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Robotic Welding: Definition, Types, Processes, Pros and Cons

Robotic welding is a modern welding technique that uses industrial robots to perform welding tasks. Robotic welding offers many advantages over traditional welding methods, such as higher precision, efficiency, productivity, and safety. However, robotic welding also has some drawbacks, such as high initial cost, maintenance, and programming. In this article, we will explain what robotic welding is, how it works, what are its types and processes, and what are its pros and cons. We will also explore how robotic welding impacts different industries and what are the future trends of this innovative welding method.


Content: 

I. What's Robotic Welding?

II. Types of Robotic Welding.

III. Processes of Robotic Welding.

IV. Pros and Cons of Robotic Welding.

V. Impact of Robotic Welding on Industries.



I. 
What is Robotic Welding?


Robotic welding is a type of welding where industrial robots perform welding tasks. A welding robot is a programmable machine that can follow specific instructions and perform the same welding tasks repeatedly with a high degree of accuracy. A welding robot consists of a robotic arm, a welding torch, a power source, a controller, and a sensor. The robotic arm moves the welding torch along the welding path, the power source provides the energy for the welding process, the controller regulates the welding parameters, and the sensor monitors the welding quality.

Robotic welding can be classified into two categories: fully automated and semi-automated. Fully automated robotic welding does not require any human intervention and can operate independently. Semi-automated robotic welding requires some human assistance and supervision, such as loading and unloading the workpieces, adjusting the welding parameters, and inspecting the welds. To learn Robotic Welding and complete Automation Solutions.



II. Types of Robotic Welding


Welding robots are programmed to follow specific instructions and can perform the same welding tasks repeatedly with a high degree of accuracy. There are five types of robotic welding, that is, arc welding, resistance welding, laser welding, plasma arc welding, and electron beam welding. 


1) Arc Welding


Arc welding is a type of robotic welding that uses an electric arc to generate heat and melt the metal. The two most common types of arc welding used in robotic welding are Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). GTAW uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld, while GMAW uses a consumable wire electrode.


GTAW is commonly used when a high level of precision and accuracy is required. It is suitable for welding thin metals and complex shapes, such as curves and angles. GTAW can also produce high-quality welds with minimal distortion and excellent appearance. GTAW is commonly used in industries such as aerospace, medical equipment, and electronics. GMAW, on the other hand, is used when a high level of productivity and efficiency is required. It is suitable for welding thicker metals and larger parts. GMAW can also weld different types of metals, such as steel, aluminum, copper, and nickel, by changing the type of gas and wire used. GMAW is commonly used in industries such as automotive and heavy equipment manufacturing.



2) Resistance Welding


Resistance welding is a type of robotic welding that uses pressure and heat to join the metal. The two most common types of resistance welding used in robotic welding are spot welding and seam welding.


Spot welding is commonly used to join sheet metal parts, such as in the automotive industry. It is a fast and efficient process that requires minimal material preparation. Spot welding uses two electrodes to apply pressure and current to the metal, creating a small weld nugget. Seam welding is used to create a continuous weld, such as in the production of fuel tanks, radiators, and other similar components. Seam welding uses a rotating electrode wheel to apply pressure and current to the metal, creating a series of overlapping weld nuggets.



3) Laser Welding


Laser welding is a type of robotic welding that uses a laser beam to produce the weld. The laser beam is focused on the metal, creating a high-intensity heat source that melts the metal and fuses it together. Laser welding can produce high-quality welds with minimal distortion and excellent appearance. Laser welding can also weld thin metals and complex shapes, such as curves and angles, by controlling the heat input and the filler metal. Laser welding is commonly used in the automotive and aerospace industries, where a high level of precision and accuracy is required.



4) Plasma Arc Welding


Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) is a type of robotic welding that uses a plasma torch to produce the weld. PAW is similar to GTAW, but it uses a plasma arc instead of a tungsten electrode. A plasma arc is a stream of ionized gas that can reach temperatures up to 20,000°C. PAW can produce high-quality welds with minimal distortion and excellent appearance. PAW can also weld thin metals and complex shapes, such as curves and angles, by controlling the heat input and the filler metal. PAW is commonly used in industries such as aerospace and medical equipment manufacturing, where a high level of precision and accuracy is required.



5) Electron Beam Welding


Electron Beam Welding (EBW) is a type of robotic welding that uses a beam of high-energy electrons to produce the weld. EBW is usually performed in a vacuum chamber, where the electrons are accelerated and focused on the metal, creating a high-intensity heat source that melts the metal and fuses it together. EBW can produce high-quality welds with minimal distortion and excellent appearance. EBW can also weld thick metals and large parts, such as in the aerospace industry, where it is used to join large structural components together.



