Robotic welding starts with the welding robot. Robotic welding consists of a robot, robotic weld power source, and robotic wire feeder. There are many types of material a welding robot can weld but mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum will be the most common. There are many welding robot manufacturers on the market. Fanuc, ABB, Motoman, and kuka just to name a few. Each robot manufacture will have it's own programming language with will be executed on a teach pendant. With most welding robots the programming is done point to point with instructions on where to start and stop welding. This leads us to the robotic welding power source.
There are many robotic welding power sources on the market. The most common on a welding robot will be Lincoln, Miller, and fronius. There are many types of communication protocols from the robotic welding power source and the welding robot. The most common in todays age would be devicenet or ethernet communication protocols. The communication between the welding robot and robotic welding power source is key in having a good functioning system. Most robotic welding power sources are muti process mean that it can weld different materials even with different welding processes. For example the operator can tell the robotic welding power source to weld steel with CV (Constant Voltage) or a pulsed process. Generally this can be done just by setting it up in the arc welding schedule of the robot.
The last piece to the puzzle is the robotic welding cell or enclosure the robot is housed in. This is a key component for the safety around the robot. Robotic welding cells come in all different shapes and sizes and are usually designed around the workpiece, fixtures, and quantity of parts needed. Robotic welding cells offer the safety for humans to interact with the welding robot. Features like safety controllers and safety sensors monitor several things like entry doors or an area scanner to stop the robot if it has been opened to sensed and object in the field. Along with safety robotic welding cells will have the operation controls integrated into as well. These controls will tell the robot to start, stop and run certain programs. These controls can either consist of physical push buttons or an HMI (Human Machine Interface) touch screen.
Here is a visual of a welding robot welding a part in a fixture. This video shows the efficiency of a welding robot where no movement is wasted.