Cobots vs Robots in Industrial Welding Applications

Cobots vs Robots in Industrial Welding Applications

Cobots Vs Robots In Welding Applications
Cobots Vs Robots In Welding Applications

Robots in welding applications are a crucial part of industrial manufacturing processes, particularly prevalent in the metalworking sector. Achieving efficiency, precision, and safety in welding processes is a key goal, especially within the scope of Industry 4.0 in modern production facilities. To meet these objectives, various automation technologies such as robots and cobots (collaborative robots) are available.

However, deciding which type to prefer involves a complex decision process encompassing many factors.

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Robots and Cobots: Key Differences and Features

Robots: Robots are foundational to industrial automation. Traditional industrial robots are usually programmed for specific tasks, offering repeatability and often operating separately from human operators. These robots can work at high speeds and precision, making them ideal for repetitive tasks in large production facilities.

Cobots: Cobots, a subset of collaborative robots, are intelligent robots capable of sharing workspaces with humans and interacting with them. This characteristic fosters collaboration and flexibility, particularly suitable for smaller-scale businesses and research and development projects within both small and large enterprises.


Advantages of Robots in Welding Applications

Several reasons make traditional industrial robots preferable for welding applications:

  1. High Speed and Precision:
    Speed and precision are critical in welding processes. Industrial robots can work at high speeds with repeatable precision, enhancing quality and efficiency.
  2. Suitability for Large-Scale Production:
    In large-scale production facilities, industrial robots are preferred for continuous and repeatable tasks. In welding processes, many parts may need welding based on the same molds or templates, demonstrating the strength of traditional industrial robots.
  3. Safety and Risk Mitigation:
    Industrial robots can work independently from human operators, increasing workplace safety and reducing potential risks associated with human intervention.

The Role of Cobots in Welding Applications

Cobots offer different uses and advantages than traditional industrial robots:

  1. Flexibility and Collaboration:
    Cobots can share the same space as humans and interact with human operators. This flexibility fosters collaboration and is particularly advantageous in variable production environments.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness for Small-Scale Businesses:
    Cobots generally have lower initial investment costs and are easier to install and program. For small-scale businesses, cobots offer a more accessible automation solution.
  3. Collaboration with Human Operators:
    In some welding scenarios, human skill and intervention may be required but Cobots can enhance collaboration by interacting with operators in such scenarios.

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Maintenance Costs and Robot Selection

Choosing robots or cobots in welding applications not only focuses on investment costs, but also requires considering maintenance costs.

Maintenance costs are an important factor that occurs throughout the life of the robot or cobot and affects operating costs.

  1. Traditional Welding Robots:
    Maintaining traditional industrial robots often requires expertise, potentially increasing maintenance costs. Maintenance tasks such as part replacements, software updates, and system revisions can impact operating costs.
  2. Next-Generation Cobots:
    Cobot maintenance is generally simpler, and with user-friendly interfaces, operators can easily perform maintenance with minimal training. Maintenance requirements are less complex, and parts are typically easily accessible.

Maintenance costs constitute a significant portion of the total cost of ownership for robots or cobots. Therefore, when selecting a robot or cobot for an application, maintenance costs alongside initial investment costs should be considered.

Factors That Affect Decision Makers

For decision-makers such as Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) professionals, plant managers, and production supervisors, whether to use robots or cobots in welding applications is a crucial decision point concerning business performance, productivity, and workplace safety.

  • OHS professionals seek solutions to reduce workplace risks and evaluate technology to maximize operator safety.
  • Plant managers aim to increase production process efficiency and reduce costs by investing in automation technologies.
  • Production supervisors consider operational flexibility, workflow optimization, maintenance costs, and long-term return on investment, among other factors.

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Conclusion and Evaluation

The choice between robots and cobots in welding applications depends on the specific requirements, budget, environmental conditions, maintenance costs, and priorities of decision-makers. Traditional industrial robots excel in high speed, repeatability, and large-scale production, while cobots offer flexibility, collaboration, and lower maintenance costs.

In both cases, operator safety, environmental health, and maintenance costs are paramount. Measures like welding fume extraction units, developed specifically for robotic welding applications, can enhance workplace safety in both types of robot applications.

To find the most suitable solution, the requirements of the specific application, budget constraints, operational conditions, and decision-makers’ priorities should be carefully considered.

Our content emphasizing worker and environmental health is for informational purposes only and has been prepared with the scientific data on the registration date. For all your questions, concerns, diagnosis or treatment about your health, please consult your doctor or health institution.

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