Let’s talk about robots. Not the aggressive humanoid type seen in many of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies. Rather, robotic or automated welding, a significant advance in welding approaches. Robotic vs manual welding offers some pros and cons to consider when planning your metal fabrication needs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Manual Welding
Manual welding is still popular despite advantages in technology. Superb quality can be achieved by skilled manual hand-held welding. It offers:
- Each welding job can be tackled right on. No re-training is required for welders each time a new project is started or when project requirements are changed.
- Team member replacement. If one team member isn’t available right away, another equally skilled employee can step in.
- Quality control awareness. With a manual employee having hands on the project, errors can be seen immediately versus having a robot produce until the end of a scheduled production run.
- Employee risk. If an employee is injured while on the job, it could be serious. A machine can be repaired.
- Robotic operations can be much faster and produce higher metal fabrication output.
- Manual welding will not be as accurate and time-efficient as a robotic operation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Robotic Welding
Robotic vs manual welding is simply a comparison of totally human handled welding versus machine welding guided by humans. Robotic or automated welding technology describes a wide range of machine devices that automate repetitive welding tasks.
- Weld quality. With the use of automated process controllers, weld integrity is improved with consistent weld speed, current, and other process variables, reducing the possibility of human error. There is no issue with human fatigue, distraction or other possibilities that may cause defects as with manual welding.
- Weld consistency. Welding automation ensures higher adherence to planned weld procedures and quality assurance standards, thus eliminating rework processes.
- Greater output. Robotic processes increase output because the work product is not reliant on human endurance, project concentration or even hours of work.
- Reduced labor costs. Automated machining can perform the same welding process for extended periods of time with a minimum of manpower. Additionally, there is no need to consider the labor costs involved with injury, overtime, sick leave, staff turnover, etc.
- Limited manual skilled labor availability. This is a challenge in many areas, which is overcome by using machine operators who are more available.
- Improved safety. Worker safety is significantly improved using automated systems.
- 24-hour operation. Automated welding processes can work continuously for much longer periods than with manual welding.
- Increased accuracy. Robotic welding offers superior performance accuracy, critical for high precision metal fabrication needs.
- Lower consumable costs. Automation reduces waste because of the tighter production process.
- Depending on the metal fabrication company providing services, there may be some increased cost for welding services, due to the cost of the sophisticated machinery required.
- Project flexibility. Automated systems are most efficient with larger repeatable processes. If your project is limited in scope, manual welding may be more practical.
Deciding to Automate?
In considering robotic vs manual welding, the following welding characteristics offer the most benefit from automation:
- High output required
- High quality and repeatability are needed
- Superior precision is required
- Weld accuracy is essential
- Parts are identical
- Parts have significant value
- Welding repairs are difficult or expensive
Select Precision Machine Stamping for Your Project Needs
Contact Velocity Metalworks in O’Fallon and Hoffman, IL, serving the greater St. Louis area and the Midwest, for your automated metal fabrication needs. AAA Tool & Machine has become recognized as a valued partner in the metal stamping industry for our superior tool design and build competency. We are a full-service provider of metal stamping, precision machining services and wire EDM machining.