Home News & Events Shipyard Weld Efficiency: You Have to Crawl before you Run

Shipyard Weld Efficiency: You Have to Crawl before you Run

Jan. 16, 2014

The new age of robotic mechanization technology has arrived on the market.  Thanks to the help of RTT (Robotic Technologies of Tennessee) and the engineering staff at Bug-O Systems International, they have been working for the last year to finally release the newest and most state-of-the-art manual/robotic welding system that the world has ever seen. Combining cutting edge robotics with the welding and cutting experience of Bug-O Systems more than 65 year history, a new magnetic trackless crawler will be soon used in shipyards and various other heavy industry throughout the U.S. and around the world, to prepare, cut and weld all types of materials.

Over the last 5 to 6 years, RTT has been developing the magnetic crawler with the help of The NSRP better known as the National Shipbuilding Research Program.  This program was developed by the federal government in order to research and develop new technologies and reduce the overall cost of building naval grade vessels. With the funding and help from NSRP, the designers at RTT were able to develop two types of magnetic crawlers for welding in small, hard to reach areas such as double bottom barges as well as places that would require contractors to setup scaffolding or use high rise machines to reach a vertical or horizontal weld on the sides of a Navy Destroyer or Coast Guard Cutters. These new machines come in two sizes, the smallest being a self driven, all-position tractor with weaver that requires a welding gun and other cords to be externally attached and carried.  The second, their larger machine with approximately 100 lbs. carrying capacity utilizes an onboard wire feeder to reduce the amount of external cords, welding gun and accessories that would be necessary with other welding machines in the industry.  This feature allows greater work area coverage since the user is not limited to the length of his welding by the whip length and wire feeder size.


In 2012, after realizing the potential of their new invention, RTT approached BUG-O Systems who is the world’s leader for offering powerful mechanization solutions for welding and cutting, the opportunity to manufacture and market the system.  Since then the two have been working hand in hand to further refine the system and make it customer friendly while maintaining effectiveness and optimizing potential uses in the field. Currently, with roughly a dozen systems in use throughout the shipyard industry, a final product should be commercially available sometime in the Summer of 2014. This systems promises to increase productivity, while reducing down time and also keeping the welder safe by allowing him to work free from hazardous areas and avoid the stresses of working long hours out of position.