Structural Steel Robotic Welder

With the number of skilled welders available in the workforce dwindling, and the cost of recruiting and retaining them rising, NOW is the time to consider a robotic welder.

Typically, a structural steel fabricator spends a substantial amount of time on labor intensive, repetitive operations such as fitting and welding. Imagine how much simpler things would be if any part of this process could be affordably automated – Not only done faster, but also with consistent quality. It would increase output and free up man-power to perform other tasks.

Robotic welding of beams and columns is the next stage of automation. Imagine tacking all your attachments, placing the beam or column at the robotic welding station – hitting start – walking away to tack the next set of attachments, then coming back a short time later to a completed piece.

In the short time that the Challenger has been on the market, we already have customers with multiple Challengers in operation. No one buys a 2nd machine if the first machine doesn’t exceed their expectations!!!!

The Ocean Challenger structural steel robotic welder is designed and built exclusively for Ocean by AGT, world leaders in robotic technologies. It is specifically designed for fabricators looking to increase production output and reduce labor costs. The compact footprint, fast robotic automation and easy to use software makes the Ocean Challenger welding robot the ideal solution for any size shop striving to be more efficient and cost effective.

The Ocean Challenger Robotic Welder is a fully automated structural steel welding robot that welds attachments to beams and columns that have been tacked in place by the fitter.


  • AUTOMATED: The entire welding process is automated; the Ocean Challenger robotic welder only requires a fitter to tack the parts in place and position the beam or column into the production zone. The Ocean Challenger handles the mundane welding tasks by automatically welding the attachments to your beams and columns, allowing your experienced welders to work on more challenging projects.
  • FLEXIBLE: The Ocean Challenger is designed for beams and columns up to 40” high, it is compatible with attachments such as angles, stiffeners, gussets, fin plates, base plates, end plates and other standard parts.
  • EFFICIENT: The Ocean Challenger welding robot is designed to fabricate most steel assemblies and attachments for structural steel, typically able to weld 75% to 95% of all attachments.
  • QUALITY: Robots are designed to work in harsh conditions for years with minimal maintenance ensuring consistent high-quality and repeatable results.
  • EASY-TO-USE: Compatible with Tekla & SDS2. Simply export the CAD model to the Ocean Challenger, run the simulation, select the exported simulation file using the Ocean Challenger’s user-friendly interface, load the part and start production!
  • SAFETY: The Ocean Challenger comes with a laser light curtain that automatically stops the machine when the perimeter is crossed, ensuring operator safety. Meets American ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012, and Canadian CSA Z434-14 safety standards.
  • SUPPORT: Any issues are handled directly by the experts at AGT. Most problems can be addressed quickly using remote web support with qualified technicians logging in remotely and accessing the machine interface & webcam so they can see what you see. For more complex issues a field technician can be dispatched to ensure you are up and running quickly.

Ocean Challenger Robotic Welder for Structural Steel

Robot Fanuc Arc Mate 120i
Welding Equipment Lincoln Electric R450 Power Source
Wire Feeder
Welding Torch
Collision Detect
Torch Cleaning Station (reamer)
Typical Welding Speed – Fillet Welds (2F) 20 in/min for 3/16’’ weld – (500mm/min for 5mm weld)
15 in/min for 1/4’’ weld – (380mm/min for 6.5mm weld)
10 in/min for 5/16″ weld – (250mm/min for 8mm weld)
Beam Size
(Effective Welding Zone)
Section – Minimum 6″ / Maximum 40″
Length – Minimum 4′ / Maximum 50′
Gap Tolerances Maximum 1mm – No Gap Detection
Joint Detection Laser Touch Sensing
Process and Position MCAW – Spray and Pulse Transfer – Horizontal (2F) or
GMAW – Spray and pulse transfer – Horizontal (2F)
Wire MCAW: Hobart Fabcor Edge 0.045″ diameter (1.2mm) or
GMAW: Lincoln Electric SuperArc L-59 0.045’’ diameter (1.2mm)
Wire Classification MCAW: AWS A5.18, A5.18M: E70C-6M H4 / CSA W48-06: E491C-6MJ-H4
GMAW: AWS A5.18/A5.18M: ER70S-6 / CSA W48-06: ER49S-6
Shielding Gas 85% Argon – 15% CO2 mix
Surface Finish All parts and beam must be clean & dry with low scale level
Electrical 480V 3ph 60Hz 50 kVA and 120V 1ph 60Hz 15A
Pneumatic 100 psi @ 20 CFM
Clean Air 0.005MM
Dry 99.9%, Unlubricated, 1/2″ NPT
Ethernet Speed Upload / Download speed > 10Mbs
Footprint w/Console & Safety Barrier 68′ x 15′ x 12’H
Weight 20,000 lbs.

