WELDING TECHNIQUES WE USE
There are a number of different welding techniques that can be used for a variety of applications. So, If you’ve ever been curious about the variety of welding techniques available. Also, you may be wondering which technique is suitable for a job you need doing, then this primer should help familiarise you with the welding world.
First, let’s establish a few basics.
What is welding?
Reduced down to the most basic definition, welding is the process of using heat and electricity to fuse together separate pieces of metal. The metal is heated via an electrical charge, which is most frequently provided by a welding stick or rod. Due to the extremes of heat involved and the importance of correct health and safety, any mobile welding jobs should only be entrusted to experienced professionals such as us at HMWF your local steel and aluminium welding Milton Keynes professional services.
Shielding gas is usually used to prevent the molten metal from reacting with the oxygen and other elements.
What metals can be welded?
The vast majority of metals are suitable for welding. Steel is the most commonly used metal due to its strength and durability. However, other metals — such as aluminium, copper, and cast iron — can be welded successfully providing the right techniques are used.
Speaking of techniques, let’s move on to learning a little about the different welding techniques that can be used to produce the best results, every time.
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
GMAW is also known as metal inert gas (MIG) welding. This type of welding involves a wire being run through the welding gun, which is attached to a spool. This wire is heated above its melting point by an electrode, which also heats the base metal. The metal from the gun — known as the “filler metal” — is then deposited onto the base metal, providing a secure join.
The quality of welding work completed using the GMAW technique is very high. Due to the precise nature of the wire’s distribution, the joins can be kept very small, allowing for very precise work. Also, GMAW welding is quick when compared to other welding techniques, especially when performed by an expert.
The downside of MIG techniques is that they are rather cumbersome. The welding gun has to be attached to a gas supply as well as the spool that ensures a constant ream of wire.
There are a number of different purposes for GMAW welding, but it is most commonly used in the automotive industry where precision is paramount. GMAW also has a place in the manufacturing industry.
Stick welding is also known as “shielded metal arc welding”, which is frequently abbreviated to SMAW. SMAW welding is one of the simplest welding techniques, although it still involves the requirement of a trained professional to use safely. Stick welding uses a fixed-length electrode to create an electric current that creates an arc between the stick and the metals being welded, allowing for an effective join. The electrode itself melts and becomes a part of the newly-joined structure.
One of the major benefits of stick welding is that it does not require the material to be pre-cleaned or treated, allowing for a relatively quick, simple weld. SMAW welding can be conducted in a variety of locations and does not require additional equipment such as gas, as the shielding gas is produced by the process itself, or water hoses.
The main drawback of stick welding is that it can be messy; molten splatter can be reduced by a skilled operator, but issues may still be present.
The use of stick welding is commonly found in the construction and manufacturing sectors. Furthermore, it is also suitable for repair work on damaged items.
Tungsten Gas Arc Welding
Tungsten gas arc welding (also known as TGAW, or TIG) is another type of welding that is rather different from the two previous examples above. In stick and GMAW, the electrode that is heated becomes part of the weld, assuming a place as a filler metal. This doesn’t happen in TIG welding.
TIG welding uses a tungsten electrode. Tungsten has an extremely high melting point of over 3000°C, which means it can be heated far above the melting point of steel (2750°C) or aluminium (660°C) while remaining solid. In TIG, the tungsten electrode is used to melt the base metal, and a secondary filler metal inserted by hand as the base metal is heated.
TIG is considered to be a rather messy method of welding, which does not produce such neat results compared to welding techniques that supply a filler metal. Also, the process is slower than other welding techniques.
On the upside, TIG can be used to join almost all forms of metal and works especially well for thin, nonferrous metals.
Hopefully, you found this informative, and remember: all of the above techniques are best handled only by professionals such as us at HMWF Welding Milton Keynes and Cambridge specialists.