Is Your Welding Application Suitable for Robotic Automation?

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
Robotic automation is revolutionizing manufacturing. More and more companies are converting their manual manufacturing processes to robotic ones. Welding applications have been some of the most common for switching to robotic automation. Welding robots improve weld quality, productivity, save on costs, and overall result in a more efficient welding process. With those benefits it is easy to understand why manufacturers are opting for the FANUC Arcmate 100ic or the Motoman MA1400 when it comes to welding automation. Before taking the leap into industrial robots it is important to evaluate your welding application to ensure it will be suitable for robotic automation. The following are some key factors to consider to determine if robotic automation will be successful with your welding process.


The characteristics of the workpieces of your welding application will be a big factor in determining if welding automation will be feasible. The size, weight, metal type, base material, thickness, and weld acceptance of workpieces should all be evaluated. Part size and weight can affect the accuracy of welds, the work envelope, and payload capacity. Larger parts will require articulated robots with an extended reach or a track mounted robot. They may also need a higher payload capacity as well. Welds on larger parts may not be as accurate as they may require breaks or path changes. Smaller parts will require great precision as welds may be more detailed or intricate. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic is ideal for high precision welding.

The metal type and base material should also be considered. Some metals are not ideal for robotic welding such as exotic metals. Common metals including steel, copper, and aluminum are ideal for welding robots. If your welding process involves working with a variety of different metal types, you will want to select a welding method and robot that can handle a variety of metals. The base metal being used also should be considered. Some metals are resistance to cracking or oxidation and may not require preheating making them ideal for welding robots. Others may need special care or pretreatment prior to welding.

Metal thickness is also important to consider. The metal thickness will determine the robotic welding method and the accuracy of the weld. Some robotic welding methods are best for thicker metals while others are best for thin metals. Most robotic welding methods have a minimum and maximum thickness that can be tolerated.

The weld acceptance of workpieces is another key aspect to consider. For robotic welding workpieces requiring partial length and infiltration are best.


Your production volume should also be considered for welding automation. Welding robots can significantly increase productivity allowing for greater production volumes. The flexibility of robots makes them suitable for most production volumes. However, if you have a very low production volume the cost of a robot may not be justifible.

Welding Method

Arc welding, laser welding, and spot-welding methods are the most common welding applications for industrial robots. These welding methods respond well to welding automation. Selecting the right welding method will be based upon your budget, workpieces, weld accuracy, workspace, and degree of difficulty.

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