Robotic MIG vs TIG Welding: Picking the Right Option

Robotic MIG vs TIG Welding: Picking the Right Option

So, you’ve decided to invest in robotic process automation for your business and are ready to reap the benefits of this powerful technology to take your welding throughput to new heights of both quantity and quality. You’ve made the right choice if efficiency in the welding process is your goal, but there’s one last decision to make – TIG or MIG?

Small words with big ramifications for your factory floor. The MIG and TIG welding abbreviations refer to the different robotic welding types that today’s automated workers can perform, depending on the welding equipment they have been fitted with.

While both practices can deliver high quality welds, each has unique properties and abilities that make them better for welding different metal objects.

You might already have your heart set (and your business based) on one method or the other; but getting a better understanding of these types of welding can also help cut unnecessary costs and expand your product offerings if you employ their strengths correctly.

So, What’s the Difference?

MIG and TIG welding both make use of electrical arcs to generate enough heat to make a weld, but that’s where the similarities end.

MIG Welders

MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welders are tipped with an electrode made of steel wire which is fed through the tip continuously during the welding process. This consumable welding wire acts both as the electrode itself – moving through the gun to generate a spark – and as the filler material that melts to form the join.

The “inert gas” in the name refers to the constant flow of shielding gas that is released all around the electrode while the weld is being formed. This protects the molten metal from exposure to oxygen and hydrogen that is present in the air around us, and which can cause several different problems, including welding defects and excessive splatter during the welding process.

TIG Welders 

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is a form of Gas Metal Arc Welding which directs the heat of the electric arc through a non-consumable tungsten electrode. Tungsten is chosen for its extremely high melting point, corrosion resistance and strength. Rather than melting a feed of wire to create a join, TIG welding heats the two materials directly to create a strong weld without the need for filler material (although fillers can be used in this welding technique as well).

This makes it ideal for making neat welds that will remain visible in the final product and for smaller, more detailed work.

Which is right for your business?

It all depends on your product and the specific needs of your business. MIG welding is typically faster and operationally cheaper than TIG welding, and so is better suited to high-volume environments. If you are welding pieces that require plenty of assembly, MIG is a better option for you – though the prominent welds it creates might require some grinding and smoothing afterwards.

If your product is made of thinner metals or necessitates very neat welds, then TIG might be the perfect solution. TIG welding creates perfect joins that require little to no clean-up, making it perfect for ornamental work and more delicate projects. It is also able to handle more types of metal than MIG welding, such as aluminium and copper.

If you are considering adding automated welding to your operation, Yaskawa is more than happy to help you decide on the best welding technique and the best robotic models to get the job done perfectly every time.