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Welding professions and enthusiasts can shape or transform any shape involved in metals by just using a couple of tools in a short time. It is exciting to be able to achieve the design intended and be rewarded for it.
There are many different types of welding processes, each one appropriate for different applications and alloys. The seven most common types of welding processes are gas metal arc (GMA), flux-cored wire (FCW), electron beam (EB), high-frequency electrode-gas tungsten arc (HFE), submerged arc (SA), and plasma arc welding.
There are many factors to consider before deciding on one particular preference- types of metals used, power sources, the skill level required: The list goes on endlessly, but no matter your choice, there is an option available to fit your needs.
7 Types of Welding Processes
1. Gas Metal Welding
Its also known as MIG welding. The process involves melting metal by using a consumable electrode and the metal producing an electric arc. An electrode is a wire which is solid before it is fed in the welding pool. It’s provided continuously through the welding arc generating a filler metal to the weld.
The solid wire comes in various types and is selected according to the weld strength required, determined by the primary metal strength. During the welding, gases such as helium or argon (inert gases) are streamed to protect the electrode, the base metal, the weld pool, and the arc from interacting with the air in the surrounding.
To produce the desired weld parameters such as wire feed speed, arc current and voltage, temperatures during preheating, the current density, and the electrode travel rate should be considered.
Before the welding starts, preheating the base metal is done. Preheating involves heating the region to be welded before the welding takes place. The practice is to reduce shrinkage stress and increase cracking resistance in the welded area.
2. Tungsten Arc Welding
The process of welding here involves an electrode that is not consumable and is responsible for producing a weld. Filler metal is sourced from an external source, which is usually a bare metal rod. For autogenous welds, a filler rod is not required. Inert gas is used to shield the weld pool from possible contamination by the atmosphere.
Tungsten inert welding, also called TIG welding, is the best for working with stainless steel, thin sections, and other light metals such as copper alloy, magnesium, and aluminum. The method of welding lets the operator have a lot of control. The weld produced is said to be of high integrity and stronger. Its disadvantage is that it’s more complex and slower.
3. Shielded Metal Arc Welding
Also called stick electrode welding. Until the beginning of 1980, metal arc welding was the predominant form of fusion welding. The electrode used here consists of a coated wire; the coating comprises a mixture of substances such as iron powder, chemicals, and minerals.
The core diameter of the electrode comes in different sizes intended for a particular current. Both the iron powder and the electrode powder, in this case, produce the weld.
The weld will form after striking an arc between the workpiece and the electrode, and the heat generated will melt the coating to form a protective slag, which you should remove after welding.
The method is straightforward and suitable for structures erection and other outdoor activities as it is not affected by the windy environment. Changing the electrode after it is consumed and chipping off the slag after welding makes shielded metal welding time-consuming.
4. Flux-Cored Arc Welding
It uses a continuous wire process that is useful and good. The method is more economical compared to shield metal arc welding. Its natural heavy-duty cycle makes it possible to achieve an effective deposition rate.
The welding technique qualifies to be used on welding both the vertical downhill and vertical uphill welding. The coalescence of metal here is achieved by heating the metals using an arc that supplies a consumable electrode continuously between the metals. A flux found in the electrode contains deoxidizers that provide shielding, or it may be obtained from externally supplied inertia gas.
5. Plasma Arc Welding
By heating the metals with a constricted or a plasma arc, this technique achieves the coalescence of the metals. The plasma arc is established between the base metal and an electrode, which is not consumable.
Plasma arc welding produces heating like any other type of welding, but it diffuses differently as its constriction is achieved forcefully through a smaller orifice. You can use an auxiliary shielding gas source to supplement the plasma gas. The axillary source application will offer a better welding quality and speed.
6. Energy Beam Welding
It uses the help of an energy beam, which may either be a laser or an electron beam. Energy beam welding is a new process of welding, which has been highly appreciated because its highly efficient, and less time is used during the welding process.
The laser beam of light is highly focused on the metal for welding to take place. In the case of electron welding, the metals involved are put in a vacuum and then subjected to a forced electron beam to weld the metals.
The laser and electron beams are of exceptionally high density, making it possible to penetrate deeply into the metal. The processes involved are fast and can also be automated, making it likely to increase production.
7. Atomic Hydrogen Welding
The welding is conducted in a shielded hydrogen atmosphere. Two tungsten electrodes and hydrogen gas breaks are used in the process to generate tremendous heat that breaks the hydrogen molecules involved, which will later recombine to release immense energy. The energy produced is then used for the welding process.
The presence of hydrogen prevents any contamination of the weld formed. It is the welding process that is involved in welding tungsten metal. Tungsten metals are the most difficult metal to weld.
Each of the welding techniques comes with its advantages and disadvantages that will seem different to different operators. It now on you to choose one that will favor both you and your productivity. Also, proper practice is needed.