Press release

ARC Specialties selects Universal Robots as ‘Golden Arm’ in New Artificial Intelligence Pipe Welding System Launching at OTC 2019

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The toughest welds to make are full penetration, single sided, V butt,
pipe welds. Historically, ARC
, a Houston-based developer of welding solutions,
declined these jobs because joint fit-up was never repeatable. “Only
human welders with a ‘golden arm’ able to compensate for variation in
root openings, weld center lines, and groove volumes could handle this
challenge,” says Dan Allford, President of ARC Specialties. “With the
industry facing labor shortages, we decided to develop an intelligent
machine with complete knowledge of pipe welding, with full motion and
welding control.”

The Artificial Intelligence Pipe Welding System (AIPW) incorporates the
6-axis UR5
collaborative robot
arm from Universal
to carry out the challenging welds. “The UR5 now becomes our
‘golden arm’,” says Allford. “The UR5 is small enough to be portable yet
still allows full freedom of motion for both the laser scanner and
welding torch. Being collaborative the robot is able to safely work in
close proximity to humans.” The AIPW officially launches at ARC
Specialties’ booth
at the Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, TX, May

Stuart Shepherd, Regional Sales Director of Universal Robots’ Americas
division, is delighted to see the UR5 power ARC’s AIPW system. “This
implementation underscores our collaborative robots’ ability to handle
heavy-duty processing tasks that demand both high precision and
real-time adaptability,” he says. “We’re excited to share this solution
with the oil and gas industry.”

The AIPW pre-scans the root opening (gap) using a 2D laser, then uses
the data to generate the robot path and welding parameters. Gap
variations are compensated for with changes in oscillation, torch
position, travel speed and welding conditions. The UR5 positions the
torch over a tack weld to start the arc to insure 100% root weld
acceptance. Fill and cap pass programs are optimized to fill the groove
using user selectable weave or stringer bead welding techniques. The
AIPW uses the Miller Auto Continuum welding power supply to weld the
root with Regulated Metal Deposition (RMD), then switches to pulsed
spray for the fill and cap passes. This combination of Gas Metal Arc
Welding techniques maximizes welding productivity while producing X-Ray
quality, full penetration pipe welds.

The AIPW follows two other successful welding solutions featuring
Universal Robots developed by ARC Specialties; the MIG welding SnapWeld
and the plasma cutting SnapCut.
SnapWeld just became the first product ever to win New Equipment
Digest’s Innovation
two years in a row.

About Universal Robots
Universal Robots was co-founded in
2005 by the company’s CTO, Esben Østergaard – the 2018 Engelberger Award
Winner – who wanted to make robot technology accessible to all by
developing small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, flexible industrial
robots that are safe to work with. Since the first collaborative robot
(cobot) was launched in 2008, the company has experienced considerable
growth with the user-friendly cobot now sold worldwide. The company,
which is a part of Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense, Denmark,
and has subsidiaries and regional offices in the United States, Germany,
France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Turkey, China, India, Singapore,
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico. In 2017, Universal Robots had a
revenue of USD 170 million. For more information, please visit
or read our blog at

About ARC Specialties
ARC Specialties was founded in 1983 by
Dan Allford to provide welding services and weld automation to industry.
Since then, ARC Specialties has grown to a 60+ person company occupying
a campus with over 75,000 sq ft. in Houston, TX. These buildings house
all the components for a vertically integrated manufacturing solution
provider: research, design, manufacturing, assembly and testing at a
single location. ARC Specialties has built machines for companies in 21
countries and a variety of industries. The staff includes project
managers, mechanical and electrical designers as well as welders,
electricians and assembly technicians.

Images of AIPW available here: