Metal inert gas welding is an arc welding process in which a consumable wire electrode is continuously fed through a welding gun forming an electric arc between the wire and the metal workpiece. The heat produced from the electric arc causes the metals to melt and join together. A shielding gas is also sent through the welding gun during this process to protect the weld pool from oxidation or any contaminates present in the air while the weld is being completed. Although the technical name for this application is gas metal arc welding (GMAW) it is commonly referred to as MIG welding for short.
MIG welding is one of the most popular types of welding in the industrial world, especially in the automotive industry. One of the reasons it has become so popular is its ease of automation with robotics. An ABB IRB 1600 can be easily integrated with a Miller Auto Axcess 450 welding supply with little interruption to the production line. Once a MIG robot is up and running manufacturers will see a significant decrease in cycle time while maximizing productivity. MIG welding robots can produce high quality welds at faster rates than other welding applications such as TIG welding.
The high quality welds produced by MIG robots is due to the protection provided by the shielding gas during the welding process. Inert gases such as argon, carbon dioxide, helium, and oxygen are commonly used to protect the welding pool from fusion defects and porosity. The elimination of defects results in durable welds that will not breakdown over time.
MIG robots like the FANUC Arcmate 100ic give manufacturers more flexibility in their productions since they can weld both thin and thick materials. They can be mounted from various positions allowing for greater reach at any angle. They are also capable of welding a variety of metals including: aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, and other non-ferrous metals and alloys.
As mentioned above swapping out a manual welder for a MIG robot is a simple process and one that will increase operation efficiency. MIG welding applications often involve the welding of larger parts that require long passes of the welding gun. It can be difficult for a human to hold a weld gun for long periods of time without tiring or needing to stop. This can result in sloppy work or errors with increased production time needed to correct them. These errors can also cause materials to be wasted and costs to rise. A MIG robot completes the welding process seamlessly without the need for breaks. They are easily programmed to control the workpiece, weld gun, and heat level with accuracy all at the same time. The repeatability of precision and quality produced by MIG robots cannot be matched by a human welder.
Replacing manual welders with MIG robots further benefits manufacturers by increasing the safety level of their operations. MIG welding conditions can be dangerous to workers with the potential exposure to high heat, sparks, and hot metals. Unlike human workers robots like the Yaskawa Motoman EA1900N are designed handle these conditions without failure.