool Welding Robot."
- Paul Hebson, Vice President and General Manger, Vancouver Drydock - Seaspan
Watch the full Seaspan SWR testimonial, here
Spool Welding Robot at a Glance:
Massive Productivity Gains
Our customers are achieving 3-5x productivity improvements with their SWR, which is making them much more competitive when bidding on jobs and increasing margin on jobs they've already won. With the SWR you can:
- Acheive 200-350 diameter inches per shift
- Deliver 90% arc-on time with our non-stop root-to-cap process
- Produce full penetration x-ray quality welds
- Reduce dependency on scarce, highly-skilled pipe welders
Improved Weld Quality
In North America we see repair rates at pipe fabrication shops around 3-5%. The SWR brings this down to less than 1% by producing consistent, high quality welds. If you’re currently producing 6,000 welds per year with a 3% repair rate, you’re likely spending around $180,000/year in repairs. By reducing the repair rate to less than 1%, you can put the repair costs back onto your bottom-line. Here’s what you should expect from your SWR:
- Lower than 1% on repair rates
- Consistent high quality welds every time
- Meet key quality test requirements such as Radiography test, Charpy Impact test, Hardness test, Bend test, Tensile test, and more
- Weld to ASME B31.1 and B31.3 standards
Welding Vision System
Novarc’s Welding Vision System records every weld in real time to provide accountability and traceability for your QA/QC Managers. Here are some highlights:
- Enhanced view of groove and puddle
- Every weld is recorded in real time with key weld parameters embedded on screen
- Improve weld quality by analyzing recorded videos in parallel with the weld parameters saved by NovData™
Novarc’s comprehensive production monitoring software, NovData™, brings further traceability into your production by automatically creating in-depth production reports. Here are some highlights of NovData™:
- Track and improve your pipe welding productivity with the daily operational reports automatically generated everyday
- Bid competitively on projects by applying cost savings gathered from daily operations reports
- Manage and track the critical weld parameters for accurate troubleshooting and enhanced quality control pratices with the log reports automatically generated for each weld
Smallest Footprint in the Industry
The SWR has the smallest footprint in the industry of only 4’ x 4’. It is small enough to fit anywhere in your shop without the need to change your current shop workflow.
- Integrates with 2-5 positioners for maximum arc-on time
- Flexible layout to accommodate a wide range of spool sizes and configurations
- Position anywhere in your shop (against the wall, in the corner, or in the middle of the shop)
Spool Welding Robot Videos:
Spool Welding Robot Capabilities
Novarc SWR Welding Co-Bot | Weld.com
ABIROB W + Spool Welding Robot
SWR Welding a 36" Pipe
TH6D Laser Seam Tracking + Spool Welding Robot
Please note consultations are for U.S. and Canada-based companies only. If outside that area, please contact your area ABICOR BINZEL office.
