Popular Types of Welding Processes

Popular Types of Welding Processes

When considering an investment in custom welding systems, it’s important that your whole team understand the basics of the welding process. Knowledge of these processes, along with guidance from our engineering team, will help you determine which system will best help boost your business’s bottom line. To that end, we’ve put together this collection of information about the popular types of welding processes.

 

What is Welding?

Welding is the joining together of two pieces of metal. It is done by heating those metals to a temperature high enough to cause softening or melting. This can be done with or without the use of pressure.

Welding can also include the use of a third material called filler metal. That metal is also heated to a melting point during the welding process and allowed to flow into the new joint formed by the two original pieces of metal. Filler metals help a weld meet certain types of industrial standards such as corrosion resistance or weight capacity.

 

Popular Categories of Welding Processes

Welding processes are grouped into categories based upon each process’s method of energy transfer. Each category has recommended applications that help the user know when to use which category. It’s also important to note that each one varies in the difficulty of weld procedure, cost, materials involved, and final quality of the weld.

 

Arc Welding

This category merges two metals into one by heating them with an arc. That arc is made of electricity that reaches the average heat of 6500 degrees. These processes can be accomplished with or without the use of pressure as well as with or without filler metal.

Oxyfuel Welding

This category heats the two metals with an oxyfuel gas flame to merge them into one. Just as with arc welding, these processes can be accomplished with or without the use of pressure as well as with or without filler metal.

Resistance Welding

Resistance welding joins two surfaces with the heat that emerges from resistance. Specifically, the resistance that occurs between the work pieces and the flow of the welding current. This all happens with a combination of applied pressure and the power of the circuit that the work pieces are a part of.

Solid State Welding

Solid State welding allows two metals to attach by the application of pressure without melting any of the joint components. This occurs when the right type and amount of pressure causes a transfer of atoms which then changes the chemical makeup of the surfaces.

 

Custom Welding Systems

Bancroft engineers use years of first-hand knowledge to help in the decision-making process.  We understand that many times customers need to approve samples to ensure the process is going to be successful.  Different prototypes can be created upon request to test the different designs and materials. Contact us today to learn more!

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cost of over welding

3 Ways to Control Costs Related to Over Welding

When making decisions that control welding costs, understanding the information and the economics behind the quality and productivity can be critical. Over welding itself is costly due to the extra labor, filler metal deposition and shielding gas consumption. And we haven’t even begun to get into the energy it takes to produce the weld. Today the welding systems specialists at Bancroft Engineering are going to walk you through 3 ways to control these and other costs related to over welding. Read on to learn more.

 

#1. Design Engineering

Does your welding team have a welding design engineer? According to American Welding Society, the welding design engineer is considered a duly designated individual who acts for, and on behalf of, the owner on all matters within the scope of the selected welding code. He or she will be able to help control costs by ensuring that complete information regarding base metal specification designation is clearly shown on the contract plans and specifications for all the following for all welds:

  • Location
  • Type
  • Size
  • Extent
  • Electrode size
  • Gas selection
  • Position

Automated welding options will help ensure quality control and ease of supervision for your design engineer. Visit our website to explore some of our most popular automated welding systems which will be able to help you better control costs related to many aspects of your welding production.

#2. Welding Operator

A second option for controlling over weld cost is to assess the work of individual welding operators. It’s common for welders to go through some type of testing as part of their qualification process. Not only does the inspector check for the quality of the weld but the weld size is a critical check as well.

Some organizations will require weld sizes to be within a specified range. Undersized welds are not accepted beyond a certain allowable tolerance whereas oversized welds are sometimes not as much of a concern. (This is unless of course, it is cost-specific, or the weld is concerning a major structural defect.) Most welders over time can get a good feel for the weld size, but there should also be some sort of self-inspection process in place to ensure it is correct.

over welding cost

#3. Parts Fitup

The third possible cause of over welding is fitup. Parts not fitting correctly before welding can be a major cause due to extra root openings. As an example, if there is a 1/16 root opening on a T-Joint for a fillet weld when the joint should be tight. The welding operator now must add extra filler metal to be able to reach the correct size of weld specified by the engineer. The same goes for a groove weld.

welding fitup example

Example: Sizes

A 3/16-in. fillet weld volume per inch length is .0175in.³. At the same time a1/4-in. fillet weld volume per inch of length is .031in.³.

