Welcome to the fascinating world of arc welding! In the process of arc welding, almost 1 billion tons of metal are welded every year, providing a strength that is especially necessary for countless industrial applications.
Arc welding processes allow for repair and new construction of large structures such as pipelines, ships, airplanes and buildings. The process of arc welding is an industry with a long, successful history that is constantly evolving with the latest technology. You may have heard of this process before, but have you ever stopped to wonder what arc welding is?
As you continue reading, you’ll learn the basics of arc welding and the wide range of applications this process encompasses.
What is Arc Welding?Arc welding is a process that is used to join metal materials together by making use of electricity that generates a high-energy arc.
This energy is generated in between the component material and an electrode that has been specifically designed for the purpose of welding. The intense heat of the arc melts the base material. This melting creates a pool of molten weld material and when this cools off, it forms a permanent bond between the two pieces that were joined.
Types of Arc Welding Process
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW): This electrode welding process is commonly called stick welding. It is one of the most versatile arc welding processes available to welders today. The process of SMAW welding uses a flux-coated consumable electrode that is used to generate the arc and the weld puddle.
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW): This arc welding process is commonly referred to as MIG (metal inert gas) welding and uses a continuous solid wire electrode that is fed through a welding gun. GMAW is used with shielding from an externally supplied gas and it produces a high-quality weld in thinner material.
It is one of the most popular arc welding processes used in industry.
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW): This form of arc welding is similar to MIG welding as it uses a continuous solid wire electrode to generate the welding arc, however, a flux-filled consumable electrode is used instead of a gas cylinder.
The flux-filled consumable electrode is inserted into the welding gun. This process is generally cheaper than MIG welding and the wire-feed rate can be changed to suit the welding job.
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW): Known more commonly as TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding, this is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the welding arc.
GTAW is often used to weld thin sections and because of the precise control over the welding process it is also used to create aesthetic welds.
Benefits of Arc WeldingArc welding is the most commonly used welding technique in several industries and for a good reason. Here are some of the benefits of arc welding:
- Widely Applicable: Arc welding is applicable in almost all industries. From automotive to aerospace, arc welding is used in numerous industries.
- High Strength: Arc welding provides high strength bonds that last for a long time. The joints created by arc welding are even stronger than the surrounding materials and are extremely durable.
- Safe Process: With the right protective gear, arc welding is a safe process. However, it is imperative to wear proper safety gear while carrying out arc welding to avoid any accidents.
- Inexpensive: Arc welding is a cost-effective technique and compared to other welding processes, it is quite economical.