Cobot vs. Robot – automation in welding

Posted by Thilo Schmitz on Jun 5, 2023 7:49:12 AM
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The question is no longer whether automation makes sense in the industry, but rather which type of automation is a better fit for welding - cobots or robots? While both technologies are capable of automating the welding process and thus increasing productivity, there are specific advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered when making a decision. In this blog post, we will look at the differences between cobots and robots in welding, highlighting factors to consider for effective automation of the welding process.

The industrial robot - the established choice for increasing productivity

Robots have long been an established option for welding process automation. They offer high speed and precision, resulting in higher welding quality. Another advantage of robots is that they are able to handle heavier and unwieldy welding parts, which would be difficult or impossible for humans. Robots can also work around the clock, which can help increase the efficiency of welding processes.


However, there are also disadvantages to using robots. They are often large and require a lot of space, which can make them costly to install and operate. The initial cost can also be considerable, depending on the number of units required. Programming and operating robots can be complicated, especially when performing complex welding tasks. Programming with the programming device on the large industrial robot is complex and users usually need to be specially trained. Industrial robots are mainly used for large production runs.

The cobot - collaborative or just easier to program?

Cobots, on the other hand, are a relatively new option for the automation of welding processes. An special image has been built up for cobots, so there is less fear of contact in many fields. Many people have a lot of respect for an industrial robot and a certain amount of reluctance exists. There is no reason for this, as there are no major differences between cobots and industrial robots in terms of size and also in the associated work area. However, cobots are usually easier to programme and operate, which can help to reduce the time required for automation. The initial cost is also usually a lot less than an industrial robot.


With the focus on merely performing the joining task, the real advantage of the cobot is not the collaborative, but the nature of the easy-to-program lightweight robot. The simple, hand-held programming is intuitive and makes it easier to get started with automated welding. Changes in the welding task are also easy to manage with cobots, as they are easier and faster to reprogram.

Even in automation, safety should not be neglected!

It is particularly important to point out that certain safety guidelines must be observed for both cobots and autonomous industrial robots. In Europe, for example, the Machinery Directive stipulates that in the event of a hazard emanating from a machine, this hazard must be averted by safety devices or directly avoided from the outset. Whether autonomous or collaborative, the hazards in welding are the same and appropriate measures must be taken to remedy them. The main issues here are the arc and direct contact with hot or live parts. For both, enclosure is the safest and best option.

If you would like to learn more about the topic, please also read our blog Welding with a robot - the 5 most common mistakes.

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Topics: Robotic Welding, Automation