|Pipe diameters:||2" - 60"|
Carbon & low alloy steels
Stainless & nickel alloys
|Working radius:||15 feet|
|Footprint:||4' x 4'|
|Manipulator height:||15 feet|
|Manipulator working height:||1 - 9 feet|
|HMI screen:||15" touch (analog resistive)|
|Pendant:||6.5" touch with joystick|
|Horizontal seam tracking accuracy:||+ / - 0.1 mm|
|Vertical distance control accuracy:||+ / - 0.1 mm|
|Weave stroke:||1 inch|
|Weave frequency:||0 - 5 Hz|
|Weave dwell:||0 - 0.4 seconds|
.035" - 0.62"
0.9 - 1.6 mm
Solid, metal-cored, & flux-cored
30 - 1200 in/min
0.8 - 30.5 m/min
ABIROB® W Robotic MIG Gun
|ABIROB® W 500|
550 A CO2
500 A Mixed gases M 21 (EN ISO 14175)
|Duty cycle:||100 %|
|Wire-Ø:||0.8 - 1.6 mm|
MasterLiner Wire Feed Conduit
|22.0 mm (without outer hose) / 34.0 mm (with outer hose)|
|Wire Ø:||max. 1.2 mm||max. 1.2 mm|
|Weight:||approx. 400 g/m
with aramid coating)
|approx. 250 g/m
(without outer hose) /
approx. 400 g/m
(with outer hose)
|Recommended length (max.):||25.0 m||25.0 m|
|Bend radius (min.):||150 mm||150 mm|
|Flexibility/tensile strength:||1.500 N||600 N|
G 1/8″ and optional
|G 1/8″ and optional
G 1/4″ (on request)
TH6D Laser Seam Tracker
|Measuring rate:||60 – 240 Hz|
|Dimensions (WxHxD):||70 x 40 x 100 mm|
|Operating temperature:||10ºC to 45ºC|
EWR 2 / EWR 2 Net Gas Management System
24 V DC ±20 %
24 V DC
|Media temperature:||10 – 40 °C
14 – 122 °F
|Ambient temperature:||-10 – +50 °C
50 – 104 °F
|Relative humidity:||20 – 90 %|
|Flow rate range:||2 – 30 l/min
4.23 – 63.5 cfh
|Tolerance flow rate:||
|Shunt types:||150 A / 300 A / 500 A|
|Gas inlet pressure:||1 – 6 bar
14.5 – 87 psi
When you see a solution like the collaborative Spool Welding Robot, there are surely questions. Some simple, some more complex. Based on your feedback, we've compiled the 23 most frequently asked questions on the collaborative Spool Welding Robot to answer for you.
1. What are the main features of the collaborative Spool Welding Robot?
Using a laser scanner, point laser and closed-loop control systems, the SWR automatically maintains the torch to pipe distance with 0.1mm accuracy and assists the operator in seam tracking so primary focus can remain on the weld. Depending on the fit up, arc light, and spatters, additional operator input may be required for seam tracking and height control.
As a collaborative welding robot, the SWR is designed to meet all the safety requirements of ISO 15066; therefore, it does not require fencing or a safety cell. A junior welder can stand beside the robot and make changes during the weld as required.
Among industrial spool welding robots, the SWR has the largest ratio of reach to footprint. With a footprint of 16 sq ft, the SWR has a radial reach of 15’ which allows for welds in pipe modules and spools up to and including 30’.
Designed for semi-automatic 1G roll welding, the SWR significantly improves the ergonomics of pipe welding by having the robot take on the heavy lifting of a consistent weave motion.
The SWR provides repeatability and reliability; The NovData™ logging software captures all available data for each weld pass for future analysis and reporting.
Weld Vision System
The SWR is equipped with a welding vision system which can display the weld to the operator as it progresses and records a video from each weld for analysis and future production improvements.
2. What size of pipe can be welded with the SWR?
The base model of the SWR can weld pipes from 2” to 60” with appropriate pipe positioners.
3. Which welding processes can the Spool Welding Robot support?
The single torch SWR uses GMAW or MCAW from root to cap.
The dual torch SWR uses GMAW or MCAW for root, and MCAW or FCAW for fill and cap.
SWR uses modified short-circuit waveform on the root, that is STT, RMD or LSC.
TIG is currently not offered with SWR.
Talk to our sales team if you’d like to know more about your specific process.
4. What material can be welded with the SWR?
The SWR can weld carbon and low alloy steels, as well as stainless and nickel alloys. The seam tracking and height control features are only available on carbon steel at this point. Recipe development for nickel alloys is incumbent on customers.
5. Does the Spool Welding Robot weld pipe root to cap automatically?
Yes, the SWR has the ability to switch between weld modes without shutting off the arc.
The standard SWR process is GMAW with solid wire. The solid wire has moderate levels of silica (not heavy slag). This silica is burnt by the arc as the arc goes over it. Operators can see this throughout the weld process using the welding vision system.
6. Can I use my existing positioner?
The SWR can easily be integrated to work with different positioners including Team Industries, LJ, Profax, and Preston Eastin. Our team can verify if we can integrate with your specific positioner, brand, make and model.
