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Network Communications for Weld Cell Integration - Status of Standards Development



William G. Rippey


Network technology is being used more and more to replace direct wired links to integrate equipment components of automated and semi-automated welding systems. The standardization of device-level network technology, and the gradual appearance of network capable welding devices, means that users and integrators are facing the challenge of using networks for the first time, or of choosing one among multiple kinds of networks. A survey of network technologies currently being used for welding products is presented. Two formal welding standards efforts, one by the American Welding Society (AWS) A9 Committee and one by the Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA), are described. An effort by the Robotics Industries Association (RIA) in sponsoring general purpose network standards for robots is described. Examples of non-standard uses of device-level networks in welding products are given.The AWS A9 committee can gather experts to express the needs of vendors, integrators, and users, and if appropriate develop standards that will reduce the number of diverging choices to be made.This paper should be useful to users and integrators of weld cells to evaluate the different network technologies available for implementing welding systems. It may also help device developers make decisions about which technology to adopt, or it may suggest new welding areas where networks can be employed. The goal of standards efforts is to make a common communications solution available for new products and new systems, allowing vendors to provide compatible component products to integrate. Standards could also ease the burden of system developers who currently spend significant effort designing custom protocols or point-to-point interfaces.
Industrial Robot-An International Journal
No. 1


A9.4, automatic welding, CAN bus, Ethernet, high level protocol, networks, robotic welding, weld cell integration


Rippey, W. (2003), Network Communications for Weld Cell Integration - Status of Standards Development, Industrial Robot-An International Journal, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created June 18, 2003, Updated February 17, 2017