Industry and manufacturing are cornerstones of our society. They allow us to enjoy a high quality of living and they also hold the promise of even greater advances in the future. However, the industrial and manufacturing sectors could not exist without the equipment, structures, and resources created by industrial fabrication, and in turn industrial fabrication as we know it could not exist without welding. Let’s take a look at how welding serves industrial fabrication as well as the different types of welding services.
How Welding In General Serves Industrial Fabrication
Welding is the process of securely joining two materials together using the process of coalescence and often also a filler material. Welding releases heat and energy which in turn liquefies the materials at the intended joint. When the materials re-solidify a secure joint is formed. Typically the materials joined consist of metals or thermoplastics.
Welding allows advanced fabrication to be undertaken by securely affixing these materials and thus facilitating the creation of a more developed piece of equipment or structure which can then be used accordingly for its intended purpose. In order to accomplish this important role welding must be versatile enough to work with a wide variety of different metals and thermoplastics in a range of varied, often difficult conditions.
Types of Welding Services and Their Applications
Because the conditions, demands, and materials to be joined vary widely, different types of welding processes have been developed. Each process serves a different need and has its own set of pros and cons and general applications. What follows is a description of several of the most common and important welding services.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) – Shielded Metal Arc Welding is also known as “SMAW” or as “stick welding.” The stick in question refers to the electrode, which is coated in a protectant flux. An electrode holder holds the “stick” in place and an electric arc is created using either direct or alternating current. This in turn causes the electrode to slowly melt away while also melting the metals to be joined. At the same time the flux coating releases a gas vapor which, together with the slag, creates a shielded environment to protect the weld area from contamination.
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, also known as “GTAW” or “TIG welding” uses a tungsten electrode to produce the weld. Unlike SMAW welding the electrode is not consumed during the welding process. Instead the weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by an inert gas, often Argon or Helium gas. The acronym “TIG” refers to “Tungsten Inert Gas.”
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) – Gas Metal Arc Welding, also known as “GMAW” or “MIG welding” uses a consumable wire electrode that is fed through a welding gun. An inert shielding gas such as Argon or a mixture of Argon and Carbon Dioxide is also sprayed over the welding puddle to protect it from contamination. MIG welding has become the most common welding method in industrial settings because of its versatility and relative ease. However, it is not ideal for use outdoors or in other areas with high air volatility.
Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) – Flux-Cored Arc Welding, or “FCAW,” is very similar to MIG welding; however, it features the use of a special tubular wire that is filled with flux. The flux may be sufficient by itself to protect the welding puddle from contamination or a shielding gas may also be used, depending on the filler material and other circumstances.
Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) – Submerged Arc Welding, or “SAW,” uses a consumable electrode that is fed automatically. It also uses a characteristic blanket of granular fusible flux, consisting of several compounds including silica, lime, calcium fluoride, and manganese oxide among others. This blanket of granular flux thus completely “submerges” the welding area thereby protecting it.
Together these, and other welding services, do an outstanding job of servicing the industrial fabrication industry, especially when they are performed by highly qualified, experienced welders. Polaris is proud to offer these high quality welding services to our customers. We have the versatility and skill it takes to undertake fabrication of a full assortment of piping, structural steel, and pressure vessels as needed. Please contact us for further information.