The robot has the ability to integrate with 2 to 5 positioners in a layout determined by you. The picture on the left shows some of the possibilities with 2, 3, 4 and 5 positioners.
Integrated positioners that are not being used for welding with SWR, can be rolled via foot pedals and used for pipe preparation, tacking, grinding.
7. What power sources can be used with the Spool Welding Robot? Can I use my existing power source?
Power source options are Lincoln PowerWave® R450, Miller Auto-Continuum™ 500, and Fronius TPS 400i LSC Advanced. All units are quoted with a power source.
No, we recommend purchasing one of the power sources mentioned above to use with the SWR.
8. What size root gap is used when welding and what are the tolerances?
The pipe/components are fit-up to a typical 3/32 in. (2.4 mm) root opening (gap) with a tolerance of ± 1/32".
9. How does SWR deal with Hi-Lo on pipes?
SWR operators are trained to scan the pipe visually prior to the start of the weld for assessing the hi-lo, root gap and inspecting the tacks. If the Hi-Lo is higher than the amount specified by the SWR bevel requirements document, the pipe has to be refitted. If the Hi-Lo is within the allowed tolerances, the operator can enable the torch weave dwell functions. During the root pass, the operator can address the Hi-Lo using the asymmetric dwell and root save to weld the root. During the fill and cap passes, the operator uses the dwell function to manage the Hi-Lo. In this scenario, the laser-assisted seam tracking and height control have to be disabled for all passes to better allow the operator to control the torch position.
10. How does SWR deal with fitting to pipe connections when thicknesses are different on the two sides?
Similar to the Hi-Lo, SWR operators accommodate this scenario by enabling the dwell function on the thicker side of the joint prior to the start of the weld. If the inner diameters of the two sides do not match, operators have to grind down the inside to make sure the toes align as they would do in manual /semi-automatic welding. (Fittings are pre-heated prior to the weld).
11. Does the SWR fall under robotic welding from a welding procedure standpoint?
Based on industry standards, the SWR falls under mechanized welding, given that the operator interacts with the machine and makes on-the-fly adjustments.
12. What floor footprint is required for the SWR?
With a 4′ x 4′ footprint, the SWR has the smallest industry footprint where we typically see anything up from 7' x 30'. Therefore, it does not cannibalize shop floor space and it won't interfere with production flow.
13. How much productivity and capacity can I expect from using the SWR?
This depends on your current welding process. One SWR with an operator can produce the same output as 4 welders using SMAW, and 2-3 welders using manual root to cap GMAW.
14. Why does productivity improve with the SWR?
By eliminating the torch hand control, the mechanized weave relieves welder fatigue so they can expect a higher deposition rate, higher production, faster track speeds and the ability to run pre-programmed welds.
15. What is the ROI on investing in an SWR unit?
With just a few details about your operation, we’ll have your ROI calculated. Typically our customers see an ROI of 6-18 months.
16. How does the SWR fit in the production flow?
The SWR is designed to fit in pipe fabrication shops because the height does not interfere with overhead cranes. In addition, the SWR can be easily parked away to allow shop traffic to pass.
17. How long does it take to install and commission the SWR
Assuming an integration with two new positioners (from the approved list) , it takes two days to install the SWR and only one day to commission it.
18. How long does it take to train an operator and what skill level should they have?
It takes 3 - 5 days to train an operator for both operations and maintenance. Operators need to know the basics of pipe welding. We generally recommended training 3 - 5 operators with at least one journeyman pipe welder.
19. To which Code requirements can welding procedure specifications (WPS) be qualified with the SWR?
The SWR has qualified multiple WPS to ASME Section IX requirements, including Charpy Impact testing with full mechanical testing (bend & tensile tests) and supplemental hardness testing. WPS can be developed for other codes, as required.
20. What weld quality requirements can be realized during production welding with the SWR?
The SWR produces consistent quality welds during production , characterized with low repair rates when non-destructively tested with radiographic and ultrasonic examinations to typical ASME B31.1 and B31.3 requirements.