The Ocean Challenger Robotic Welder is designed specifically for fabricators and general job shops that need to do structural steel welding and faces issues with labor shortage, need for cost reduction or production growth. Consider the following questions and determine if this machine fits your needs:


  • Do you need to weld accessories like end plates, stiffeners, cleats, angles on rolled form and fabricated beams, channel, plate, square profiles, etc?
  • Do you have issues with welders training and qualification or with rework because of the quality of the welds?
  • Do you have problems hiring and keeping qualified welders?
  • Are you looking for a faster, cheaper way to do it?
  • Are you limited by the amount of space you can dedicate to beam welding?
  • Are you limited by the amount of capital that you can invest in a robotic welding solution?
  • Is your current method of welding too costly to compete with the bigger fabricating shops and do you lose out on those profitable big jobs?
  • Do the larger General Contractors skip your company when sending out the bids because you cannot process a large structural job fast enough?
  • Do you struggle to find good quality fabricating labor when you land a large job, and do you have valuable skilled labor to train your new recruits?
  • Do you feel your competitors are throwing out insanely low numbers to land the work?
  • Are you finding that you are struggling to make any money on the jobs you land – are those jobs that you bid low enough to get, leaving you no profit at all?
  • Do you want to make more PROFIT?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above you are a prime candidate for the outstanding Ocean Challenger compact robotic welder, built exclusively for us by AGT, an industry-leader in CNC Robotics.

Here are some of the more commonly asked questions

What is the target market for this machine?

The Ocean Challenger is designed for fabricators who weld attachments to beams, columns and other long straight profiles. It is designed to reduce your dependency on skilled welders, and to significantly reduce the cost of welding attachments.


What type of robot does it use?

The Challenger uses Fanuc robots that are world leaders in robotic welding. The Fanuc ArcMate range of robots is purpose built for arc welding applications, and for decades have been the proven workhorses in the robotic welding industry.
Their repeatability and durability is legendary in the arc welding industry and this makes them the ideal solution for the extreme demands of the structural steel industry. Thanks to their slim arm and hollow wrist design, FANUC arc welding robots can access the narrowest of spaces and are capable of handling extremely high payloads.


What type of welding wire and gases does the Challenger use?

The Challenger comprises a Lincoln Power Wave R450 power source with wire feeder and coolant system, and utilizes either metal core or solid wire with a 85:15 Argon – CO2 gas mix for fluxless welding and fast wire deposition rates. Metal core is suitable for non-preblasted steel while solid wire is suitable for pre-blasted steel.


What type of welds can the Challenger do?

The Challenger is specifically designed to produce fast single, double, and three-pass fillet and lap-joint welds up to 1/2”.


Can the Challenger be programmed on the shop floor?

The Challenger is supplied with a mobile operating pendant that allows the operator to manually program the robot, but the ideal way to run it is by importing an entire 3D CAD model and having the Challenger’s Cortex software automatically create the robot path in simulation.


What types of profiles can be processed?

The Challenger can handle Wide Flange beams, channels, angles and HSS sections. (Non US profiles include HE, IPE, UB, UC, PFC, W, H and more)


Can the Challenger weld tapered beams?

Yes it can, in fact, it is currently the ONLY welding robot that can weld attachments to tapered beams.


What safety standards does the Challenger Robotic Welder comply with?

Since robots move very rapidly, the operating zone in which the Challenger is moving is protected by a laser scanned safety system that shuts down the robot instantly if someone would enter the zone. The Challenger conforms to American Safety Standards ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 as well as Canadian safety Standard CSA Z434-14.


What does the operator do and what skills does he need to run the Ocean Challenger?

Every fabricator operates his Challenger differently but this is a simple overview of the operator’s processes:

  • At the operator console, the operator selects the part to be run and checks the beam to be welded and loads the beam onto the welding trestles.
  • He then activates the safety zone and hits cycle-start to start the robotic path.
  • The robot moves into position and scans to verify the first attachment, welds it, and moves onto the next attachment and continues until that face is completed and then moves to the home position.
  • The Operator then flips the material to present the next face to be welded and hits the cycle start, and the Challenger follows the automated process of scanning, verifying and welding.
  • This is continued until all surfaces are complete.
  • The Operator then unloads the beam and places the next beam to be welded on the trestles and hits cycle start.
  • He then checks the beam that he just unloaded, examines the quality of the welds and completes any missing welds.
  • He replaces the welding wire in the drum when needed, checks the shielding gas supply and monitors consumables.

In some shops the same Challenger operator is responsible for tacking the parts on the beams to be welded, and for doing any finish welding on attachments that were not welded due to potential collision or to inaccessible conditions.

In our experience an operator with good welding knowledge and reasonable computer skills is more than adequate.

