The EVS Metal Blog

What is the difference between TIG and MIG robotic welding?

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 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 most commonly found in industrial environments: rectilinear and articulating. Rectilinear robots are extremely useful but less flexible than their articulating counterparts, in that they are only able to move in line with three axes, plus the rotational movement that becomes possible with the addition of a “wrist”.  Articulating robots, on the other hand, are more complex and more closely mimic the “anatomy” of a human arm and wrist, which makes it more adaptable (and more expensive!) than other choices.

Types of Robotic Welding

Robotic arc welding is one of the most common applications of robot welding. It is the use of a power supply to generate an electric arc between an electrode and metal part so as to generate enough heat to fuse pieces together permanently.  Robots can weld in this “arc” pattern by programming the controller directly, utilizing machine vision or combining the two in some way.  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”) in order to ensure the newly-forming welds retain their structural integrity and remain uncompromised. Shielding gas also makes it easier to clean up the welded parts 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, which are MIG (Metal Inert Gas, also known as GMAW or Gas Metal Arc Welding) and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas, also referred to as GTAW or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding). The primary difference between the two is that MIG welding utilizes a continuously feeding wire and TIG requires the use of long welding rods that are slowly fed into the weld puddle.  As you can see in the chart below, both are considered excellent choices, and each has advantages and a suitability profile that varies between applications:

 

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.

EVS Metal is an American precision metal fabricator headquartered in Riverdale, NJ. We utilize the latest technology to cut, bend and finish stand-alone items as well as parts for integration or assembly into more complex products. Our four ISO 9001:2015-certified locations comprise over 250,000 square feet of vertically integrated manufacturing space and feature the most modern equipment available, from robotic welding and laser cutting solutions to automated powder coating lines. We serve a diverse customer base across North America, providing a range of services from ITAR-compliant, quick-turn prototypes to high-volume production runs. Request a personalized metal fabrication quote online, or call (973) 839-4432 to speak with a specialist today.

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