Automated CNC Vs. Hand Gun Welding

Guest post by Peter Jacobs

In the welding industry, the widely accepted notion is that automated systems create a more accurate finish than traditional handheld welding systems. CNC welding ensures that each component of the stud welding process is calibrated and well-controlled to deliver consistent results. 

While handheld welding can provide you with a decent level of precision, there still is room for human error. However, this does not imply that automated CNC machines are best suited for all projects.

Automated CNC Machinery Vs. Hand Gun Welding featured image

Automated CNC Machinery VS Hand Gun Welding – Which One Should You Choose?

Here is an overview and the advantages of both automated CNC machinery and handgun welding and which one should you prefer according to your requirements.


Automated CNC Machining

CNC machines portray blazing fast work speeds, are efficient, and customizable as per your requirements. Whether you require a long or short production run, automated CNC machines operate effortlessly to render high accuracy. 

Automated CNC machining is the most suited for an extensive range of projects. Every part of the CNC machining process is computer-controlled for robust, long-lasting results.

Some reasons why automated machines should be your preferred choice for an upcoming project include –

  • Fastest Welding Rates – Automated CNC machines are capable of welding about 60 studs each minute.
  • Enhanced accuracy – CNC machines deliver an accuracy rate of over +/- 0.15mm, which eliminates all scope for errors.
  • A Larger Surface Area Welding – Since CNC machines are automated, you can weld about 3000 x 2000 mm.
  • Multiple Components Usability – To achieve a higher precision rate, you can use several components for the same job to further boost production. 

On top of all, CNC machines are a more profitable solution. Some CNC machines are ideal for heavy machining, while others, such as a tabletop CNC, handle frequent processing and supervise small tasks. Regardless of the size of the CNC machine you own, automation ensures longer-lasting production, leading to a reduced workload on your specialist staff.

Contrary to what most people would believe, CNC machines demand a relatively low level of skill for operation. A single operator can oversee several CNC machines simultaneously, unlike traditional machining, which requires at least one skilled operator. 

Brief video of automated CNC welding in action:

CNC 5 axis welding

Benefits of Automated CNC Machinery in Welding

Automated machining is an ideal choice for most projects owing to its high speed and ultra-precision. CNC machines are used for both long and short production runs and several other larger projects. Here are some benefits of using CNC machining –

Efficiency 

CNC machines deliver high precision relative to any other welding approach, which makes them remarkably efficient. Modern manufacturers can curb waste and minimize the costs of production significantly.

Precision 

The digital template and autonomous machining rendered by the CNC process essentially eliminate human error. CNC machines are capable of delivering an accuracy within 1/1000th.

Speed

CNC machines can combine several manufacturing steps from a single computer. The time these machines take to create a product is very brief. Such high production speeds enable modern manufacturing firms to achieve a significantly higher turnover rate. 

Welding Terms and Definitions Free Download

Consistency

CNC machines ensure consistency throughout the production line regardless of the hours of operation. Besides the occasional downtime for maintenance, CNC machines are incredibly consistent and precise in manufacturing.

Handheld Welding

Welding that does not involve automation will be slower and less precise due to human error. An automated machine can accomplish a given task faster and with greater accuracy upon receiving the program.

However, for specific jobs, a handgun welder might be a faster solution in the short term. 

Some reasons why handheld guns should be your preferred choice for an upcoming project include –

  • Optimum for Metal Joining – The welding gun is vital for metal joining, essentially for high production operations.
  • High Efficiency – Handgun boosts the efficiency of the welding process by allowing professional welders to stay comfortable during welding.
  • Polished Finishing – Handheld welding also encourages neater welded finishes if the welder is skilled and can minimize human error.
  • Various Use-Cases – Welding guns can be used in different types of welding, such as spot welding and other forms of arc welding, for instance, MIG welding or flux-cored welding.

Benefits of Handgun Welding

Handheld welding is often employed for short-run jobs. Handguns are also highly versatile and enable welding for a variety of materials. In some cases, a welder might achieve a higher degree of polished finishing. Check out these benefits of handgun welding:

Tailored to your Preferences

Handheld welding guns help a welder customize more efficiently to meet the clients’ requirements. The welder can tailor the weld bead profile as wide as is required by the client. This perk boosts the efficiency of the welding process and the final quality of the weld.

Energy Efficiency

Large-scale CNC welding machines can get bulky and power intensive. Due to such high consumption, your power bills can skyrocket. With energy-efficient handheld welding, you can keep the prices low.

Ideal for Challenging Scenarios

Welding guns are the preferred choice in challenging operating conditions. For instance, the guns are better suited to perform welds on an orbiting spacecraft, where transporting and using an automated CNC machine might not be ideal.


Final Words

With the advent of CNC machining in the welding process, several manufacturers have hopped on the wagon of automation to perform small to large-scale projects. Automation delivers high levels of accuracy and precision while maintaining high welding speeds.

However, certain industries and small-scale projects can benefit from handheld welding as well. Handheld welding is more convenient for some welders since it can be tailored better to suit the clients’ needs. Handheld welding guns are also beneficial in tricky scenarios where using CNC machining might not be ideal.

About the Author:

Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.

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