An Introduction to Robotic Welding
Robotic welding is a manufacturing process that utilizes robotic technology to automate the formation of welds on assemblies. Compared to traditional welding methods, it requires little to no human involvement during actual welding operations. As a result, it offers increased weld accuracy, precision, speed, and safety, all of which can help shorten project timelines and reduce project costs.
Robotic welding machines have an articulating robot arm that holds, positions, and moves the welding torch as needed to create the welds. The arm needs to pre-programmed certified operator before the start of the welding operation. Its operational parameters should be based on the part and production specifications of the particular project.
Introduced in the 1960s, robotic welding has since been adopted by many industries for various welding assembly line purposes due to its effectiveness and efficiency. This blog post focuses on robotic TIG welding, including what it entails, what materials it accommodates, and how it differs from robotic MIG welding.
Robotic TIG Welding
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding—also referred to as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)— is an arc welding process that utilizes a non-consumable electrode to produce the weld. During TIG welding operations, electrical current is applied, resulting in the formation of a small, high-intensity arc between the electrode and the workpiece. This arc heats and melts the workpiece. Filler can be added separately to the weld pool to strengthen the final weld.
Materials for Robotic TIG Welding
The robotic TIG welding process can accommodate a wide range of materials, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
Robotic TIG vs. MIG Welding
TIG welding is one of the most commonly utilized welding processes. Another is metal inert gas (MIG) welding or gas metal arc welding (GMAW). While the two processes rely on the same basic principles, they have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different applications. Key differences include:
- TIG welding uses a non-consumable electrode, while MIG welding uses a consumable electrode.
- TIG welding may or may not use a filler, while MIG welding always uses a filler since the electrode serves as one.
- TIG welding is best suited for joining small and thin materials, while MIG welding is best suited for large and thick materials.
- TIG welding offers better welding control, stronger welds, and broader material suitability, while MIG welding offers faster welding speeds, easier training requirements, and lower error rates.
Robotic TIG Welding at Ohio Valley Manufacturing
Robotic TIG welding is a suitable joining solution for many metal components and assemblies. It produces strong and clean welds on tighter timelines at lower costs than traditional welding methods. If you’re considered robotic TIG welding for your next manufacturing project, the experts at Ohio Valley Manufacturing are here to help.
At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, we an ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturer offering a range of precision metalworking services. We provide a variety of robotic welding capabilities, including robotic TIG welding, to suit different customer needs. To learn more about our robotic welding capabilities or discuss your welding requirements with one of our team members, contact us today.
Robotic MIG Welding
Robotic welding is an accurate and highly efficient welding process. This automated welding method requires little human intervention and delivers precise metal bonding under the supervision of an operator. Generally speaking, robotic welding offers better consistency and fewer errors than traditional welding practices. Robotic welders can handle numerous types of welding, including MIG welding, TIG welding, and spot welding. Implementing robotic welding into production can reduce overhead by reducing labor costs while increasing speed and weld quality.
A robotic welding machine consists of an automated arm with three-dimensional articulation. A torch is mounted to the arm along with a wire feeder and wire cleaner, when necessary. The arm delivers precise and replicable welding under the supervision of an operator. This operator uses a programmable teach pendant to enter parameters for the robot to follow.
Robotic welding was introduced in the 1960s and quickly adopted by the automotive industry to provide cost-effective assembly line spot welding. Robotic MIG welding delivers repeatable, high-quality welding results for numerous industries. This blog will discuss robotic MIG welding and its applications in more detail.
Robotic MIG Welding
Metal inert gas (MIG) welding uses a consumable electrode to fill the weld pool with a metallic material. It is a quick and effective welding method that works on metals with a high melting temperature, given that the torch can reach temperatures of up to 3,000°F. The additional filler metal from the consumable wire further reinforces the final bond.
Robotic MIG welding reduces splatter compared to traditional MIG welding. Since the machinery automates the process of feeding the consumable wire electrode into the welding torch, it guarantees a sturdy and consistent bead. The inert gas produces a shield around the weld pool to protect the area from contamination. An automated welding robot operates the welding torch to deliver high-precision results. The welding robot’s arm can move in multiple directions around the workpiece and perfectly replicates each weld on each workpiece across the production order.
Materials for Robotic MIG Welding
Robotic MIG welding is ideal for a wide range of materials. At Ohio Valley Manufacturing, we frequently use robotic MIG welding with the following metals:
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel
Robotic MIG vs. TIG Welding
While robotic MIG welding is a popular choice, it has distinct differences to robotic tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Like their manual counterparts, robotic MIG welding and robotic TIG welding have various advantages and disadvantages that make them preferable for different applications.
- MIG welding uses a filler that can be ideal for metals with extremely high melting points, but TIG welding requires no filler material.
- MIG welding will deliver fast and easy welding on many types of metals, whereas TIG welding takes more time.
- TIG welding offers cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing welds, making it better for applications where appearance matters.
- MIG welding can handle thicker metal sheets, whereas TIG welding can not adequately heat thicker sheets to join them together.
- TIG welding has no weld pool, and thus no splatter. TIG also will not produce sparks.
- Traditional MIG welding offers more flexibility in terms of correcting errors than TIG welding. However, employing precise and automated robotic welding results in fewer mistakes than traditional welding with either method.
Robotic MIG Welding at Ohio Valley Manufacturing
Robotic MIG welding is an ideal method for joining components made from a variety of metals. It creates durable and effective welds and can reduce production costs through less labor, fewer mistakes, and shorter lead times.
Ohio Valley Manufacturing is an ISO 9001:2015-certified manufacturer offering a full portfolio of robotic welding services to meet your needs. To learn more about our robotic welding capabilities, contact us today.