Six (GMAW) Torch Welding System for Heavy I-Beams

June 27, 2017

Welding Automation Systems

Dual Manipulator Beam Welder - Render - Angle Down view_IRCO Automation
IRCO recently delivered their newest steel beam welding system for a client in the oil & gas industry. The system features two interconnected Column & Boom Welding Manipulators running six Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) torches, three on each Manipulator, simultaneously performing fillet welds on both sides of large steel I-Beams.
The steel I-beams can measure up to: 3” thick steel, 8’ high (beams) and 65’ long; weighing up to 60,000 lbs.

This is the third system provided by IRCO to this client and a testament to the successful partnerships that IRCO builds its business around.

Dual Manipulator System-Full view-IRCO Automation

The custom system was designed and built by IRCO working in partnership with the client’s production, engineering & welding teams. System highlights include:

  • 3 x increase in production throughput
  • Increased operator safety
  • 6 torch GMAW system gets the same deposition rate of SAW without having to deal with slag and flux
  • Modular design allows the system components to be repurposed once the project is completed


Beam Welding System - Fit Up Station Render - IRCO Automation
Steel Beam - Size comparison graphic - IRCO Automation


Column & Boom Weld Manipulator with Cable Management Bridge

The client challenged IRCO to design a system which would provide them with improved throughput and safety but also give them the option of using the system for future projects. IRCO configured the system using IRCO Welding Manipulators with the methodology that the equipment can be repurposed for other mechanized welding applications in the future.
Power to the system is supplied by a conductor bar which provides clean power to the Manipulator and removes the need for cable management. The two Weld Manipulators are connected by a cable bridge which passes all the power (and communications) between the two units.
Dual Manipulator system with Cable Connector Bridge - IRCO Automation
The system is designed to travel up to 150 feet, spanning two separate fixturing beds. This allows one station to be fit up while the other station is welding. Each Weld Manipulator rides on a powered travel cart connected to an idler trolley. The idler trolley carries the welding equipment & bulk wire, and can be removed or customized depending on future requirements.
Weld Manipulator HMI Control Station on cart - IRCO Automation

Operator Station

The main power cart carries an operator platform which moves with the Welding Manipulator and allows a clear view of the weld zone. This operator platform includes a completely integrated control interface with remote weld viewing monitors and handheld touch screen HMI’s.
The system also includes operation lights to check current running status, convex safety mirrors and E-Stop bumper circuits on the cart.


6 GMAW Torch close-up of beam girder - IRCO Automation

6-Torch GMAW Weld Head Configuration

Both sides of the beam are welded simultaneously by the six GMAW torches, allowing for single pass fillet welds of 3” thick steel. The system includes laser seam tracking, remote video monitoring and allows each torch to be configured separately.

If you have any questions about this welding system or any other product that IRCO offers, contact an IRCO representative today.