How Is Welding Used In Manufacturing
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How is welding used in manufacturing? Find out more about the different types of welding and what they are used for.
How does welding work?
Specific methods such as soldering and brazing aren't capable of melting the base metal, unlike welding techniques typically of a much higher heat input process with an additional filler rod material. However, all aspects and types of welding are quickly rectified if you execute a bad weld and many professionals weld over the top of welded metal with high precision or cut the metals into and start again.
A weld pool of molten materials results from such a high temperature; once it cools down, the melted parts will merge to create an even stronger bond, often referred to as the parent metal. You can also use immense pressure, as surface tension helps produce a solid weld by itself or by introducing extreme heat to enhance or quicken the process.
Several methods you can apply to your melted metals and typically added filler metals that you may include that will protect them from being oxidised or becoming contaminated, for example, using shielding gases.
Plastic welding utilises many materials and can be successfully achieved in three stages unless you are partaking in solvent welding. Firstly, professionals ensure they apply plenty of heat and pressure before the melted materials fuse and eventually cool down to become solid.
Generally, plastics intended for joining can be exclusively separated into internal or external heating methods regardless of the process used.
Wood welding uses heat predominantly generated from the friction emitted between two materials when striving to join them. Its materials are subjected to a great deal of pressure, ultimately creating linear friction movements that allow a solid heat to develop and be the catalyst for your workpiece's bond to be created.
The wood joining process is quite a fast process that engineers discovered you could complete without using adhesives or nails, making the task last seconds and therefore highly productive.
Different types and what they are used for
With the vast amount of welding and manufacturing processes available for professional use, engineers have plenty of options for joining and fusing two materials or joints to curate a product. Professionals can join lap joints, corner joints, butt joints, edge joints and many more.
Each industry has different applications and techniques that suit its working environment; these other welding methods include:
The arc welding category includes many semi-automatic, automatic and standard manual welding processes that most welders and engineers will be familiar with. Some of these methods include the following:
- MIG Welding (Metal Inert Gas)
- Stick Welding
- TIG Welding / GTAW Welding (Tungsten Inert Gas or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding)
- Gas Welding MAG Welding (Metal Active Gas)
- FCAW Welding (Flux-Cored Arc)
- GMAW Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
- SAW Welding (Submerged Arc Welding)
- SMAW (Plasma Arc Welding)
- FOW (Forge Welding)
- Ultrasonic Welding
- Oxyacetylene Welding
- Electroslag Welding
Plenty of these techniques and varying processes provide a separate filler material that you predominantly use to join other metals such as aluminium, copper alloys, titanium, cobalt and stainless steel.
Arc welding is a technique used worldwide to cater to a wide range of manufacturing industries, including automotive, constant voltage power supplies, oil and gas, aerospace and many more.
Friction welding techniques are another way to join materials to create new products using mechanical friction. Such can be performed in vast ways utilising a substantial amount of welding materials, such as wood, aluminium and steel. Like various other methods, mechanical friction can generate heat to create a strong bond after it cools down.
Heat creates thermal expansion, and after it cools, it will shrink. Friction welding can come in numerous processes, for example, FSSW (Friction Stir Spot Welding), FSW (Friction Stir Welding), RFW (Rotary Friction Welding) and LFW (Linear Friction Welding). Each method achieves the same or similar outcomes, but the joining technique is usually different. Unlike other methods, friction welding points require no shielding gas, filler metals or flux to be functional and produce materials.
It is a form of welding typically used to create and provide for aerospace applications as it's fantastic for joining light-weight aluminium alloys or otherwise 'non-weldable' items. Those in the engineering and welding industry worldwide use the friction process when manufacturing. Many professionals successfully extended their studies to explore friction as a means to bond wood products and materials without the need for nails or strong adhesives.
Electron beaming is a fusion joining process that uses a high-velocity beam with the capability to join materials and thick sections, melting them together. The electrons harness kinetic energy that turns quickly into heat and fuses the workpieces whilst they are at melting point.
EBW (Electron Beam Welding) is performed with the help of a vacuum chamber that successfully prevents your beams from dissipating. Plenty of typical applications use the EBW welding method, and you may use it to conjoin sections or notably thicker parts.
Its ability to do so means you can apply it to a wide range of industries such as automotive, aerospace, nuclear power and rail.
An industrial laser is utilised to join pieces of weld metal and thermoplastics, providing an immensely concentrated heat most suitable for deep welds, barrow and high joining rates. Lasers are easily automated welding and are perfect for various high-volume applications due to their high welding speed within the automotive industry.
Professionals in the field can perform laser beam welding in the open-air compared to a vacuum that utilises electron beam joining.
Resistance welding is one of the fastest processes used in the automotive industry, commonly split into two specific types: resistance seam welding and resistance spot welding. Spot welding requires heat delivered across two electrodes that professionals apply to a small area once workpieces have been clamped together.
Seam welding is a relatively similar process, yet it takes the electrodes that have rotating wheels and replaces them, delivering a leak-free weld that performs continuously.
Industrial Arc Welding Processes
Engineers typically use a variety of arc welding processes during manufacturing that help melt and combine two or more metal parts using an electric arc, ensuring the arc length isn't too short. Such processes are done by melting workpieces and combining them with a filler material. When such molten materials cool down, they eventually produce a strong joint.
Professionals can apply many different energy sources to this job; however, one of the most prevalent is the electric arc with its relatively constant current. An arc is created close to the base material from the electric current that passes through one electrode. The arc curates heat and enables your materials to melt and merge.
