Advantages of Robotic Welding: 


  • Lower Labor Costs: Yes, someone will still need to program the robot but overall you should have less workers and that means less money going towards payroll! The other advantages could also save you a significant profit. Keep reading!
  • Increased Output: A robot is going to work faster than humans. It also does not need any breaks. You may end up still needing the same amount of workers (to load material onto fixtures, etc.), but the robot will weld much faster. Most welding projects require welding in more than one spot and it takes time to move and adjust to that new spot. A robot can easily move heavy material without slowing down. It also will keep up that same output speed, because unlike humans, it won’t fatigue. 
  • Better Weld Quality: Sure, a human can weld as good as a robotic welder BUT a robotic welder would be much more likely to produce consistent quality compared to a human. 
  • Reduction in Scrap/Rework: Since robotic welders have such a high level of accuracy, they aren’t going to cause as much rework.

Disadvantages of Robotic Welding: 


  • Cost: In the long term you should be saving money by reducing your labor costs, but the initial investment in robotic welding equipment could be quite high. It could take a significant amount of time to recoup that initial investment, so make sure to have a steady workload that will keep your equipment busy. Don’t forget you’ll still need someone to program your new equipment. That employee will most likely cost more than a traditional welding employee.
  • Risk: Equipment, the economy and workforce are not always dependable or consistent. At some point in time, your equipment could require maintenance or it could fail. At some point in time, you may not have enough work to feed your equipment. And finally, at some point in time, your workforce may not know how to run the equipment or won’t be there to run it. These risks can feel more daunting when you have yet to make an ROI, but the rewards can be great if your business structure is set up properly. 
  • Lack of Flexibility: While robots can save a ton of time on repeat projects where you’re making high volumes of the same part, they may not be as efficient when it comes to lower volume projects. It takes time to set up a robot and if you’re only going to be making one or a handful of parts, your time may be better spent just knocking out the project without the robot.

Advantages of Manual Welding: 

  • Potentially Less Setup Time: It can take a lot of time to set up a robot and for smaller volume jobs, it may make more sense to just have a human welder on the job. For higher volume jobs, it could definitely be worth the extra time it takes to set it up on the robot. You’ll get that time savings back with how much faster the robot can weld the product.
  • Easily Replaceable: If a human welder leaves his place of work, it’s not a huge expense to find a substitute. If a robotic welder quits, it could cost a lot to repair or worse..replace.
  • Awareness: A human programs the robot. The robot isn’t aware of its surroundings. It is just programmed to go where it’s supposed to. It doesn’t know if it’s welding in the wrong spot over and over, someone has to tell it. A human welder is going to notice before a robot welder if there is a problem unless the problem is big enough for the equipment to malfunction/shut down.

Disadvantages of Manual Welding: 

  • Speed: Plain and simple, robots can work faster than humans. A human may be able to keep up in some situations, but, inevitably, over time they will become fatigued. 
  • Efficiency: Robots are capable of much greater accuracy than humans and they are more consistent than a human ever could be. 
  • Costs: Of course with the lower efficiency, lower speeds and lower output; a human welder leads to lower profitability. This may not always be the case depending on the workload, but if you are running high volume jobs it could definitely be cutting into your profits.

I’m going to generalize here and say that most decisions in life come down to costs. Ultimately, your costs will decide whether or not you go with a robotic welder or stick to manually welding your projects. As mentioned above, a robotic welder doesn’t guarantee that you will automatically start making more money. You have to have good employees on hand to run it and a steady workload feeding the equipment. That being said, if you do have a great staff and lots of work coming in, a robotic welder may save you LOT of time and money. Keep in mind a lot of times, metal fabrication companies have both a robotic welder running projects and have projects where they are manually welding.

Robotic Welding
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Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing Inc. works with projects that require both robotic and manual welding. Send in your project today! 

1311 Pilot Grove Rd Pilot Grove, IA
(319) 469-3961