The EVS Metal Blog

What is the difference between TIG and MIG robotic welding?

Article Revised August 17th, 2022

Robotic WeldingAutomation is not a new concept in manufacturing; however, the types of automation in use grow more technologically advanced every day. This is certainly the case for robotic welding in metal fabrication environments, although it’s been around for more than 60 years. We covered the basics of robot welding two weeks ago, including its origins and history. This week, we’ll go into more detail about the types of welding that can be done with robots, including a little more about the robots themselves.

Types of Welding Robots

There are a number of different kinds of welding robots, but two, in particular, are the most commonly found in industrial environments: rectilinear and articulating. Rectilinear robots are extremely useful but less flexible than their articulating counterparts because they can only move in line with three axes. Articulating robots, on the other hand, are more complex and more closely mimic the “anatomy” of a human arm and wrist, making them more adaptable (and more expensive!) than other choices.

Types of Robotic Welding

One of the most common applications of robot welding is robotic arc welding. This method involves a power supply creating an electric arc between an electrode and a metal part, generating enough heat to fuse pieces of metal together permanently. Robots can weld in this “arc” pattern by programming the controller directly, utilizing machine vision, or combining the two. Unlike other types of welding, arc welding necessitates the use of a shielding gas to prevent contamination of the workable portion of the weld (the “weld pool”), ensuring that the welds remain uncompromised and retain their structural integrity. Shielding gas also makes cleaning up the welded parts easier once the process has been completed.

Arc welding includes several different subtypes, and for the sake of simplicity, we’ll talk only about two of the most common here — MIG and TIG. The primary differnce between the two is that MIG welding (Metal Inert Gas), also known as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), utilizes a continuously feeding wire, while TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas), also referred to as GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), requires the use of long welding rods that are slowly fed into the weld puddle. However, as you can see in the chart below, both are considered excellent choices, and each has its advantages depending on the application it’s being used for.

 

Type MIG (Metal Inert Gas) TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas)
    

 

Basics         

  • Utilizes a consumable welding wire
  • Requires one of the following shielding gasses to protect the weld pool: argon, carbon dioxide, helium, or oxygen
  • Utilizes a non-consumable welding wire
  • Requires one of the following shielding gasses to protect the weld pool: argon, helium, hydrogen, or nitrogen
Metals    Used
  • Thin and medium thickness metals
  • Aluminum
  • Mild steel and stainless steel
  • Can generally be used on other non-ferrous metals & alloys
  • Mild steel and stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Can be used with or without a filler metal in certain applications
     
    

 

Advantages

  • Faster production than TIG welding and still produces high-quality welds
  • Stable arc
  • Low spatter
  • Good weld bead appearance
  • Can be used in every position
  • Low spatter
  • Easy post-weld cleanup
  • Adjust filler metal independent of arc current
  • Precise and clean-looking welds
  • Slower production but more flexible in terms of suitable applications


Come back next week when we continue our discussion on robotic welding.

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