One of the most common weldings manufacturers use is the arc welding method, which can be semi or fully automated and completely manual, giving the professionals enough versatility and creative freedom.
There are two specific electrodes that engineers utilise; these include consumable and non-consumable electrodes. The following subheadings take more of a look at the various welding techniques with these electrodes.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
SMAW welding methods are also known in the field as MMAW (Manual Metal Arc Welding), and among all the other techniques, it is one of the most common styles. It has a consumable rod coated in flux that, when melted, develops a potent vapour that can protect your welded joints and parts from any external contamination that could obstruct the quality or the appearance.
The flux provides an excellent cover for the weld with a slag layer. Welding slag is a material that floats on the surface of molten metal after being heated during the process, and its purpose is to protect your welded creation from oxidation from the atmosphere and ensure it stays clean.
Slags forms an incredibly coarse aggregate that is utilised in various concretes used for ballast, road materials and even as phosphate fertiliser when available. Professionals must remove the slag using a chipping hammer or gun in numerous welding cases, including the SMAW method. The reason for doing so is because the slag is a nonmetallic byproduct, and therefore, its lack of fusion can cause slag inclusions.
The SMAW process is slow and simple, requiring inexpensive welding equipment and little training to complete; your electrode needs to be frequently replaced and finally removed. Professionals will need different electrodes to create heavy and light metals and materials. Shielded Metal Arc Welding is a technique many professionals use for construction projects and purposes.
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
GMAW, also called MIG (Metal Inert-Gas), is a welding area practice that can be performed using automatic or semi-automatic processes. Its electrode serves as a filler material and is fed continuously using an industrial welding gun. The electrode doesn't have any flux to surround it; therefore, to protect the welding environment, engineers will spray an inert or semi-inert gas around the wire.
Many gases are generated throughout the welding process, one of which is carbon dioxide which can provide full penetration for thicker materials. Concerning the MIG process, it develops into a much less stable arc with more splatter than when concentrated with various other gases.
Such a method provides an immensely high welding speed; however, it requires far more high-tech complex equipment to get the job done instead of more common welding power supplies. Its quality, versatility and speed mean professionals can successfully use it in the automotive industry to repair various cars, vans, recreational vehicles, SUVs and motorbikes.
The ability to offer a solid weld for the thin materials and metals makes it a fantastic option and welding technique for repairing and assembling a host of vehicles' interior or exterior body.
Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
The flux-cored arc welding method is relatively similar to the technique utilised in shielded metal arc welding; however, its most significant difference is in the fact that the flux is situated in the consumable electrode, the coiled copper wire.
Such welding methods are more commonly utilised to suit the construction environment as they create metals including stainless steel, high-nickel alloys, low-alloy steels, cast iron and carbon steel.
Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
The SAW welding method uses a flux in granular form, which is then applied to cover the joint you intend to weld together. The electrode is used to produce a strong arc beneath this flux; in doing so, you can curate high-quality welds that are thoroughly protected from all existing contaminants.
Once welding is finished, you typically have to remove the slag yourself, often with a chipping hammer or a needle gun; however, when using the SAW techniques, it will often come off on its own. As the system's arc cannot usually be seen, the process can often be automated. Yet, staff must still oversee the process for efficiency and health and safety purposes.
What Specifically Does a Fabrication Manufacturer Welder Do?
Metal fabrication manufacturers are responsible for joining metal pieces together using numerous different processes and approaches, for example, MIG (Metal Inert Gas), TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas), and SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding). Many of today's welders are gradually discovering and learning more about the prominent techniques in the field of laser welding and robotic welder procedures. Every day welders develop their working knowledge of how numerous metals respond to one another and fuse to create new products.
Robotic welding involves a standard method known as the arc process, in which the electric arc helps to generate excessive heat that reaches approximately 6,500 degrees Celcius and can successfully melt the metal, so it's malleable. Molten metal can join compartments together that, after cooling, will solidify them into a stable connection.
On the other hand, laser beam welding is a process that involves the joining of two or many pieces of metal with a high-powered laser. Industrial laser beams offer an immense concentrated heat source directly focused on the cavity between two specific metal pieces; its heat allows them to melt and merge.
Welders working in metal fabrication plants typically create various pieces that will function adequately with a whole host of other parts that will eventually combine and create a brand new product. Some of the products you can curate with welding processes include:
- Outdoor Fireplace
- Storage Rack
- Barbecue Pit
- Entry Gates
- Screens and Security Doors
- Wine Bottle Holders
- Truck Bumpers
- Coat Rack
- Garden Trellis
Industrial and commercial robotic welders gradually complete more mundane processes in the welding world and manufacturing plants, allowing welders to be more creative. They are left to their own devices to handle the more hands-on projects that tend to be more rewarding to complete.
However, your welders mustn't neglect these robotic welding machines, as it's paramount they perform correctly and not risk endangering the surrounding staff.
Automated Welding vs Skilled Welders
Over the decades, welding as a skill or process has developed and evolved, just like other areas of the industrial and manufacturing sectors. It's vital to understand the changes in the field regarding the methods and equipment used, as this will allow you to hire the right welder for the job and help you decide on the correct or most efficient welding techniques to complete the job at hand.
Many welding processes that need completing are often done to a higher quality with superior welding automation equipment. However, whilst this is the case, plenty of projects still require the talent, ingenuity and human skill to customise certain products or complete specific jobs.
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