How Does Welding Work?

Welding is an advanced, in-demand skill that plays a vital role in society. From keeping bridges together to completing aerospace and manufacturing applications, the work of welders helps to keep modern society functional. Could a career as a welder be right for you?

Understanding the Process of Welding

The definition of welding makes the process seem simpler than it is in practice. Welders use specialized equipment to join two elements together by creating a firm connection between them. The most common materials that welders work with are thermoplastic and metal. They then use a durable filling material to bind these materials together. Airplanes, cars, ships, and skyscrapers are just four examples of finished products that would not stay together if not for someone welding several pieces together to form their base.

The key difference between welding and other building skills, such as soldering and brazing, is that welding does not rely on separate binding material to ensure the two elements remain attached to each other. Instead, welders join separate elements together directly. People who work in the construction industry often prefer welding for the durability of products it produces and the reduced cost of not needing to use separate binding materials.

What Are the Four Types of Welding?

People who register for training to become a welder may choose to specialize in one of the four types of welding outlined below.

Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

This type of welding relies on continuous power and wire supplies to complete. The primary goal with FCAW is to combine a base metal with a continuous electrode. An electrode is a thin, hollow tube filled to the top with flux. The flux then moves through the flux gun into the weld pool. Should you end up welding outdoors, a flux shield protects you from various weather elements. Businesses within the machine industry use FCAW the most often to produce thicker metals.

MIG: Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

Welders in the auto industry use GMAW to repair the exhaust systems of vehicles. This type of welding is also commonly employed in the home and building trades. As a popular type of arc welding, GMAW relies on the use of a continuous wire known as an electrode. You should also expect to use shielding gas that moves from one end of a welding gun to another to guard against contamination.

Stick-Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

SMAW is the most portable of the four types of welding. Industries that use SMAW the most often include construction, industrial fabrication, maintenance, repair, and underwater pipelines. Welders who specialize in SMAW use equipment known as stick welding or shielded metal arc. A protected and consumable electrode or stick is also necessary.

While using the SMAW technique, the stick softens with ongoing exposure to the welding flame and combines several types of metals. Its arc sits between a base metal workpiece and a covered metal electrode. The stick and its protective cover melt at the same time, resulting in shielding of the weld cover from oxygen and any other gases that may be in the air at the same time.

TIG: Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

TIG is similar to MIG in that both use an electric arc. You will use an electrode made from tungsten when working with GTAW. Tungsten is one of the toughest types of metals available across all industries, and it will not burn off or dissolve as some other metals do when exposed to the same heat intensity.

GTAW relies on a process known as fusion, which means that it may or may not use any type of filler material. Another thing that makes GTAW different from the other types of welding is that it uses argon, helium, or a similar type of external gas supply. The aerospace industry and several types of industrial businesses use GTAW the most. Farmers may also use GTAW to weld wagon frames and fenders.

Request Information About Welding Programs from Vocational Training Institute

Welding can be a satisfying and lucrative career, but people considering it need to complete a training program first to ensure they are prepared for the demands and hazards. Vocational Training Institute offers a 287-hour welding course that prepares students for an apprenticeship in this growing field. You may register to complete welding training or contact us with additional questions.