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The Process of Arc Welding: Main Aspects Essay

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Updated: Aug 30th, 2020

Introduction

Welding is a process best described as the method of permanently joining two or more metals. This industry is still growing because of the technologies involved that are always changing. The welding process comprises basic components: a heat source, filter material, a shield, and the metals themselves. Before modern-day welding was developed, two pieces of metals were joined by putting them together and hammering the open ends (History|Reference.com, n. d.).

It was called forge welding. After securing the surface, pouring molten metal ensued. This was mainly done to fill the joint. This traditional process was slow and needed a lot of concentration from the welder hence the warm welcome of the new technology. There are different types of welding, namely spot welding, arc welding, metal inert gas welding, and forge welding (Welding, n. d.). Arc welding is the focus of this assignment. It is a process that uses electricity as a source of heat or energy needed to melt the metals before they are joined together. The welding process is so broad that mechanical engineering as a discipline is part and parcel of it.

This discipline involves the design and manufacture of sophisticated products such as machines. Welding is used in the oil industry and it goes without saying that improving the technology will obviously lead to more profits within the industry. The United Arab Emirates is top on the list of the world’s greatest oil producers, and any developments in the process would greatly benefit these nations.

The process of arc welding

Within the process of arc welding are other types which are described below:

Stick Welding or Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

In this process, the rod used is coated with a non-metallic material to protect the weld puddle and metal from contamination. The material burns to create a shield from oxygen. Sometimes, a filter is added onto the coating to act as a catalyst. This type of arc welding can be carried out outdoors because the flux protects the weld from oxygen and is not bothered by wind (Institute of Welding, 2006).

Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG)

This is a type of arc welding where a bare wire is fed to the joint through a welding gun. Inert shielding gas flows to the welding handle protecting the weld from atmospheric contamination. The process itself is not hard, but rather the process of setting up the machine. Its disadvantage is that it cannot be effectively done outdoors as the wind can blow away the shielding.

Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG)

As the name suggests, the rod used in this process is made of tungsten. It is not consumable functions by heating the metal while the filler is added when required. It is not part of the filler material. (Simonik, 1965).

Choice of welding process

The above processes are all applicable in different scenarios depending on what the manufacturer aims to achieve. If used effectively, production levels in any company are guaranteed to rise, and profits maximized. In the case of MIG, the process is considerably quicker as the metals are fired by machines at great speed. Unfortunately, there is a limit to the distance because the further you move from the wire the greater the friction (Welding Safe, 2007).

Stick welding can also be a quick process if the rod being used is large and is coated together with filler material. Its advantage of being able to withstand outdoor conditions makes it an attractive choice. Long cords give this method an advantage over the rest because it allows welding to go on for a long period of time while its shortness keeps electricity in check and there is no doubt that it is the easiest type of arc welding suitable for small-time repairs. The best quality welding is done using the Tungsten Inert Gas Welding process.

Ironically, it is a slow process because it requires a bottle of gas for its work which can be easily disrupted by the wind. Stick welding machines can be upgraded to TIG welders by simply adding a TIG torch and a bottle of gas. TIG is mostly used in welding thin specialty metals. This type of arc welding is the most valuable and responsible for producing top quality welds.

Metals used in welding

Although almost any metal can be welded, there are those that are preferred because of the good results they produce. Welding engineers are tasked with the responsibility of determining which metals are welded and how to go about it. The three most commonly used metals are steel, stainless steel, and aluminum (AWS, n. d.). It is to be noted that there is a difference between steel and stainless steel. The latter requires much skill and preparation compared to steel which has little difficulty.

Aluminum poses the most challenges and welds easily with the TIG and MIG processes. It is not, however, limited to the processes alone. Nonetheless, there are other metals that are produced and can be welded, only that some of them are rather expensive. Titanium, for instance, is used in aerodynamics while Nickel-based alloys are used in nuclear plants. The very purpose of their manufacture justifies their great cost (Joining Welders since 1995, n. d.).

Oil industry in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is the world’s largest producer could benefit from any developments made in the welding sector. If, for instance, the best welding processes were chosen in the industry, then operational costs would be reduced and profits increased (Joining Welders since 1995, n. d.).

Relevance of welding in Mechanical Engineering

Most people may not know it, but there is more to welding than just hot works (Six-Axis Laser Welding Robot Features Integrated Beam Guidance, 2012). A welder has to make mathematical calculations and estimations before working on pieces of metal to come up with an efficient end product. It is quite a complex procedure involving drawing up designs and looking at blueprints in a bid to envision the finished product. A welder has all the specifications of metals he is working on. This is what makes him do all mathematical calculations spontaneously as he works. It is a job that creates something tangible out of an idea formulated in the mind (Introduction to Welding, n. d.).

Conclusion

This assignment shows how the welding industry has come of age over the years and how the world relies on it to produce good quality metals. It gives a detailed definition of welding as well as the different types of processes involved. Critical analysis of the welding industry reveals that there is more to the industry than just hot works. It employs use mechanical engineering which is basically the science of designing and creating complex products from scratch, using special skills and knowledge. The study shows how the oil industry in the UAE could benefit from any development in the welding industry.

References

American Welding Society (AWS). (n. d.). Web.

Institute of Welding. (2006). Welding Processes. British Welding Journal, 5(2-12). Print.

History|Reference.com. (n.d.). Web.

Introduction to Welding. (n.d.). From The Industrial Revolution to Welding Processes and Careers. Web.

Joining Welders since 1995. (n.d.). Welding.Com Resource Center. Web.

Simonik, A. G. (1965). Stabilization of arc burning process (ac-arc) at argon-arc welding of structural steel. Ft. Belvoir: Defense Technical Information Center, 28. Print.

. (2012). ThomasNet Industrial News Room (press Release). Web.

Welding Safe. Safety. (2007). Fabricating & Metalworking: 36. Print.

. (n. d.). Web.

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