The Ocean Challenger Robotic Welder is a fully automated welding robot that welds attachments to beams and columns that have been tacked in place by the fitter. The way the Challenger works is as follows:

  • When your detailer has completed detailing the 3-D model in Tekla or SDS/2, using a supplied Plug-In, he exports the model in a format that is compatible with the Challenger Cortex™ auto programming software.
  • The Cortex software runs each part, noting the location of all the welded attachments, and works out the robotic arm path to detect and verify the attachment and then to weld the it. The simulation software provides a full report on time to weld, completion rates and more.
  • The Challenger operator loads the part with all the attachments already tacked in place on top of the welding trestles, and then pushes the cycle-start button. The robot moves to the first attachment to be welded and using a laser, scans and verifies that the it is in the correct location, and if so, it then proceeds to weld. If the it is not tacked in the correct position, the robot prompts the operator to skip to the next attachment to be welded.
  • Once the robot has completed the part it returns to the home position, and the operator is then able to turn the beam to the next face to be welded, or remove the completed part and load the next part to be welded.

Programming the Ocean Challenger welding robot to weld your steel fabrication project is nothing short of Magic!

However, in order for the Challenger to do its magic, you will need to be detailing your project in SDS/2, Tekla Structures, Advanced Steel or any other 3D detailing program that supports IFC file transfer *.

Note that while it is possible to program the Challenger Robot manually, this is not practical. You want to be able to export the files to the machine and have the robot automatically perform its duties of scanning, verifying and welding all attachments to the member without ANY manual programming.

When you are ready to start welding your project, you begin by exporting the building model to Cortex*, via a Plugin installed in your detailing program, and the software will analyze the entire building model, review all assemblies, and generate a report that shows multiple attributes, including

  • Number of welding inches to be done
  • Number of welding inches possible
  • Assembly Completion percentage
  • Weight of assembly
  • Time to weld the assembly
  • and many more


Cortex also generates the complete assembly simulation for each member that includes

  • scanning the profile for the pre-tacked attachments,
  • verifying that they are within tolerance, and the
  • welding path


All the operator then has to do is select the part to be welded, load it onto the trestles or optional rotators, select the part-program to be run, hit cycle-start, and the Challenger then runs through the entire process, unattended. The operator only has to return to rotate the part at the end of its welding pass, or remove the part at the end of the cycle when using rotators

Note that the software is capable of detecting any weld-data embedded in the model, but often the detailer does not embed any weld data.

When deciding how to perform welds, the Challenger has 3 modes

  1. Use the 3-D model data – the Challenger uses the embedded data
  2. Use a global weld recipe – this user-defined and modifiable table will auto-generate all weld sizes based on the AWS (or equivalent) weld size for each attachment thickness.
  3. Hybrid of 1&2. It will use any embedded data when detected, and when it doesn’t find any, it will autogenerate the weld sizes where they are missing

Hybrid can be used to have you detailer only embed unusual welds, such as stitch welds. Then when the Hybrid model is selected it will use the AWS global weld recipe for all the welds where it doesn’t find embedded data, and use the embedded data for the unusual welds.

* Cortex is AGT’s proprietary software that analyzes the detailing model. Unlike CNC Drill Lines, Angle Lines, and Plate lines, Cortex will not work with DSTV files (.nc) or individual CAD files. Cortex always examines the entire project model in order to analyze the assemblies, so it is important to have a working version of the detailing software on site

The Ocean Challenger Robotic Welder is typically sold with the following options:

Robotic Beam Rotator on Adjustable Rails

AGT Beam Rotators are an innovative system that assists the welding process helping welders to rotate beams without using a crane.

  • Easy & Simple Set-up
  • Fully Controlled Rotation
  • Fast Loading/Unloading
  • Reduce demand on overhead cranes
  • Provides the operator a bigger window of opportunity to do other things, he does not have to return to the machine until the entire assembly has been welded. Without rotators the operator needs to return after each pass to rotate the beam

cnc angle line

At Ocean Machinery, we have built our business and reputation on our commitment to customer satisfaction. We know that you will be depending on your Ocean products, and we are committed to keep your machine functional and operational allowing you to be productive.

The Ocean Challenger Robotic Welder is supported by AGT’s team of dedicated factory trained service technicians, who have the ability to support you with direct troubleshooting over the internet, or via telephone, and when necessary, by servicing the machine onsite.

Our office hours are 8am to 5pm Eastern Time. We welcome your technical support calls at any time during our business hours. Call Ocean Machinery Technical Service at (800) 286-3624

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Customer Feedback

  • “No need to have any expertise in robotic programming, a few clicks, and it is all done…Zero programming! It’s so easy to use the Challengers proprietary software, it doesn’t take long and it is all automatic. ”

    Felix Champlain - Quebec, Canada

  • “The first welding done by the Challenger is exactly what we wanted. The welds came out beautiful the very first time, and it only took 17 minutes to do it; it would have taken a welder 3-4- times that to finish that product manually. It came out exactly how we wanted, we are looking forward to perfecting the process, but the first pass was absolutely phenominal.”

    Ricky Horton - McCombs Steel

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