Welding and Pipe Fabrication: Different Processes for Different Grades of Piping

July 29, 2015

Welding is an incredibly specialized and exciting field. Welders work hard to make sure that their welds are safe and secure. Welders are trained to understand the most important thing about welding and pipe fabrication: different processes for different grades of piping are required. There are several different welding processes that welders must understand to get their jobs done in the best and safest way possible. Let’s take a look at several important ones.

Arc Welding

Arc or stick welding is generally the first type of welding people learn as it is the most basic. Arc welding generally consists of a power supply creating an electric arc with which to weld. Basic arc welding requires a welder and a welding gun with an electrode. There is also a metal wire which is fed through the gun. The wire is heated until it melts. The melted metal is then applied to the connection point of the pipes in order to create the weld. The electricity can be either alternating or direct current. There are also multiple types of electrodes which are ideal for different types of welding.

This type of welding is great for any type of at home metalworking project. It is also utilized in manufacturing, repairs and construction. This process is ideal for thick, heavy metals. It is especially great for welding cast iron, which is notoriously difficult to weld correctly.

Metal Inert Gas Welding

This is the most common type of arc welding. Sometimes called MIG welding, Metal Inert Gas Welding is a form of arc welding which is great for mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum. The process involves a wire feed which goes through a wire electrode inside a welding handgun. This is the quickest form of welding because it does not require any mixing of gases. In fact, it is so quick that it can be done by robots. All you need to perform this type of welding is an adequate welder, some welding rod and a gun. You should follow given instruction on how to properly work your welder and make sure that it is grounded.

Of course, you will also need the proper safety equipment. Welding without safety equipment isn’t only unwise, it’s also incredibly dangerous. When you weld, always wear gloves, long sleeves, closed toe shoes and your welding hood. The last thing anyone wants it a flash burn or metal shards to the eye. To weld smart is to weld safe.

Tungsten Inert Gas

This is a more expert form of arc welding. Tungsten Inert Gas, or TIG, welding is much like Metal Inert Gas arc welding. However, instead of a wire electrode, TIG welding utilizes a tungsten electrode to produce the arc required to make a proper weld. TIG welding produces clean welds that usually do not need any clean up or grinding to make them look professional and attractive.

This process is excellent for many metals, including alloys. This means that it can be used more often than MIG welding. Because both are common, these two processes are considered fundamental to any welder’s knowledge. However, it is important to note that different types of metals require different types of tungsten electrodes. Understanding what metal you want to weld is a key part of choosing the equipment you will need.

Oxy Acetylene Welding and Cutting

This is the only type of welding on the list which does not involve creating an electrical arc to weld. This process requires the use of two gases, acetylene and oxygen, to create a flame hot enough to melt steel. Apply this flame to the steel you are welding and it creates a lasting weld. Additional filler rod may also be added to the welding area if needed. Unlike the previous processes, this type of welding can be achieved without the use of a welding machine, it simply uses a torch which attaches to the bottles of oxygen and acetylene with the use of gas hoses and a regulator. The gas hoses are specifically designed for this type of welding and should not be ignored. It also requires a friction lighter in order to provide a spark to light the torch. This process does not require any electricity, so some find it more convenient and transportable than other types of welding.

The Oxy Acetylene Welding process is great for welding steel and aluminum, as well as for brazing copper, bronze and other soft metals. This process is largely used in maintenance and metal cutting capacities. It is especially good for welding small and fragile parts. When it comes to specific materials like carbon steel and stainless steel, there are unique fabrication factors to consider.

Welding requires specific knowledge and incredible dedication. It also requires an understanding of the most important concept behind welding and pipe fabrication: different processes for different grades of piping. At STI Group, we leverage this understanding to provide high-quality pipe fabrication services, including high-pressure pipe fabrication. STI Group carefully selects the best welding process for each different industrial project based on the needs and priorities of the client and the demands of the application.