Precision Handling

Praxair, LJ Welding Automation Forge Exclusive North America Partnership for Material Handling Solutions

When it comes to automation for welding facilities, robotic welding is the technology that immediately comes to mind for most people. But another group of products can automate welding processes to enhance productivity, improve weld quality and create a safer workplace environment. Material handling equipment can be a cost-effective way to add automation for a shop. Welding positioners, manipulators and turntables can serve as stand-alone equipment or be combined with pipe stands and rollers, pipe conveying equipment, and pipe and vessel turning rolls to create work cells that save time and labor, provide improved access and increase productivity.

Praxair offers an extensive line of ProStar® material handling products through its exclusive arrangement in North America with LJ Welding Automation, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. LJ Welding Automation specializes in engineering and manufacturing positioning, welding automation, material handling and custom equipment for both large and small welding facilities. “The Praxair and LJ Welding Automation arrangement has been a success because of the complementary strengths each company bring to the table,” said Ryan Holt, Chief Operating Officer & Partner for LJ Welding Automation. “LJ offers our customers maximum flexibility with one of the largest in-stock inventories of positioning and welding automation equipment available for rent or purchase in North America, along with the ability to custom engineer systems to best suit any application, while Praxair offers local and personalized service support North America wide. For all of our customers, this is the best of both worlds.”

“Having the right material handling equipment can make a huge difference for a facility’s efficiency and productivity,” said Chris Vihnanek, Director-Metal Fabrication for Praxair. “Our ProStar line can fulfill virtually any handling and positioning project, and along with LJ Welding Automation, Praxair can custom engineer and build solutions to match a customer’s specifications.” Praxair, LJ Welding Automation and Panasonic recently collaborated to engineer a fully robotic positioning and welding system for a repetitive, high-volume welding process. The cell features a ProStar positioner with a 3,000-pound capacity and Panasonic MIG welding robot.

Valuable Bench Players

 

 

One of the simplest ways for a small shop to add automation capabilities is with a ProStar benchtop welding positioner. The PRS 08P-100 8-inch model and PRS 12P-700 12-inch model are designed for tasks such as turning small pipes, fittings or wheels when turning torque or tilting functions are required. Both are available with features such as an inert gas purge fitting for stainless steel or TIG welding, hollow spindle, synchronized gearing and torch mount options. The positioners are operated with a variablespeed, forward/reverse hand pendant or can be equipped with optional footswitch controls. An available travel cart with height adjustability increases the versatility of a benchtop positioner, enabling the ability to move it around the shop or use at offlocation job sites. “Benchtop positioners are a great tool to help welders produce consistent, highquality welds on piece work that might otherwise be difficult to maneuver,” Vihnanek said. “It enables a welder to concentrate on laying down the weld and not worry about moving the part by hand or having it slip and create a potential safety hazard.”

“Having the right material handling equipment can make a huge difference for a facility’s efficiency and productivity,”  

-Chris Vihnanek Director Metal Fabrication for Praxair

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Handle Big Steel with Ease

 

For larger, more awkward parts such as chassis components or structural steel, Praxair offers ProStar gear tilt positioners and heavy-duty tilt positioners in a wide variety of sizes and configurations.  The heavy-duty tilt positioners include adjustable and fixed-base models on the smaller units and power-elevating models for larger units. Load capacities range from 1,500 pounds for the PRS 15-4 AB (24-inch table diameter) to 60,000 pounds for the PRS 600-12 AB, with a 96-inch square table. Positioners can also be custom-manufactured for virtually every manufacturing requirement. “Pipe turning can be difficult, cumbersome work, but ProStar pipeturners can greatly increase efficiency and productivity for heavy-wall, large-diameter pipe spooling applications with heavy-wall large offset loads,” said Holt. “ Additionally, the largediameter pipeturners also accommodate any size gripper or chuck.” 

Ease of use is a priority for all pipeturners - the three models have highly adjustable height clearances – up to 69 inches for the PRS 16P-500 and PRS 25P-100 and up to 96 inches for the PRS 45P-444. LJ low-profile turntables (LPTs) have the lowest profile available on the market. LPTs are used for precise positioning in the flat or horizontal position. Custom turntables are also available. Height-adjustable pipe rolls are used for pipe welding applications ranging from light tubes to extra-heavy walled pipe. LJ engineers and manufactures manipulators with boom stiffness and welding head stability, operator controls and ease-of-use. Automatic welding heads are designed to be mounted on a stiff and nearly vibrationless boom and moved to the desired height with powered column. The welding head then can be positioned as required for automated welding of large vessels or other work pieces. 

“To be competitive in today’s marketplace, you need to take advantage of every advantage you can get,” said Holt. “Automation – from robots to material handling – can help even the smallest shop compete on a global scale.”

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Precision Handling