Robotic Welding, Extensive Automation Drive GE Appliances’ South Carolina Water Heater Plant

GE Appliances today opened a plant in Camden, South Carolina, designated as the company’s Center of Excellence for water heater manufacturing. The $70 million plant features several advanced technologies and a workforce with over 50 team leaders that participated in a collaborative training program at Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC). Robots Provide Welding Perfection “In tank fabrication, we have automatic robotic welding with integrated seam tracking technology. That means the robot is able to detect the edge between the two metals and position the weld in the right place every single time,” says Engineering Program Manager David Sheldon, leader of the cross-functional team that developed the product, plant and processes. “In the area where the top of the tank shell fabrication is made, there are extensive robotic cells that handle, assemble and weld large numbers of components automatically.” “For material handling we’re extensively using Fetch robotics and Agilox pallet movers to move parts around the factory,” Sheldon adds. The plant also features a 100% autonomous enamel system that detects the size of each tank and adjusts processes accordingly, with no human handling of shells or flues. 

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