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What are the differences between MIG/MAG welding and TIG Welding

Industry, Welding

In an industry as competitive as metalworking, there is a constant demand for improvements of the production processes and the consequent increase in the productivity of companies. That's why it's so important to choose the best welding process to achieve the result you are looking for.

In an industry as competitive as metalworking, there is a constant demand for improvements of the production processes and the consequent increase in the productivity of companies. For this reason, over the years, several welding processes have been developed and it is important to know what makes them so distinct.

Welding is, in essence, a process that joins metal parts together. Of the various existing processes (such as coated electrode, oxyacetylene or submerged arc), this article will focus on two: MIG/MAG welding and TIG welding, which, as a rule, are the most used in robotic welding cells in different industries.



MIG/MAG (Metal Inert Gas / Metal Active Gas) welding consists of a continuous welding wire protected by an atmosphere. The only difference between MIG and MAG is the type of gas that is used. In case of MIG welding, an inert gas is used (this gas doesn’t react with the weld bead material, such as argon or helium) which is ideal when working with aluminum, copper, magnesium or titanium. Whereas in the case of MAG welding is used an active gas (such as CO2), ideal for carbon steel or stainless steels parts.

At the beginning of its development, MIG/MAG welding was well accepted, mainly in the automotive sector, but it was considered an expensive process for most industries. Later, with the development of CO2 and other shielding gases, the process became more accessible and easy to monetize which led to its use in most of the industrial sectors.

MIG/MAG welding process has the following main advantages:

  • High welding speed (when compared to the various existing processes);
  • It’s easy to weld in different positions;
  • High material deposition rate;
  • Less metal distortion.

Bearing these characteristics in mind, this welding process is most used in:

  • Welding of large metal parts, as the equipment withstands longer welding periods, thus ensuring greater productivity;
  • Welding of metal parts with high thickness.



TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding uses an electric arc between the metals to be joined and a tungsten electrode. This type of welding, when well executed, has a very high quality and is usually used in demanding projects (such as the aeronautical industry projects) of aluminum or stainless steel.

The origin of this type of welding begins with the discovery of the electric arc using a carbon electrode. As the years went by, and as with MIG/MAG welding, the use of different gases to protect the welding area made this process suitable for different types of materials in the different industries.

The main advantages of the TIG welding process are:

  • High quality of the weld beads;
  • Less heating of the welded part;
  • Absence of splashes.

This process is ideal when welding small parts with small/medium thicknesses that require high quality welding.



When choosing a welding process, more than the technical specificities of each process, it is necessary to take into account different factors such as the type of materials to be welded, the time of completion of the project and the investment that one is willing to make. 

If welding is done manually, the welder's technique and experience must also be taken into account. MIG/MAG welding is usually used in these cases due to its ease of learning. TIG welding technique turns out to be more demanding, as one hand needs to hold the rod to feed the bead, while the other hand holds the torch.

The main differences between the two welding processes are essentially the following:

  • TIG welding is a high quality welding process, ideal for when higher precision is required. In this case the end result is a “cleaner” bead, in the case of MIG / MAG welding the bead is more robust;
  • In terms of speed, given its precision and focus on details, TIG welding tends to be slower when compared to MIG/MAG welding. TIG welding is indicated for smaller parts and specific projects and MIG/MAG welding for large parts and large production volumes.
  • MIG/MAG welding is suitable for thick pieces, unlike TIG welding, which presents better results in thinner pieces;
  • Regarding investment, MIG/MAG equipment and its consumables are, as a rule, cheaper than TIG equipment.


In conclusion...

If your production includes a high volume of large parts with medium or large thicknesses, where speed is a factor to take into account, perhaps MIG/MAG welding is the way to go.

If, on the other hand, you have a lower production volume of smaller and thinner parts, where the focus is on the detail, probably TIG welding will bring the results you are looking for.



Are you still having doubts about the best welding process for your company?

Motofil has been developing robotic welding cells for more than 30 years, for large or small projects, with different degrees of demand, using different welding processes.

Get in touch with us, talk with our technicians and increase the productivity of your company by having by your side a leading partner in the development of welding solutions for the metalworking industry.


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