III. Processes of Robotic Welding


Just like other welding modes, robotic welding shall also follow some steps and processes to produce the perfect weld. 


Step 1: Programming


Programming is the process of creating a set of instructions for the robot to follow, which includes the welding path, welding parameters, and the sequence of operations. The programming can be done offline or online, depending on the type of robot and the welding task.

Offline programming is done before the welding process, using computer software that simulates the robot and the workpiece. Offline programming allows the user to test and optimize the welding program without affecting the production. Online programming is done during the welding process, using a teach pendant that controls the robot and the welding torch. Online programming allows the user to adjust the welding program in real time, according to the feedback from the sensor.



Step 2: Workpiece Preparation


The workpiece preparation involves preparing the metal parts to be welded. This includes cleaning, deburring, and aligning the parts to ensure a proper fit. The workpiece preparation is critical to the success of the welding process, as any misalignment or contamination can affect the quality of the weld.

 

Step 3: Joint Tracking


Joint tracking is the process of tracking the joint to be welded. This is done by using sensors or cameras to locate the joint and adjust the welding path accordingly. Joint tracking is essential for ensuring that the weld is placed in the right location and at the right angle.



Step 4: Welding Techniques


As mentioned above, there are five different welding techniques used in robotic welding. Arc welding, resistance welding, laser welding, plasma arc welding, and electron beam welding are suitable for different industries and welding materials, thus welders should set the right welding technique based on the industry, the type, and the thickness of the welds.


Step 5: Quality Control


Quality control is the process of inspecting and testing the welds to ensure they meet the required standards and specifications. This is done by using various methods, such as visual inspection, destructive testing, or non-destructive testing. Quality control allows the user to verify the weld quality and identify any defects or errors that need to be corrected.



IV. Pros and Cons of Robotic Welding


Compared with traditional welding methods, robotic welding has several advantages. 


1) Higher efficiency: robots can work continuously without taking breaks or getting tired, leading to faster and more efficient welding. This can result in increased productivity and cost savings for businesses.

2) Higher consistency: robots can perform the same welding task repeatedly with the same level of accuracy, leading to consistent results. This can lead to higher quality products and fewer defects.

3) Safer: robots can be programmed to work in hazardous environments or areas that are difficult for human welders to access. This leads to increased safety for workers and a reduction in workplace accidents.

4) Higher quality: robotic welding produces high-quality welds with minimal defects. This can lead to better product quality and a reduction in the number of rejected products.



However, there are also some disadvantages to robotic welding. 


1) Higher initial cost: the initial investment in robotic welding equipment can be high, and the maintenance costs can also be significant. This can be a barrier to entry for small businesses.

2) More complex and time-consuming programming: this requires skilled programmers who may not be readily available in some industries.

3) Less flexible: robots are not as flexible as human welders and may struggle to adapt to changes in the welding environment. This can limit their ability to perform certain welding tasks and may require additional programming or customization of the equipment.



V. Impact of Robotic Welding on Industries


Robotic welding has had a significant impact on industries that require precise and efficient welding. The automotive industry, for example, has adopted robotic welding extensively, resulting in increased productivity and cost savings. Robotic welding has also been adopted in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and medical equipment industry.


  • Automotive industry: Robotic welding is widely used in the automotive industry to weld various parts and components of vehicles, such as the body, the chassis, the engine, and the exhaust system. Robotic welding can improve the quality, productivity, and safety of automotive production.


  • Aerospace industry: Robotic welding is widely used in the aerospace industry to weld various parts and components of the aircraft, such as the wings, the fuselage, the landing gear, and the engine. Robotic welding can improve the precision, accuracy, and reliability of aerospace production.


  • Medical equipment industry: Robotic welding is widely used in the medical equipment industry to weld various parts and components of medical devices, such as implants, instruments, prosthetics, and surgical tools. Robotic welding can improve the hygiene, sterilization, and performance of medical equipment production.


To learn What are the Importances Of Robotic Welding Systems In Industries?



In conclusion, robotic welding is gaining more popularity in industrial manufacturing and may replace multiple manual welding. If you want to buy robotic welding equipment or machines to maximize robotic welding efficiency, you can consult Megmeet's professional sales manager by clicking: https://www.megmeet-welding.com/en/contacts. If you want to learn more welding tips, you can read the Megmeet News Center Page or follow our LinkedIn page. 



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