Arc Welding Processes and Equipment

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Arc Welding Processes

In arc welding process, an electric arc between an electrode and a workpiece or between two electrodes is utilized to weld base metals. The basic principle of arc welding is shown in below Fig. 1. However, the basic elements involved in arc welding process are shown in the below Fig. 2. Most of these processes use some shielding gas while others use coatings or fluxes to prevent the weld pool from the surrounding atmosphere.

Principle of arc welding

Figure 1: Principle of arc welding

The ten various types of arc welding processes are mentioned below:

  1. Carbon Arc Welding
  2. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  3. Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  4. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding   (GTAW)
  5. Gas Metal Arc Welding
  6. Plasma Arc Welding
  7. Atomic Hydrogen Welding
  8. Electroslag Welding (ESW)
  9. Stud Arc Welding
  10. Electrogas Weldin (EGW)

 

Arc Welding Equipment

Arc welding equipment, setup, related tools, and accessories are shown in Fig. 2.

Arc welding process setup

(1) Switch box.    (2) Secondary terminals.     (3) Welding machine.     (4) Current reading scale.     (5) Current regulating hand wheel.     (6) Leather apron.     (7) Asbestos hand gloves.     (8) Protective glasses strap.     (9) Electrode holder.     (10) Hand shield.     (11) Channel for cable protection.      (12) Welding cable.     (13) Chipping hammer.     (14) Wire brush.     (15) Earth clamp.     (16) Welding table (metallic).     (17) Job.

Figure 2: Arc welding process setup

However, some common tools of arc welding are shown below  in Fig. 3.  Few of the important components of arc welding setup are described as under.

1. Arc welding power source

Both direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) are used for electric arc welding process, each having its particular applications. DC welding supply is usually obtained from generators driven by electric motor or if no electricity is available by internal combustion engines. For AC welding supply, transformers are predominantly used for almost all arc welding where mains electricity supply is available. They have to step down the usual supply voltage (200-400 volts) to the normally open circuit welding voltage (50-90 volts). The following factors influence the selection of a power source:

  1. Type of electrodes to be used and metals to be welded
  2.  Available power source (AC or DC)
  3. Required output
  4. Duty cycle
  5. Initial costs and running costs
  6. Efficiency
  7. Available floor space area and
  8. Versatility of equipment

2. Welding cables

Welding cables are required for conduction of current from the power source through the electrode holder, the arc, the workpiece and back to the welding power source. These are insulated copper or aluminium cables.

3. Electrode holder

Electrode holder is used for holding the electrode manually and conducting current to it. These are usually matched to the size of the lead, which in turn matched to the amperage output of the arc welder. Electrode holders are available in sizes that range from 150 to 500 Amps.

arc welding tools

Figure 3: Arc welding tools and accessories

4. Welding Electrodes

An electrode is a piece of wire or a rod of a metal or alloy, with or without coatings. An arc is set up between electrode and workpiece. Welding electrodes are classified into the following types

    1. Consumable Electrodes
      1. Bare Electrodes
      2. Coated Electrodes
    2. Non-consumable Electrodes
      1. Carbon or Graphite Electrodes
      2. Tungsten Electrodes

Consumable electrodes are made up of different metals and their alloys. The end of this electrode starts melting when the arc is struck between the electrode and workpiece. Thus consumable electrode itself acts as a filler metal. Bare electrodes consist of a metal or alloy wire without any flux coating on them. Coated electrodes have flux coating which starts melting as soon as an electric arc is struck. This coating on melting performs many functions like prevention of joint from atmospheric contamination, arc stabilizers etc.

Non-consumable electrodes are made up of high melting point materials like carbon, pure tungsten or alloy tungsten etc. These electrodes do not melt away during welding. But practically, the electrode length goes on decreasing with the passage of time, because of oxidation and vaporization of the electrode material during welding. The materials of non-consumable electrodes are usually copper coated carbon or graphite, pure tungsten, thoriated or zirconiated tungsten.

5. Chipping hammer

Chipping Hammer (shown in fig. 3.6) is used to remove the slag by striking.

6. Wire brush

Wire brush (shown in Fi. 3.7) is used to clean the surface to be weld.

7. Hand Screen

Hand screen is used for protection of eyes and supervision of weld bead.

8. Protective clothing

The operator wears the protective clothing such as apron to protect the body from the exposure of direct heat to the body.

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