Weldbot's 1M Weld Milestone is a Sign of Success for WARDJet's Trademarked Grate System, While the Welding Machine Remains Reflective of WARDJet’s Engineering Culture
When you make complex automation machines for customers day in and day out like we do at WARDJet, soon you begin to see opportunities for designing machines for your own shop. This is true in the case of the Weldbot, WARDJet’s mechanized, gantry-based welding robot that's used to make our best-selling Job Shop Grates™. Using the same drive system as our J-Series waterjets, Weldbot is then programmed to make small joint welds using a customized version of our own CNC software.
Weldbot Origins After many years of practical experience with waterjet cutting, WARDJet developed Job Shop Grates as the ideal support solution, which has proved to outperform typical slat-based setups. Making our Job Shop Grates requires as many as 3,000 welds, which was a tedious and back-breaking job for our in-house welding crew. However, the system provided a flat, sturdy surface for precise waterjet cutting that is integral to the WARDJet design. So we continued to make grates by hand for many years, until we had an epiphany in 2013–pairing our CNC technology with a welding system could take over this undesirable job. Before the Weldbot, creating one grate took somewhere around 6 hours for whichever welder drew the short straw. The Weldbot could produce the same grate in only 2 hours and 8 minutes with limited human interaction. Welders all over the shop rejoiced!
1 Million Weld Milestone This month Weldbot has hit 1,000,000 welds, a milestone for a single calendar year. If it was an employee, the Weldbot would be one of our most efficient workers. This year alone, Weldbot has fabricated well over 450 Job Shop Grates in a variety of sizes without taking a single lunch break. Not to mention, Weldbot doesn’t mind working well past 5pm. The resulting grates are also more sturdy and reliable than they were when they were being welded by hand. We like to think of it as a ‘win-win’ scenario, allowing us to keep up with demand and save the backs of our welders.
Why Grates? With slats being such a common solution for CNC tables, people often wonder why we’ve chosen to invest in grates. Combine the factors listed below and compare them to the required maintenance, limitations and inconsistent performance of most slats systems, and you’ll start to get the idea.
• Reliability – Unlike independent slats, our grates, being a welded grid, provide a more consistently level and sturdy platform across the entire table. Job Shop Grates, combined with WARDJet’s sturdy tank and support system, means you’re not constantly wondering if vibration or an uneven table is causing you issues.
• Versatility – The grid design is ideal for a variety of materials and part designs. The system also allows operators to clamp material almost anywhere on the table with ease.
• Durability & Design – Our grates are modular in design, meaning you can extend the life of your grates by flipping, rotating and swapping position of the independent sections to reduce the wear on any one section of the table. Furthermore, the grates are made of thin 16 gauge steel which reduces horizontal surface that could cause kick-back as the stream passes over the support.
Don’t Take Our Word For It. Our records show that waterjet owners never go back to slats once they witness the advantages of our flexible and stable Job Shop Grate support system. Owners see an improvement in the final cost per part as well as an increase in loading speed by using Job Shop Grates, therefore proving profitability. So when we hit one million welds this year, not only does it confirm that demand for our grates is up, it probably means they work too.
What Weldbot Tells You About WARDJet As you learn about WARDJet’s engineering and design practices, you’ll see that Weldbot is reflective of our culture as a whole. Whether it’s an internal project or one for a customer, our engineering-first mentality means we are proactive in creating better design solutions. Similarly, our company focus of providing Tailored Waterjet Solutions™ was derived from the desire to build individual customers a more efficient machine based on the specific problems they face.