The Role GTAW Plays in Industrial FabricationMarch 25, 2016
Choosing the right welding process is essential for achieving the best quality possible for industrial fabrication. By selecting the best welding process for a given project a diverse range of needs can be met in terms of budget, time line, cost, quality, and more. An effective welding process for a wide range of different industrial applications is is Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW for short. GTAW allows virtually any metal to be welded. Let’s take a closer look at the GTAW welding process and its role in industrial fabrication.
What is GTAW and How Does it Work?GTAW, which is also known as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, uses non-consumable tungsten electrodes along with an inert shielding gas. A welding arc is then formed by the tungsten electrode while the inert gas prevents the welding pool from becoming contaminated. There are two primary GTAW processes:
- Filler Metal – The vast majority of GTAW applications involve a filler metal. This metal is fed into the weld area by hand and is melted in order to strengthen the bond between materials.
- No Filler Metal – When a GTAW application does not use a filler metal, the resulting weld is known as a fusion weld. This process is mainly employed on thin materials, and they are commonly performed on edges and corners.
Types of Tungsten Available for Use with GTAWGTAW can be done using a variety of different tungsten types. Some of these types include:
- Zirconiated Tungsten – This particular tungsten alloy is typically employed on welds that require high AC currents and nonferrous metals. This makes it extremely useful for metals such as aluminum, copper, and silver.
- Pure Tungsten – Pure tungsten is a non-alloy that can only be employed on welds that do not involve iron. An alternating current is used during this welding process.
- Thoriated Tungsten – This is the most commonly used type of tungsten electrode, and it is typically used on carbon and stainless steel.
Shielding GasInert argon gas is the most commonly employed GTAW shielding gas due to its ability to prevent weld defects stemming from varying arc lengths. However, sometimes helium is used instead since it can often provide better weld penetration. Both of these gases have their benefits and drawbacks, and for many welders, using a gas blend of argon and helium is the best way to go.
The Benefits GTAW for Industrial FabricationThere are numerous advantages to using the GTAW welding process for industrial fabrication. Some of these benefits include the following:
- GTAW can be used for welding on almost any type of types.
- GTAW allows the welder to maintain a higher degree of control over the welding pool.
- GTAW yields extremely high quality results under the right conditions.
- GTAW results in little-to-no spatter, making it the one of the cleanest welding processes
- GTAW can be performed with or without filler metals
- GTAW allows for good control over variables such as temperature.
Some Limitations of the GTAW Welding ProcessAs with any welding process, GTAW does have some limitations which may make it unsuitable for some industrial fabrication processes. Some drawbacks of the process include the following:
- GTAW often has higher costs stemming from slower welding speeds
- GTAW requires a highly skilled, experienced welder to perform.
- GTAW cannot be automated and must be performed manually.
- GTAW has lower deposition rates when compared to some other welding processes.