Robotic Welding vs. Manual Welding

Welding is an essential process in manufacturing and other industries, like construction, automotive and aerospace, that creates durable bonds between two materials, typically metals, by heating them at the seams and allowing them to cool and solidify together. 

Welders use many methods to piece different materials together. Robotic and manual welding are two primary distinctions. Robotic welding is an advanced, automated technique that depends on robots, while manual welding is the traditional version that relies on human expertise or ingenuity. Let’s explore the differences between robotic and manual welding.

What Is Robotic Welding?

Robotic welding uses robots equipped with specialized tools to join materials precisely and efficiently. These systems fulfill specific welding parameters and follow a precise path to produce consistent, high-quality welds. With advanced sensors, cameras and software, robotic welding systems can execute accurate and quick welds. 

The robot connects to welding equipment that supplies energy and filler materials for creating the welds. Robotic welding systems have sensors and vision systems to achieve the desired accuracy, precision and repeatability. This technology offers numerous benefits, including increased productivity, improved weld quality, reduced material waste and enhanced worker safety by minimizing exposure to hazardous fumes and intense heat. Robotic welding has revolutionized the manufacturing industry by streamlining production processes and elevating the quality of welded components.

Advantages of Robotic Welding

Robotic welding delivers numerous benefits.

  • Superior weld quality: Robotic welding produces near-perfect welds and more consistent results thanks to automatic weld process controllers. Automation ensures welds can maintain their integrity and reduce distortions compared to manual welds. 
  • Less waste: Robotic welding’s increased accuracy and precision reduce the scrap metals or materials produced.
  • Lower costs: While purchasing robotic welding systems requires a significant initial investment, it reduces labor and production costs in the long run. Robotic welding also reduces the expenses associated with product recalls and reworks because of fewer product errors and distortions.
  • Increased output: You get a higher yield with robotic welding systems because they operate 24/7 and reduce product damage and distortions. Besides, robotic welding systems can complete multiple welds simultaneously while maintaining quality standards.
  • Improved safety: Robots promote worker safety by sparing human time and effort. Automating the welding process also protects human workers from exposure to welding hazards, such as intense heat, radiation and fumes, with safety protocols and barriers.
  • Greater throughput and productivity: Robotic systems work faster than humans operating manual welding systems. They don’t get fatigued like humans, so they have constant efficiency and faster cycle times throughout the day.
  • Ideal for many major industries: Robotic welding is a good fit for many industries, including high-precision sectors like aerospace and automotive. It also works well for custom fabrication, which necessitates intricate and unique metalwork.

Disadvantages of Robotic Welding 

While robotic welding is superior in some ways, a few drawbacks limit its implementation. 

  • High costs: Buying and maintaining robotic welding systems is an investment.
  • Increased risks: Companies suffer significant downtime when robotic welding systems break down.
  • Limited flexibility: Robotic welding is less flexible than manual welding because it takes extra time and resources to reconfigure the machine to accommodate different tasks.

robotic welding vs manual welding comparison

What Is Manual Welding?

Manual welding is a fabrication technique performed by humans instead of machines. It joins two or more metal pieces by heating them using an electric arc or flame. The welder is responsible for controlling the equipment and following the weld paths. Manual welders’ skills and experience determine the results. Working with a highly skilled welder increases the probability of delivering higher-quality, accurate and consistent results. 

Advantages of Manual Welding

Manual welding has unique benefits that make it a better choice in some instances.

  • Affordable: The upfront cost of setting up a manual welding station is significantly lower than investing in robotic welding systems. It’s the ideal solution for small businesses with a limited budget.
  • Increased flexibility: Multiple human workers can perform manual welding projects. If someone is out sick or on vacation, a colleague can take over so projects don’t stall. 
  • Better risk control: With manual welding, humans can identify a problem before it ruins other products on the supply chain. If you enter the wrong parameters into a robotic welding system, it will continue repeating the malfunctions until an operator notices.
  • Ideal for intricate and complex projects: Manual welding is suitable for producing complex products with specific requirements, such as making welds in tight, uncomfortable spaces or on irregularly shaped products. 

Disadvantages of Manual Welding

Manual welding has numerous drawbacks, most of which stem from its reliance on skilled human workers to perform the bulk of tasks. 

  • Includes hidden costs: While purchasing manual welding equipment is not as expensive as robotic welding systems, you incur many hidden costs in the long term. These include training, increased reworks, product recalls due to human error and high labor costs.
  • Hazardous to human workers: Manual welding exposes workers to dangerous fumes, radiation, sparks and heat, which increases workplace injuries.
  • Reduced speed and efficiency: Humans cannot produce welds at the same speed and precision as robots. Therefore, there’s a higher risk of errors along the production line that result in product damage and distortions. 
  • Limited consistency in the welds: Manual welding limits your ability to produce consistent and repeatable welds because a human operator controls the equipment’s speed and feeding rate.

Other disadvantages of manual welding include lower-quality results and increased production of waste material. It’s also not a dependable method for the large-scale production of equipment parts.

robotic welding at PBZ

Improve Your Supply Chain Efficiency With PBZ’s Robotic Welding 

PBZ Manufacturing is a one-stop shop for all your manufacturing needs, including engineering, assembling, finishing and shipping. We also have years of experience in robotic welding and a team of welders to collaborate with you throughout the process. 

Our innovative robotic welding systems ensure accurate, precise and consistent welding results. The machines also enable us to repeat your designs numerous times because they have plenty of storage. Contact us today to learn more about how your business can benefit from our first-rate robotic welding processes. 

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