Differences Between MIG and Electron Beam Robotic Welding
There are many different types of robotic welding applications. Two of those types are MIG and electron beam welding. Below is a breakdown of the key differences between the two methods.
Welding ProcessRobotic MIG welding can be performed by most arc welding robots. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic and the Motoman MA1400 are both commonly deployed for MIG welding automation. A MIG robot will be integrated with a power supply, wire feeder, and welding torch. The power supply generates the electric current to the robot’s torch which creates an electric arc. The wire feeder continuously supplies a wire electrode to the welding torch. When the articulated robot applies the torch to the metal workpieces, the arc melts the filler wire between the workpieces, fusing them together.
Robotic electron beam welding is a unique process that incorporates a vacuum chamber to protect weld pools. Welding robots that can automate this process include the FANUC Arcmate 100ic and the ABB IRB 1600. A welding robot is integrated with an electron gun. Workpieces are placed within the vacuum chamber, as the six axis robot applies the welding gun a beam of electrons is emitted. Kinetic energy from the electrons generates the heat needed to melt and join the metals together.
MaterialsMIG welding robots can join together just about any type of metal. MIG robots are often deployed for welding together carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. MIG welding robots can be used to join together metals with different thicknesses, however, thick metals are best for robotic MIG applications.
Electron beam welding robots can also join together a variety of metal types including copper, steel, and titanium. EBW robots can weld both thick and thin metal workpieces. The biggest advantage of robotic EBW applications is the capability to weld dissimilar metals to one another.
QualityMIG robots produce incredibly strong and durable welds. Spatter is kept to a minimum resulting in little to no additional cleaning or finishing of the weld.
EBW robots produce extremely accurate, high strength welds. Robotic electron beam welding is best for when precision welds are needed. It produces a small heat affected zone which prevents part distortion. The vacuum chamber protects the weld pool from contaminants, producing incredibly pure and clean welds.
SpeedRobotic MIG welding is considered one of the faster robotic welding applications. The continuously fed electrode speeds up the welding process. In addition, welding robots only melt the filler wire instead of the workpieces which reduces cycle times.
Robotic electron beam welding is also a fast welding method. A FANUC M710ic/20L can complete welds with a single pass of the electron beam gun, allowing welds to be completed quickly.
UsesMIG welding robots are commonly used in the automotive industry. The strong, long lasting welds produced by MIG robotic welders make them ideal for automobile manufacturing.
Those in the aerospace, medical equipment, and oil and gas industries use welding robots for automating EBW applications. The accuracy and precision of robotic EBW is ideal for the intricate welds required in these industries.
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