.031in.³ – .0175in.³ = .0135in.³ of weld metal deposited savings.

.0135in.³/.0175in.³ = 23% volume savings

This 23% savings occurs when the weld size is kept to the required 3/16in. Instead of over welding to 1/4in.

 Example: Arc-On Time

Arc-Time is defined as the actual time spent depositing the weld. For instance, a welder is required to make a 3/16in. fillet weld 1ft. Long would require 36 seconds.

If the same required 3/16in. fillet weld is made to 5/16in. Using the same parameters would require 1 minute 39 seconds to complete.

Arc-Time is greatly impacted by the size of the weld being made. Add all these possible variables and scenarios together and a company could be losing a lot of valuable consumables and time.

 

Automated Welding

Each one of the three or a combination of more than one may need to be applied to help control costs to your organization’s bottom line. There are many sub-causes within each over welding situation and being able to find the correct root cause can be challenging.

Bancroft Engineering’s team would be more than happy to guide you through developing a monitoring plan to help reduce the cost of your over welding concerns. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help.

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welding trends 2022

Welding Trends for 2022

According to the most recent Global Industry Research Report, the welding market size value will increase nearly $17 billion by the year 2026. What can we expect to see in the welding world this year that matches this kind of explosive growth? Today our automated welding specialists will address this and other related questions as we share some of the welding trends of 2022.

 

Welding Automation for Bridging the Skill Gap

One of the areas that drew a lot of attention in 2021 and continues into 2022 is the topic of bridging the skill gap. The skill gap refers to the increasing number of new welders entering the workforce who don’t have the experience needed to take on the complex welding projects the industry demands. This gap in abilities is emphasized by the growing number of experienced welders who are at or near retirement age and will no longer be available for mentoring.

One of the top trending solutions to this challenge is an increase in welding automation. Not only is automated welding able to provide a consistent, high-quality weld but it also dramatically improves the safety of a welder’s work environment. In addition to both those benefits, it also offers increased efficiency towards deadlines and production. To learn more about this valuable trend, visit our blog about the top three ways welding automation can bridge the skill gap.

AR Welding Training

A second rising trend in 2022 that also relates to the skill gap is an increasingly popular method of welding training. This method uses augmented reality or augmented training to give welding students more hands-on experience without the challenges associated with the more traditional training methods. Traditional training methods involve:

  • Exposure to gas emissions
  • Small training stations
  • Increased chance of burns
  • Expensive materials used up in repetitive exercises
advanced welding equipment

Welding simulators can offer an extremely life-like form of training without any of the burn risk or exposure to unhealthy gas emissions. It will also save on the time and cost of acquiring raw materials for students to practice on since the simulators’ practice is all virtual.

 

Increased Focus on Safety

Whether it be in training or on job sites [and everything in between], safety is being stressed more and more in the welding industry. Improved technology such as robotic welding and automated welding systems are transforming circumstances by leaps and bounds, giving welders and their employers an advantage over dangerous work conditions and costly mistakes. “Safety matters” isn’t just a meaningless slogan in 2022.

 

Custom Welding Systems

If you are looking for a partner to help you keep up with the welding trends of today, look no further than Bancroft Engineering. We offer custom welding system solutions for even the most complex industrial applications. To learn more about how we can help you bridge the skill gap, increase efficiency, improve employee safety and more, contact us today!

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seam tracking system

Tactile Seam Tracking Systems

How to Determine if Tactile Seam Tracking is Right for You

 

Since the 1960’s, seam tracking systems have been used in many types of welding applications from GMAW, FCAW and SAW. This technology has advanced greatly in the past few decades to align with modern welding applications and equipment. These systems are commonly used with seam Welding, cladding (surfacing), long welds or for parts that may not have the best fit up. Tactile seam tracking systems are also flexible, making them an appealing way to improve welding processes across all sorts of part sizes and geometries.

Interested in learning more about selecting seam tracking solutions? Check out this blog post.

 

How to Choose a Tactile Seam Tracking System

There are two main types of tactile seam tracking systems—basic and advanced. In order to make the appropriate selection, it’s important to understand the specifics of your seam welding application with the following:

#1: Establish the Payload Requirement

You’ll want to pick a system that has a higher rating that what you require. This will allow for a longer life of the system and less maintenance.

#2: Determine the Travel Stroke Length needed for the Cross Slide

You’ll find that selecting a seam tracking system is much easier once you measure the needed travel stroke length of each axis. It is critical to know which type of cross slide you will need.

#3: Select the Automation Type

Determine whether you’ll be using a fully automated system or semi-automated welding equipment. Fully automated, or robotic systems, will require an advanced seam tracking system, whereas you can get away with more basic models with semi-automatic welding machines.

# 4: Decide on a Sensor Tip

Select a sensor tip that matches with the seam type and the material thickness of your application.

sensory tip weld accessory

How to Know if Tactile Seam Tracking is Right for You

Seam tracking systems are ideal for repetitive applications—this is where you’ll reap most of the system’s benefits! If you’re still unsure if your projects are good contenders for tactical seam tracking, here is a quick guide to help. If any of the below statements sound like your situation, adding a seam tracking system could offer significant value to your current welding process:

  • My parts have the same basic shape with similar seam configurations.
  • My parts are similar and only vary in size.
  • My welding applications are repetitive in nature
  • For circumferential welding projects, my operators manually weld both end-caps
  • For beam fabrication, my operators manually position and weld throughout the length of the part.
  • The seam configuration of my parts are lap joint, v-groove or fillet (single or multi-pass).

 

There is an array of options when it comes to selecting features for your seam tracking system that you may want to think about for your welding process:

  • Manual & Automatic modes
  • Joystick Control
  • Right or Left Sidetracking
  • Overlap Timers
  • Tack Cut off
  • Z-Search
  • Retract timers
  • Cut-off modes
  • Crater fill delays
  • Welding timers

Always keep in mind that the seam tracking probes will eventually reach the end or the start of your weld if on a cylinder and that the probe will detect that before the weld gets to that point. Some of these features and options may help with this, like using a timer to turn off the probe for the last few inches of your weld so it can finish the cycle.

seam tracking welding probe

Seam Welding Professionals

The team at Bancroft Engineering can help you select the right seam tracking system to precisely control the torch-to-part relationship during the welding process! We aim to simplify your welding operation to ensure the weld head is constantly positioned for optimal arc performance. Have questions about your applications? Get in touch!

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Seam Welding Machines

Seam Welding, An Overview

One of the most widely used welding techniques for creating an airtight and watertight seal is seam welding.  The seam welding process can be done using GMAW, GTAW or Resistance Welding.  Today we’re going to be sharing some basic information about this high-quality welding option as well as insights about how automation can improve your team’s seam welding process—let’s dive into it!

 

What is Seam Welding?

The process of joining workpieces made of similar or dissimilar materials along a continuous seam is known as seam welding. One of the biggest benefits to seam welding is that the materials can be similar or dissimilar. Seam welding comes in three forms:

  • Traditional Seam Welding: Overlapping weld nuggets using GTAW or GMAW process.
  • Friction Seam Welding: A continuous weld is completed with heat generated by creating friction rather than with electrodes.
  • Resistance Seam Welding: Resistance seam welding is a technique in which the welding electrodes are motor-driven wheels.
GTAW Seam Weld
GTAW Seam Weld

Applications for Seam Welding

Within the world of welding, seam welding is one of the most preferred ways of using a continuous weld to join two different pieces of metal. Seam welding offers minimal distortion of heat and results in airtight and watertight seals with no gas formation. Because of these benefits (and more), seam welding has many common applications:

  • Barrel and exhaust systems
  • Pressure vessels
  • Steel drums
  • Radiators
  • Vehicle fuel tanks
  • Refrigerators
  • Oil transformers
  • Much more!

