The Evolution of Motoman Arc Welding Robots

Feb 10, 2015

Motoman robotics continues to innovate and create solutions for their customers that bring continued improvement and efficiency. This is seen with the Expert Arc series that arrived in 2001. The EA welding robots from Motoman bring 6-axes of integrated through-arm cabling to decrease overall maintenance and increase overall precision.


Motoman Robot­ics has been build­ing robots since 1977. Over the last 35+ years, they have done every­thing they can to improve upon those weld­ing robots to ensure that their cus­tomers have the best robot­ic weld­ing sys­tem avail­able. As Motoman arc weld­ing robots have evolved, they have def­i­nite­ly become more spectacular.

The Begin­ning

Let’s go back in time to the late 1970s – dis­co was in full swing, hair was sky high, and Motoman Robot­ics released its first weld­ing robot (also its first robot ever), the Motoman L‑10. While it was not as easy to pro­gram as a Motoman robot of today, the L‑10 was rev­o­lu­tion­ary for Motoman, and its five axes of move­ment was a break­through for the com­pa­ny – lead­ing to larg­er accom­plish­ments down the road.

Mov­ing into the fast-paced 1980s and 1990s, robot­ic automa­tion real­ly began to pick up, and so did the evo­lu­tion of the Motoman weld­ing robot. From 1982 – 1985, Motoman released three new weld­ing robots – the L10W, the L10WA, and the L106. The 1990s brought the K‑series, the SK-series and the UP-series of robots, all with improved work­loads, axis move­ment and con­trollers. How­ev­er, it was the 2000s that real­ly start­ed to bring expert arc weld­ing to the Motoman Robot­ics forefront.

From 2001 until today, Motoman has evolved their arc weld­ing robot automa­tion more than ever before. Expert, Super Speed, Ver­sa­tile and Mas­ter – these are the names of this improved gen­er­a­tion of Motoman arc welder.

Expert Arc

Con­sid­ered Motoman’s first appli­ca­tion-spe­cif­ic robots, the Expert Arc” EA1400 and EA1900 robots arrived in 2001.

These arc weld­ing robots had sleek 6‑axis builds and inte­grat­ed through-arm cabling. They were capa­ble of exact, speedy move­ment. Their 3kg pay­loads and +/- 0.08mm repeata­bil­i­ty were well-suit­ed for arc weld­ing. (These design fea­tures and per­for­mance capa­bil­i­ties remained Motoman arc weld­ing stand­bys, even as the man­u­fac­tur­er con­tin­ued to devel­op oth­er aspects.) The EA1400 pro­vid­ed a reach of 1388mm, the EA1900 a reach of 1893mm. They were designed to work with the XRC controller.

In 2004, Motoman rein­tro­duced the EA Series with a brand new con­troller. The new and improved EA1400N and EA1900N now worked with the NX100 con­troller. The reach of the EA1400N and EA1900N was extend­ed slight­ly to 1390mm and 1904mm and a cou­ple of the main axis speeds increased. The EA1800N, a heav­ier-pay­load (15kg) mod­el, was also added to the series.

Super Speed Arc

A few years lat­er, Motoman came out with the SSA Super Speed” arc weld­ing robot. At first glance this robot seems much like the EA1400N. After all, it has a 3kg pay­load, 1,390mm reach, NX100 con­troller, and six axes of flex­i­bil­i­ty. But looks can be deceiv­ing. The SSA2000 is capa­ble of 15% faster weld­ing cycle times than its predecessors.

How is this achieved? The SSA2000 is equipped with pow­er­ful gear reduc­ers which increase axis speeds by as much as 40%. Motoman spe­cial­ly designed this robot to pro­vide faster air cut” times. The weld­ing itself does not speed up, but the move­ment between welds does.

Ver­sa­tile Arc

Speed was­n’t enough. The next robot need­ed to be super flex­i­ble as well. With the VA1400 Ver­sa­tile Arc” robot, Motoman chal­lenged the basic tenets of indus­tri­al robot design. This arc weld­ing robot has sev­en (not six) axes of movement.

This sev­enth, E‑axis, gives the robot­ic arm an elbow-like joint. Not only does the VA1400 have bet­ter part acces­si­bil­i­ty, it has the flex­i­bil­i­ty to always keep the weld­ing torch in the opti­mal posi­tion. Plus, the VA1400 boasts axis speeds that are even faster than the SSA2000.

Mas­ter Arc 

Motoman intro­duced the MA Mas­ter Arc” robot series towards the end of 2009. A return to 6‑axis design, the MA series pro­vides more options, with five stan­dard robot mod­els: MA1400, MA1650T, MA1800, MA1900, and MA3100, as well as a ceiling/​wall versions.

This large robot fam­i­ly offers axis speeds faster than the SSA2000, two extend­ed reach ver­sions (MA1900 and MA3100), a large pay­load mod­el (MA1800), as well as slim­mer pro­files and unbeat­able dexterity.

Look­ing into the Future

While the Mas­ter Arc series seems hard to beat, it is unlike­ly that Motoman’s quest for the per­fect arc weld­ing robot is over. In the mean­time, if you’re inter­est­ed in pur­chas­ing any of the Motoman arc weld­ing robots men­tioned here, con­tact Robots​.com online or at 8777626881.

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