One of the biggest problems we see from our clients is knowing how to build the proper welding process for their particular situation. There are many factors that can influence both your decision and the final result. But which ones will provide you with a high-quality weld that meets your production line's specifications? Here are a few things to keep in mind while choosing a welding process that meets your needs.
What are the requirements for the weld?
The first step is to look at what the weld will need to do. What qualities does it need? What kind of metal are you working with? In general, there are four areas to consider in a weld: fill amount, position, speed of travel and penetration. If you need to deposit a large amount of material into a heavy weld, it's much more important to have a fast-filling material than in a small weld. If the weld isn't horizontal, you'll want a weld that sets up quickly. If you need a high travel speed, you need beads that form quickly and uniformly, without skips or islands. If you're working with thick metal, you'll need much deeper penetration than you would with lightweight metals, where burn through may be a more serious problem.
What other factors will come into play?
There are several other factors to take into account as well. How quickly does your production line need to operate? Will a particular piece of equipment create a bottleneck, either before or after its use in the production line? Is the machine you're using too small to do the job effectively or too large to justify the cost on a smaller production line? How skilled are your operators or are there operators available in your area with experience in that type of machinery? Can you add additional equipment to your existing equipment to get the job done? What base metal are you using in the production? Will the seams work best with an open-arc or submerged-arc system?
What processes will meet those requirements best?
Though you can achieve most of those requirements with most welding processes, what you need to determine is which process will do the job best? In general, each type of process has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some to consider in each welding process:
- MIG: This gas metal arc welding process often has more operators available because it's an easier process to learn. It provides good control when using thinner metals. The Pulse MIG process is an extension of the stand MIG process that allows high quality application to a variety of material thickness’ and is used on steel, stainless steel, aluminum and super alloys. Both processes tend to create cleaner welds with less slag. Machinery can be adapted to other welding processes as well.
- TIG: This is another gas metal arc welding process, but uses a tungsten electrode. It can be used on a wide range of metals, including mild and stainless steels, aluminum, magnesium alloys, titanium, copper and brass. It does require a much higher level of operator experience or training than other welding processes, but delivers a precise weld with high quality and aesthetic appearance.
- Flux Core: When you need deep penetration on thicker sections of metal, this flux core arc welding process delivers. However, it works best on mild and stainless steel, which limits your capabilities to use it on other metals for future production.
If you don't take the time to select the right process, you may find yourself dealing with any number of production line issues, from excess consumables use to poor weld quality. By taking the time to determine the right welding process for your project, you can be assured that your production line can roll forward with the best possible efficiency and quality. If you need help finding the right equipment to get the job done, please contact the knowledgeable professionals at OTC Daihen. We've been providing top-quality automated welding equipment since 1979.