GMAW has seen a lot of changes since the first inverters were introduced some 30 years ago. Today’s innovative inverters are smaller, modular and more intuitive than ever.
Increasingly, this forward technology is being included in the equipment mix at fabricating shops and manufacturing facilities alike, and an example can be found in the Fronius TPS/i. The newest Fronius inverter uses high-speed communication to create an intelligent arc that responds quicker to variables in application.
Both the manual and robotic welding systems are easy to use – a boon for employers who have welders possessing various skill levels. From the 320i model all the way up to the 600i, these inverters are able to improve a welder’s ability on the job.
The challenge for all welders to attain a high-quality weld is met by the TPS/i. Experienced welders will notice the high arc performance. With a single button, welders can change parameters and use their own individual arc settings for every joint.
Novice welders will find the similarity to a smartphone app easy to learn and understand. Though still important, issues like torch position and contact-tip-to-work distance are less critical because the TPS/i uses real-time arc and electrical feedback information to compensate for any variations. This means both advanced and novice welders can achieve the best possible weld with little effort.
In addition to its user-friendly interface, the TPS/i exhibits a myriad of benefits in robotic applications. Unlike a skilled welder, the robot can’t adjust mid-weld to correct an issue, which makes an intuitive arc even more beneficial. Faster travel speeds are achieved more easily without a loss of weld quality.
Though part access and fitup are typical challenges in robotic welding, the advanced feedback and arc adaptation of the TPS/i reduce the impact of these issues. The TPS/i can interface with all major robot manufacturers and utilize most protocols, minimizing the need for specialized integrations.
Whether it’s a manual or robotic welding system, the intuitive, stable arc and overall weld performance are the biggest payoffs of the TPS/i. Among all of the components that make this weld technology possible, it’s the high-speed communication that ensures quality welds. Just as the most advanced computer in the world would suffer from slow Internet speeds, the welding inverter requires timely feedback to adapt the arc.
This constant flow of information enables arc adaptations to happen in the background without any user input. The TPS/i reacts intuitively to change the arc for issues like poor part fit-up, torch angle and even an unsteady hand. Using real-time information to predict the weld cycle and adjust weld parameters to create the best possible arc, adjustments are happening continually during the welding process. In doing so, welders can deliver consistent quality welds with less rework, which increases their overall productivity.
Improvements in weld quality and application are even more noticeable when advanced process modes are introduced into the scenario. With the TPS/i, LSC (low spatter control) and PMC (pulse multi-control) are two of these advanced modes.
With LSC, Fronius has taken a conventional short-circuit waveform and modified it. This process changes the electrical current at several key moments within the weld to achieve low heat input and reduced spatter. The current is reduced to a minimum when the wire makes contact with the weld puddle to eliminate the violent detachment that produces spatter. The current then increases to pinch the wire droplet.
From there, a second reduction in current occurs to transfer the droplet to the weld puddle. These reductions in current ensure low heat transfer to the base metal, which is good for thinner gauge metals that are prone to warping from heat transference. In robotic welding, this process excels in applications such as welding automotive seat frames. These frames use thinner, high-strength steels that distort easily with excess heat.
Another element of the LSC process is what Fronius has dubbed LSC Root, designed specifically for root pass welding. The key elements of LSC still apply, but the high peak of current is increased to push the weld puddle into the joint producing excellent root penetration. This can be customized even further with Fronius’ Dynamic Correction adjustments that allow the user to define the arc pressure at the high peak of current. These adjustments enable LSC Root to work with a large range of gap distances and metal profiles.
With PMC pulse technology, welders can achieve higher travel speeds and superior consistency when compared to standard pulse welding. Through the Fronius SpeedNet communications system, the arc is monitored fast enough for the TPS/i to make adjustments, producing fewer weld defects even at high travel speeds.
Another feature within the PMC process is the penetration stabilizer. This new technology stabilizes the depth of the weld penetration by keeping the same amperage if the stickout changes. Proper penetration is ensured even with inconsistent parts or longer stick-outs. Advanced processes, such as LSC and PMC, can be added to the core TPS/i system at purchase or through a simple software update.
Users in mind
At Fronius, user experience was a key consideration in developing the TPS/i. The most noticeable example of this is the touch-screen interface. Fronius took care to consider not only the user but also the types of environments where welding occurs.
The display is durable, easy to read from any angle and can be used without removing welding gloves. Setup is intuitive, which takes a lot of pressure off the welder. This also makes training new employees easier.
Because all of the text is spelled out, the need to memorize acronyms is removed. Additionally, most major languages are supported as part of the core system. Even when utilizing the advanced process modes, the controls are self-explanatory and simple to use.
Another benefit built into TPS/i is the ability to customize and save job settings. This feature allows multiple users to save their weld preferences and access them with just a few taps on the screen or turns of the integrated rotary push knob. This benefits and speeds up shift changes by allowing welders to resume welding more quickly.
The manual torch has controls located right on the torch to give the user the ability to change modes and settings for a quicker and more natural welding experience. An added light lets the user inspect their work without needing to put the torch down.a
Overall, the system can be expanded and upgraded without the need for special tools or a service tech. However, Fronius ensures customers are supported by a team of weld engineers and service techs. Questions about weld processes, maintenance and repair can be handled over the phone or through email. If on-site support is necessary, that can also be arranged through the support department. Before making a purchase, customers can also request a weld test to see how the new system could potentially improve their welding application.
With the tagline of Shifting the Limits, Fronius isn’t about to rest on its laurels. Technology is always evolving, and the company plans to stay on the cutting edge of robotic and manual welding with its TPS/i and future upgrades to the system.