Top 9 Different Types of Welding Processes
Welding is a challenging profession, and learning the process is even more challenging. You will be overwhelmed by the vastness of this sector. There are more than 30 different types of welding processes. Some are easier to learn; others are comparatively hard.
The welding process mostly depends on what kind of metals you are planning to weld. And what purpose that is going to serve.
The article discusses the most commonly used 9 different types of welding processes to simplify your job.
Welding is a fabrication process where two materials are conjoined together by heat or pressure or both. Welding is usually used on metals or thermoplastics but can be used on wood as well.
Following is the list of 9 different types of welding processes:
1. TIG – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is also known as Heliarc welding. The TIG welding process uses a Tungsten electrode, which is non-consumable to heed the base metal. It is a welding method where welding can be done without filler. Two metals can be welded together directly by using the technique. If you use filler metal, you have to feed the metal by hand.
TIG welding needs a gas tank that provides constant gas flow, which shields the weld. Using the TIG welding method, you can weld very thin material, providing high-quality clean welds without spattering. Moreover, the weld will be extremely strong. You can weld aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel, steel, and even gold.
The TIG welding technique creates visually appealing, stronger welds; hence it is quite difficult to learn. TIG welding is most suitable for industrial use.
2. MIG – GAS Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas, which is a simple method of welding. Unlike TIG welding, MIG welding can easily be performed by beginners. It is a quick and versatile process that can be used to weld various metals with different thicknesses.
MIG welding uses a filler metal that is consumable wire fed from a spool and acts as an electrode as well. The arc is created from the tip of the wire. The wire melts into filler metal, thus creates a weld.
The filler metal is constantly fed through the wand, while the gas is spread around it to shield it from outside elements. MIG welding can also create a visually appealing, smooth, and strong weld.
3. Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
Flux-cored arc welding is quite similar to MIG welding, where the wire works as an electrode, and the filler metal is fed continuously through the wand. But in FCAW, the wire includes a core of flux that creates a gas shield around the weld, so that there is no need for an external gas supply.
FCAW is a high-heat welding method suitable for thicker and heavier metals. Hence, the technique is often used to repair heavy equipment.
The main advantage of the FCAW is that it doesn't need external gas; hence, it is a low-cost method. Besides, the process doesn't create much waste. But there will be a little slag left over that needs to be cleaned to achieve a beautifully finished weld.
4. Stick – Shielded Metal Arc Welding
Stick-shielded metal arc welding has been a popular form of welding since 1930 because of its simple learning process and low cost.
In this process, a replaceable Stick is used as an electrode and the filler metal simultaneously. An arc is produced from the end of the stick to the base metal. The electrode melts into filler metal and creates the weld.
The stick is usually coated in flux, which produces gas clouds to protect the weld from oxidation. But when the gas cools down, it becomes slag which splatters easily. That is why, clean up is necessary to get a neat weld.
The process can be used outdoors as it doesn't require gas, even can be used in rough weather. Though the process can be used for welding various metals, the process isn't suitable for welding thin metals.
5. Laser Beam Welding
As the name suggests, the process uses a laser as the heat source for welding. Laser beam welding can be used on metals like carbon steels, stainless steels, HSLA steels, titanium, and aluminum. The process can be used on thermoplastics as well. The process is easily operated by robotics and is therefore heavily used in the automotive industry.
6. Electron Beam Welding
Electron beam welding is a highly sophisticated welding process where a high-velocity beam of electrons produces heat through kinetic energy that welds two metals together. The process is generally operated by machine, in a vacuum.
7. Plasma Arc Welding
Plasma arc welding resembles TIG welding in many ways, but Plasma arc welding uses comparatively a smaller arc that ensures more precision in welding. The process also uses a different type of torch to achieve high temperatures.
In plasma arc welding, gas is pressurized inside the wand, which creates plasma. This plasma is made electrically conductive by ionizing, that creates the arc with immensely high temperature to melt the base metals. Like, TIG welding, plasma arc welding doesn’t require filler metals.
The technique allows deep weld penetration with narrow welds, exerting a high level of strength by producing visually pleasing welds. Besides, high welding speeds are also achievable in this process.
8. Atomic Hydrogen Welding
Atomic hydrogen welding, also known as arc-atom welding, is an older form of welding replaced by MIG welding. The process uses hydrogen gas to shield two Tungsten electrodes that can reach temperatures above those of an acetylene torch and can be performed with or without filler metals.
Electroslag is an advanced form of welding that is usually performed by machines. The process is used to join the thin edge of two metal plates vertically. The weld usually takes place between the edges of the two plates.
The process uses copper electrode wire fed through a consumable metal guide tube acting as a filler metal. When electricity hits, the arc is created. And the welding begins from the bottom of the seam, slowly moving up, forming the weld with the seam's movement.
What are the 4 main types of welding?
The 4 main types of welding are TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) or GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), MIG (Metal Inert Gas) or GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), Flux-Cored Arc welding, and Stick-Shielded Metal Arc Welding. These 4 are the most commonly used welding processes.
Which weld is stronger?
The TIG welding technique creates visually appealing, stronger welds. And the method is quite tricky to learn. TIG welding is a stronger form of welding, mostly suitable for industrial use.
What is the hardest form of welding?
TIG is the hardest form of welding because of its tedious process. Besides, mastering the process is very challenging and time-consuming.
Now you are acknowledged with 9 different types of welding processes. Some of them are hard to master and time-consuming. Some of them can be performed by machines and thus requires expensive equipment. Some of them can be operated indoors for hobbyist purposes.
If you are eager to take welding as a profession and learn welding, choose the process that best suits your welding purpose.