FANUC R2000ib 165F R30ia Motoman MH6 DX100 FANUC M710ic 50 R30ia Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 100ic R30ia

Comparison of GMAW and GTAW Robotic Applications

When it comes to welding automation the end goal is to successfully join metals together through the use of an industrial robot and welding equipment. How one reaches this goal can be achieved through several different types of robotic welding processes. Two of the most common robotic welding applications are GMAW (gas metal arc welding) and GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding). Despite coming from the robotic arc welding family, these applications are quite different from one another. Knowing the differences between each will allow you to determine which robotic welding method is suitable for your production needs, allowing for a fully optimized welding application.

Type of Electrode

Robotic GMAW and GTAW both use electrodes, however, the types of electrodes are different for each. For GMAW, a consumable wire electrode is required. The wire electrode serves as the filler metal for the weld. During welding the electrode is continuously fed through the articulated robot’s weld torch, an arc forms between the wire and workpieces melting the wire between the workpieces and joining them together.

Robotic GTAW processes utilize a non-consumable tungsten electrode. Unlike GMAW, a filler metal is not required for GTAW. The six axis robot will apply the weld torch to the workpieces, an arc will form between the metals and electrode, heating and melting them together.

Welding Equipment

Most of the equipment needed for both of these applications will be similar. Arc welding robots can usually be implemented for either welding process. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic is common for GMAW applications, while the Motoman MA1400 may be used for GTAW. In the event welding needs change, arc welding robots can be reprogrammed for other applications. For instance, a ABB 1600 used for GMAW can be redeployed for GTAW and vice versa. In addition to the arc welding robot, a power supply, wire feeder, welding torch, and gas tank will also be needed. Most used welding robots for sale include the robotic welder from the previous application.

Workpiece Requirements

Robotic GMAW is ideal for large workpieces with thicker weldments. Since only the filler metal is melted, GMAW robots are extremely efficient for welding thick metals. Aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel are metals that are commonly welded with a GMAW robot.

Robotic GTAW is best for thin or small workpieces since it is the more detailed focused method of the two. Metals that are electrically resistant are ideal since they melt at faster rates.

Welding Speed

Robotic GMAW is considerably faster than GTAW. A FANUC Arcmate 100ic can produce quality welds in less time through GMAW than with GTAW. The continuously fed electrode reduces welding time as well as melting the filler metal instead of the base metals. GTAW uses lower amperages resulting in a slower metal deposition rate.

Weld Appearance

Weld appearance tends to be better with robotic GTAW. The lack of filler material keeps spatter to a minimum and prevents slag. The result is clean and even weld seems, which is why it is often used for intricate parts. The use of filler material in robotic GMAW increases the chance of spatter and slag occurring. Additional steps will need to be taken to clean the weld before completion.

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