Stainless steel has a wide range of utilization in industrial applications. Stainless steel is primarily used for architectural planning, kitchen equipment, aerospace, automotive and marine equipment. Thus, stainless steel is popular in making industrial equipment due to its wide uses. So steel welding varies by the kind of uses of the stainless steel. Steel welding also relies upon the thickness of the material. The stainless steel has different degrees of material determined by the mixture of other elements like iron, carbon, and chromium like nickel, niobium, titanium and molybdenum. With such variations of stainless steel with various utilization, different methods of steel welding are used. This post will help you to acquire a handful of knowledge on different methods used for stainless steel welding.
1) Gas Tungsten Arc Welding/Tungsten Inert Gas (G TAW/TIG)
Gas tungsten arc welding is the most common and widely used stainless steel welding method. It is widely known due to its high-quality offering, versatility, longevity and giving an aesthetic appearance to the steel after welding. The process is ideal for the welding of thin material, as it has the ability to weld at low current, which leads to low heat input and also gives the ability to add filler to any gaps in the steel. The argon gas is mostly used for shielding, and it can be mixed with other gases like helium, hydrogen and nitrogen according to the needs of the project. A single-sided welding process can be used in creating inert backing gas protection to prevent oxidation and increasing the corrosion resistance.
2) Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)
Plasma arc welding is similar to the TIG welding process. In PAW, the welder places the electrode inside the rod. Plasma arc welding has a nozzle constructed system. The nozzle helps to produce the plasma for deep penetrations in the steel welding. The plasma arc welding is used where square-edged joints up to 8 mm need to be welded. A combination of PAW/TIG is necessary for thicker square-edged joints. For maintaining the corrosion resistance of the material with gas elements like argon is used, often argon is mixed with hydrogen.
3) Resistance Welding or Spot Welding
Resistance welding is said to be versatile because the welding can be used on both large and small projects. The resistance welding uses electric current for welding. The electric current travels through the electrode and comes in contact with metal, which produces electric resistance. With electric current, it helps to heat the stainless steel and seal the pieces together. This welding requires considerable current from the power source, and still, it uses a very low amount of voltage. Resistance welding is very efficient in using when compared to other methods because it only requires you to press a button to use it.
4) Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SWAM)
Shielded metal arc welding, also known as manual metal arc welding is the oldest and widely used steel welding process in the world. SWAM is also used widely because it is known to weld various kinds of materials. A consumable electrode is used for generating arc between the electrode and the piece of steel to be welded. When the current is supplied, the electrode melts and starts filling the gaps between the steel pieces to join them. After that, a coating of flux is put on the molten electrode shielding it and preventing the steel from oxidation. The flux forms a coating of gas and a slag on the molten part, the slag is removed from the material after solidification.
5) Gas Metal Arc Welding/Metal Inert Gas (GWAM/MIG)
This steel welding process is a semi-automatic process that gives a strong bond between two pieces of steel. The process can be done manually or automatically. MIG uses a continuous consumable electrode wire and an argon rich shielding gas. A pulse current supply has been provided for GWAM to deliver an improved metal quality when doing positional welding and also to give a cleaner welding appearance. The pulse current supply makes the welder easy to weld the spots which are tough-to-reach on stainless steel pieces. Gases like helium, oxygen and carbon dioxide are used to stabilize the arc and it helps to improve the quality of the steel welding.
6) Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
Flux-cored welding is a different version of MIG welding. In FCAW the consumable electrode wire is replaced with flux, or metal powder filled tubular wire. The tubular wire can be used with the equipment of MIG. Two variations of wire are produced in flux welding one for all kind of positional capabilities and other is for high deposition welding. Higher rates of weld metal deposition and weld metal overlaying can be done with FCAW. A significant amount of reduction in cleaning after welding is possible.
7) Laser Beam Welding (LBW)
Laser beam welding is very useful in stainless steel welding at fast speed and also with very fewer heat inputs. Laser beam welding is never operated manually, so whenever you opt for laser welding, you should get it done through automation. The laser beam is also able to conduct deep penetration welding through thick stainless steel. And it also has minimal distortion of the components. The equipment for the process is highly costly and so it is reserved for mass production.
These are the process that is used for stainless steel welding. According to your convenience and depending on the thickness and use of the material, you can use any of the above-mentioned methods. When you are using a filler, see to it that the filler and steel have the same material. Also, before conducting a steel welding clean the table using for welding and also keep the debris off the table because stainless steel can be scratched very easily.