Caring for wounded robots

Caring for wounded robots

Welding technology is getting primetime exposure on Comedy Central's Battlebots show. The Lincoln Electric Co., Cleveland, has teamed with BattleBots to provide a robot "triage" area where contestants can bring their robots for welding repairs.

The Lincoln Electric Co. supplies a welding-repair area for robots damaged during TV's BattleBots competition.


Welding technology is getting primetime exposure on Comedy Central's Battlebots show. The Lincoln Electric Co., Cleveland, has teamed with BattleBots to provide a robot "triage" area where contestants can bring their robots for welding repairs.

In Battlebots, remote-controlled robots duke it out in a hazard-laden ring known as the BattleBox. The competition lasts six days, and robots advance from elimination rounds to the final championship.

According to Russ Farrar, Lincoln's San Francisco district manager and the coordinator of the company's efforts at BattleBots, his triage staff averages 125 to 150 repairs over the entire competition. These jobs range from work on weapons and frames to motor mounts and drive shafts. In addition, the materials vary greatly — from mild steel to aluminum, titanium, and chrome-moly.

"We have seen some robots so damaged that they have come to us as parts in a box," says Farrar. "Before our involvement, some of the more heavily damaged robots may have been out of the competition. But we perform welds quickly and professionally, which means robots can be ready for their next match."

Peter Lambert-son, vice president of operations for BattleBots, says that Lincoln handles all robot weld and repair. "When we first began competitions with 80 or so robots, our staff would handle the repairs, but now that the average competition draws between 500 and 600 robots, we are happy to have Lincoln on board."

Lincoln has equipped the robot triage area with the latest welding equipment, including the Square Wave TIG 175 and 275, the Power MIG 255 and 300, and the Pro-Cut 80 plasma cutter. The company also offers clinics on GMAW and GTAW during the competition. Lincoln partner Nesco of Berkeley, Calif., supplies the welding and pneumatic gases.

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