21. Do I need to create a new weld procedure when purchasing the SWR? Can customers use Novarc’s PQRs as-is?
ASME IX Code is quite clear that each organization must develop and qualify their own WPS/PQRs and Welding Operators. Novarc can assist customers with those activities and utilize its qualified WPS/PQRs for reference/baseline. However, customers cannot use Novarc’s WPS as-is for their production purposes as that would be a regulatory non-compliance.
22. How can I monitor the production?
The SWR comes with the NovData™ production monitoring software that produces daily reports. The daily report includes: production time, welding time, pipe diameter and more. It also creates a time-stamped log file with voltage, current, WFS, travel speed and all other relevant weld and motion parameters for each weld.
The SWR also comes with a camera built into its robotic arm. With this feature, operators get a clear view from inside the groove on the HMI as each weld progresses in real time. Novarc’s welding vision system records all videos for future analysis.
23. What shielding gas is required?
Welding shielding depends on the weld process and filler metal. Our technical team can assist you with specific welding applications. The recommended gases for Carbon Steel pipes are the following:
- Solid wire: 85% Argon 15% Co2, or 90% Argon 10% CO2
- Metal core: 90% Argon 10% CO2, or 98% Argon 2% CO2
- Flux core: 75% Argon 25%, or 100% C02
24. What are the power and air requirements for the SWR?
The SWR needs 3 phase power and minimum 85 PSI compressed air. The electrical power can be any of the standard voltages between 208V and 600V.
25. How does the robot connect with the rotator?
We replace the existing positioner/rotator motor with a servo motor so the SWR would be able to control it.
26. How does the safety system work?
The SWR has built-in speed and torque monitoring systems that ensure speed and forces are within required levels at all times.
27. How much maintenance is required for the SWR?
The SWR is designed to be a robust machine. As a result, only minimal maintenance is required. Maintenance training is included with the robot training. Maintenance is similar to a standard welding machine.
28. Can the SWR be moved around the shop?
The SWR needs to be anchored to a minimum 6’ concrete slab. However, you can move it between previously installed base locations using overhead cranes.
29. How tight can the SWR arm get to the red mast for welding?
Approximately 48 inch for welding.
30. Does the water cooler need a flow of water connected to it? If not, how often does it need to be refilled?
No, It is a closed loop system so if there is no leak there is no need for refill.
31. If we would like to add the dual torch to our exciting SWR, what changes would need to be done to the system?
Several parts will need to be added to the machine including the booster kit, masterliner and extra cables and wire feeder. Threaded holes and brackets will need to be added to the manipulator mast and arms to support these things. It will take a maximum of 3 days to complete everything including testing.
32. What is the size of the pendant screen?
The pendant screen is 6.5".
33. Can the SWR be used outside the pipe shop?
The SWR is designed for indoor usage. It can be used in the field or in a work yard, provided it is protected from the elements and within the temperature range of 5 - 50 degrees celsius.
34. Can you copy data from one SWR to another?
Yes, you can easily copy the data from an SWR to another using a USB.
35. How heavy is the SWR?
Approximately 3500 lb.
36. What are the bevel requirements for the pipes?
Refer to the Bevel requirements document.
37. Is the progression of weld with SWR vertical up or vertical down?
SWR is specifically designed for 1G roll welding as per QW-122.1. That means it’s weld progress is not vertical up or down. We have seen some clients describe it as a “special position” as per QW-133.1
Any end-user spec requirement with respect to vertical up or down welding is not applicable for roll welding. The intent and application of such a clause is for out-of-position welding only. For example, the 5G or 6G test position where the pipe is stationary and the welding arc must manually (or via orbital unit) travel from 6 to 12 o’clock (vertical up) or from 12 to 6 0’cloclk (vertical down). Vertical up or down welding will often utilize different welding techniques (weaving patterns), different electrode classifications, electrode diameters, different heat inputs, etc. Hence, that is the reason some end users will put special requirements for any change from vertical up to down (and vice versa).