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Popular Types of Welding

By: edm

Welding is an art said to have been practised long before time. It involves the melting of metal and other metal-derivable substances causing fusion. Welding is far from easy. It is possibly one of the most tasking jobs in the world today. It requires a great deal of skill and practice.

This article is aimed at providing you with the necessary information you need about different types of welding processes and their applications. There are a lot of details involved in welding. And they must be carried out effectively to achieve desired results.

Of the several types of welding processes, only a few are commonly used today. These welding processes are popular because of their effectiveness in the modern world. The most popular welding processes are listed below:

  • Metal Inert Gas (MIG)
  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding (GTAW)
  • Electron Beam Welding (EBW)

To understand what each type of welding process listed above means, you will need to practise one of welding’s longest-standing traditions: paying attention.

Metal Inert Gas (MIG)

This type of welding process requires the utmost attention. If not, it may quickly become very hazardous to practise. If handled by a great craftsman, MIG will produce marvellous things.

It involves the use of a welding gun. This welding gun shoots a continual flow of electrodes. The continuous flow then proceeds to heat the targeted metal until it melts and is then beaten to the desired shape. This is becoming increasingly popular among welders everywhere for its straightforward and easy-to-follow practice.

What are the advantages?

This type of welding process offers you the advantage of adhering to strict waste management rules. MIG helps reduce waste to the barest minimum. With MIG, there are minimal metallic shards to clean up afterwards.

What are the disadvantages?

One significant disadvantage of this type of welding process is the high cost it requires. For MIG to work, you need the right equipment. These equipment require money, lots of it. For an average-earning welder, this may pose some problems.

Another disadvantage is the presence of the high risk of accident involved. With the continuous flow of electrodes, you run a high risk of injuring yourself. Of course, the use of the right protective equipment reduces this risk.

Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

FCAW has been sometimes compared to the MIG process because of their similarities in execution. However, this type of welding is entirely different. Like the MIG, it also involves a continual flow of electrodes through a welding gun. Instead of solid wires, however, it requires a wire in the shape of a tube. The wire in this type of welding is usually filled with flux.

What are the advantages?

The significant advantage of this is the portability it offers. Hence, it is usually used for major construction jobs. The combination of the speed and it’s easy-to-move option makes it a preferred choice for most construction agents.

Like the MIG, it also keeps waste to the barest minimum. There is usually little debris to clean up after welding is done. This is more important than it seems. For construction projects in urban areas, it is pertinent that waste is reduced to the minimum.

What are the disadvantages?

An unfortunate disadvantage of this type of welding process is the amount of smoke it produces. This smoke can be harmful to human health. The fact that it is usually used in urban areas is even more unsettling.

Another disadvantage is the high cost of the materials involved. The materials needed to make this process work are numerous and equally expensive. Again, for average-earners, this is not the best choice.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

Popularly referred to as Stick Welding among welders generally, SMAW involves the passage of electrode through a ‘stick.’ This stick acts as a connection between the currents and the metal to be welded. Usually used in steel production factories, SMAW is the preferred option for most other commercial factories/plants.

What are the advantages?

Unlike the MIG, one advantage of the Shielded Metal Arc Welding process is the fact that it incurs minimal cost. It is immensely less expensive to run this type of welding compared to most other processes. This makes it very popular among average-earning welders around the globe.

What are the disadvantages?

The most obvious disadvantage is the quality of the materials produced. It is usually used for thin materials like sub-par steel. For more solid metals, however, joints are bound to break apart eventually and more rapidly than those welded using other solid processes like the MIG.

Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding

GTAW makes use of a tungsten-powered electrode to heat the target metals. The metal, sufficiently-heated at a high level, is then bent to the desired shapes. The tungsten electrode turns the metal into some sort of molten puddle. This puddle of sorts is then used to create the intended material.

What are the advantages?

An advantage of GTAW is the ability to weld extremely thin materials –  an advantage really important for commercial use. Along with its manoeuvring ability, it produces only a little amount of debris and waste.

What are the disadvantages?

A significant disadvantage is the complexity it requires. This process requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and experience, as many things could go wrong. For average welders or newbies, this process is not advisable. It is very complex and challenging to practise.

Electron Beam Welding (EBW)

This involves the use of electrons to melt metals. The electrons are produced through the use of a welding gun. The fired electrons melt the target metal and are then fused. It is an ideal choice for thin materials and small ones.

What are the advantages?

The advantage this offers is that it provides the welder with the ability to weld thin materials effectively. It is usually used to produce electrical parts and materials.

What are the disadvantages?

EBW runs a high risk of accidents. In the wrong hands, EBW can quickly degenerate into a disaster. This is one of the reasons why it is the least popular type among welders today.

In conclusion

Different types of metalwork applications require different types of welding processes. It all depends on the amount of wriggle room you have in terms of cost of operation. For top class welding services and fabrications, you can reach out to us at Mark Steel Fabrication.

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