MAG vs TIG Robotic Welding

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
Robotic automation has become extremely common for welding applications. Welding robots are incredibly precise, fast, and reliable resulting in higher quality workpieces. However, the success of your welding application relies greatly on selecting the right welding method. MAG welding and TIG welding are both popular for robotic automation. While they are both types of robotic arc welding methods, they are actually quite different from one another. Below is a breakdown of the key differences between the two.


MAG (Metal Active Gas) welding involves using a continuously fed consumable wire electrode, an electric arc, and active shielding gas. During welding the arc forms between the wire and base metals, heating and melting the wire between the metals to form a weld. Active gases such as oxygen or carbon dioxide shield the weld pool from contaminants. MAG welding is one of the easiest welding methods to automate with robots. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic and Motoman MA1400 are both capable of automating MAG applications.

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode, an electric arc, and inert shielding gas. The tungsten electrode is heated by the arc in order to melt and to directly weld the metal workpieces together. Inert gases such as argon or helium are used to shield and protect the weld pool during welding. The ABB 1600 and the FANUC Arcmate 100ic are both commonly used for TIG welding automation.


MAG welding robots can weld any type of ferrous metals. These include carbon steel, stainless steel, and cast iron. While robotic MAG welding is limited by the type of metal, it is flexible when it comes to metal thickness. MAG welding can be used on any metal thickness, although it is preferred for thicker metals since the wire is melted instead of the workpiece.

While MAG is limited by metal types but not metal thickness, the opposite is true for TIG. TIG welding robots offer versatility when it comes to the types of metals they can weld. Any metal that is electrically resistant can be used for robotic TIG welding. The FANUC M-710ic/20L can weld steel, copper, magnesium, or titanium using the TIG method. However, robotic TIG welding is only effective for welding thin metal workpieces.


MAG is one of the fastest robotic welding methods. Since MAG focuses on melting the filler wire instead of the base metals, welds take considerably less time, especially for thick workpieces. In addition, the continuously fed electrode allows for weld torches to run for longer periods of time also reducing weld times.

TIG is one of the slowest welding methods as its main purpose is precision. Even with robotic automation TIG is still slow which is why it is best for detailed welds.


Both methods use some type of shielding gas to protect welds from oxidation, helping to improve the quality and durability of welds. MAG welding robots are able to eliminate spatter, keeping workpieces clean, but the use of filler wire can cause uneven welds seams. TIG welding robots can produce smooth and fine textured weld seams since they weld metals directly together. The flawless appearance of TIG weld seams makes it best for welds that will be visible.

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