Robotic and Manual Welding
What is welding?
Welding is the process of joining two materials by heating the base metals to their melting points and fusing them together. A filler material is often added to the joint in order to form a strong bond.
Manual Welding Processes:
Arc welding is a technique used to weld materials together using heat created by an electric arc. A power supply is used to create the arc between an electrode and the base materials producing intense heat which causes the metal to melt and intermix creating a “weld pool.” The metals are then cooled, bonding them together. Common types of arc welding include:
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
Gas metal arc welding, also called Metal inert gas (MIG) welding, is a type of arc welding which uses non-reactive, or inert, gas along with an electric arc to melt the metal. A consumable wire, acting as both electrode and filler material, is fed continuously through a cable to the joint along with a shielding gas which protects it from contaminants in the air. Gas metal arc welding provides relatively high speed and quality welding, however, low wind conditions are important in order to maintain stable gas flow. GMAW is commonly used for industrial welding.
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
Gas tungsten arc (GTAW) welding, also called Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, is an arc welding process which, like MIG welding, uses an inert gas along with an electric arc, however, the arc is created using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. Since the electrode does not work as a filler material, a separate material is often used to increase the strength of the bond. GTAW provides high quality welds, however, it requires significant time and skill making it most common when high quality is important to the finished product. While this process can be used on most metals, it is typically used on stainless steel and other light metals.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) also known as manual metal arc welding, flux shielded arc welding, or “stick welding,” is one of the most versatile, and therefore, commonly used welding processes. An electric current is used to form an electric arc between an electrode rod, or “stick,” and a base material causing the material to melt. The electrode core acts as a filler material making separate filler unnecessary. Due to its versatility, shielded metal arc welding is commonly used in construction and repairs.
Gas welding, one of the oldest welding processes, is a process which uses fuel gases and pure oxygen to join two or more materials. The gases, generally held in cylinders, are released at the appropriate pressure through hoses to a welding torch where the operator then adjusts the flow rate using needle valves. The torch heats the materials, often including a filler material, in order to create a weld pool, which is then cooled to form a bond. Gas welding is simple, versatile, and powerful making it common for welding pipes and tubes or when electricity is not easily accessible.
Resistance welding is a welding technology which refers to a group of processes used for joining metal sheets. These processes, such as spot welding and seam welding, involve conducting a strong current through the metals while applying pressure in order to melt them at the connecting point bonding them together. Unlike other welding processes, resistance welding does not often include the use of a filler material. Resistance welding methods, commonly used in the automotive and appliance industries, are efficient and environmentally friendly.
Robotic welding is a completely automated welding process which provides higher productivity than manual welding due to better consistency, no break in production, and less waste. In order to avoid high labor costs, robotic welding is often used in high production manufacturing, however, higher equipment costs make the process less practical for low-volume production. Robotic welding offers many benefits such as consistency, precision, low labor costs, and less waste.
Advantages of robotic welding: