Welding is defined as the process of intertwining two parts of the same material together by melting them under high heat in order to enable fusion. There are different applications of welding depending on the method and we are going to take a brief look at the four which I think are most popular; MIG, TIG, FCAW, and SMAW.
Metal Inert Gas Welding
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is a semi-automatic or automatic process of arc-welding in which a continuously fed, consumable solid wire electrode and shielding gas, typically carbon dioxide, with the assistance of an electric power source melt the electrode and transfer the material into welding joint.
The primary applications of MIG welding in the manufacturing industry include automotive repair, equipment reconstruction, production of wear-resistant coatings, welding steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys as well as refurbishing surfaces exposed to wear and tear among other uses.
Tungsten Inert Gas Welding
TIG welding is an arc-welding process which utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode and shielding gas, typically argon or helium, for the purpose of arc shielding. TIG welding is customarily used to welds more delicate materials such as thin sections of steel, stainless steel as well as aluminum, brass, chrome and copper alloys and even exotic metals such as magnesium and titanium.
This form of welding is mainly used in the aerospace industry for the production of thin sheets used in fuel pipes as well as the manufacturing industry for modes of transportation such as bicycles which require welding for thin, tubular materials of a small diameter.
Flux Cored Arc Welding
FCAW is another semi-automatic or in some cases fully automatic process of arc-welding that makes use of a continuously fed, consumable tubular electrode with a flux embedded within which generates both gaseous and liquid weld protection which eliminates the essential need for a shielding gas, although shielding gas it may be required in some particular welding processes.
FCAW is predominantly used in the shipbuilding and construction industry as it is the most cost-efficient option in terms of labor and equipment costs but is also used for purposes such as manufacturing and pipeline welding.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding
Stick welding, also referred to as SMAW, is probably the most commonly used welding method out of the four mentioned. Stick welding is an arc-welding method that utilizes an electrode, generally a solid metal rod or “stick”, as well as an electric current supply to intertwine metal parts together. The most common metals employed in stick welding are steel, stainless steel, and cast iron.
Stick welding is applied in various industries for various purposes, inclusive of all applications aforementioned in this article. It is principally used for maintenance and reparation purposes on both small and large scales. The most common industrial usage of stick welding is in reparation, pressure vessel fabrication, pipeline welding and construction of steel structures as is required in shipbuilding.
All in all, every method has its own place, different methods are good for different applications, but for beginner or hobbyist, although stick welding is still considered to be the most popular process, wire feed welding is still considered to be the easiest method to master as a novice. If you are interested to learn more about those welding methods, check out my next article discussing the pros and cons of each welding method mentioned.