Overview of automatic welding

This page introduces the types of automatic welding and describes automatic welding in FA and robot welding.

Types of automatic welding

The methods of automatic welding can be grouped into automatic welding, which uses automatic welding machines, and robot welding, which is done by robots. Automatic welding is used to repeat welding continuously in a factory line. Robot welding is an advanced version of automatic welding that uses robot technology to enable a higher level of welding automatically. In order to take advantage of the processing time improvements from automatic or robot welding, inspection processes have been automated by using displacement sensors that employ laser beams.

Types of automatic welding Application Welding method
Automatic fusion welding Assembly of bodies, frames and parts of cars and motorbikes or building materials Arc welding (TIG, MAG, MIG and plasma), laser welding
Automatic pressure welding Assembly of frames of cars and motorbikes, and metal parts Resistance spot welding
Tanks or pipes requiring high leak tightness Seam welding
Outer panels and floor materials of cars, airplanes and trains Friction stir welding (FSW)
Automatic brazing/soldering Electronic PCBs, electrical components Electron beam soldering
Cooling equipment pipes, valves, small parts of cars and motorbikes Furnace brazing, electron beam soldering

The classifications above are just an example. There are various ways to classify the types, and some may differ from the table above.

Automatic welding in FA

Automatic welding is a generic term for welding processes using equipment that continues welding without the need for an operator for it to run continuously.
In FA (factory automation), inline automatic machines replace manual welding and weld according to programs to improve processing time and mass production efficiency. Automatic spot welders and automatic contact welding machines are used for quick welding in the manufacturing lines of connectors and other electrical components.

Robot welding

Robot welding is an advanced version of automatic welding capable of welding inaccessible locations and performing complicated and precise weld lines by using a robot arm with multiple axes. JIS defines the differences from automatic welding as follows: robot welding is "a type of automatic welding conducted through the use of an industrial robot. Examples include robot arc welding and robot spot welding." As for industrial robots, JIS defines them as "machines used for industrial purposes that have an automatically-controlled manipulator or moving functionality and can perform various work based on programs."

Example of a welding robot
Example of a welding robot