As if that weren’t already enough, there are even more production benefits to an automated seam welding process. An arc seam welding machine can be used for the mainstream manufacturing process, as it can produce high-quality welded seams with 100 percent penetration.

seam welding machine

Benefits of Automated Seam Welding

If you are looking for a consistent, high-quality seam weld that can increase your production speed without adding to your workforce, you will want to consider linear seam welders. The design of these automatic welder machines allows the weld seam to be clamped firmly between copper fingers and a copper backing bar. Some benefits you can expect from automating your seam welding include:

  • More efficient loading and unloading of seam welded parts
  • Ideal for a single pass, full penetration weld in cylinders, cones, boxes, and flat sheets
  • Simplifies the switch between seam welding different size parts
  • Our Seam welders can be equipped with TIG, Plasma, Submerged Arc, or MIG welding processes
  • All clamping fingers are equipped with reversible copper tips for maximum life.

At Bancroft Engineering, not only do we offer state of the art seam welding technology but also seam tracking systems. Seam tracking systems will allow you to optimize your welding to an even greater degree by aiding in extracting weld seam position. To learn more, visit our blog dedicated specifically to selecting the right seam tracking systems or contact us to speak with one of our welding specialists.

Seam Welding Machine

Looking to optimize your welding process with improved efficiency and a stronger end-product? Whether it’s with a seam welding machine or welding fixture and tooling, we’ve got you covered. Our team of engineers have experience designing completely customized automated welding systems or semi-automated solutions to fit your needs.

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TIG Seam Welder
TIG Seam Welder by Bancroft
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Limiting Weld Cracks with Custom Welding Systems

Welding cracks are one of the more severe defects.  If you have a weld cracking problem, there are two questions to ask yourself to address the root of the problem:

  1. Did the crack occur during the weld, after cooling or during a secondary/finishing operation?
  2. Is the crack located within the weld or next to it?

Our custom automatic welding machines help limit weld cracks and achieve high-quality results. Let’s walk through a few common types of weld cracks and what you can do to limit them in the future!

Centerline Cracks

Commonly referred to as longitudinal cracks, centerline cracks typically extend the entire length of a weld. This happens when one or more of the following occur: there is an improper width-to-depth ratio, you’re using a base material with a low melting point or when the welding surface is concave in shape.

How to Limit Centerline Cracks

  • Run a lower current to decrease penetration
  • Decrease voltage
  • Slow down travel speeds
  • Aim for a width-depth ratio between 1:1 – 1:3:1
centerline weld crack
Example of a Centerline Crack

Crater Cracks

When the weld pool doesn’t have enough volume after the cooling process, crater cracks occur. This is most common when welding aluminum as it’s susceptible to both heat and stress cracking during the welding process. Stainless and carbon steels are much less susceptible to crater cracks, but caution must still be taken!

How to Limit Crater Cracks

  • Ensure your using enough filler material
  • Check that your parts have the proper fit up
  • At the end of your weld, weld back over the bead for 0.5-1 inch (overlay technique)
Crater Crack
Example of a Crater Crack

Root Cracks (Underbead or Toe Cracks)

This type of crack is located at the weld toe—or a heat affected zone. Underbead cracks occur at lower temperatures and sometimes are not discovered until 72 hours after the weld cools. This occurs when welding a sensitive material with excessive Hydrogen—which results in shrinkage, stresses, and cracks!

How to Limit Underbead Cracks

  • Reduce Hydrogen by rethinking your filler metal and check the storage environment of your filler metal
  • Apply thinner weld layers
  • Increase time between passes
  • Maintain proper pre-heat and post-heat protocol
Welding Root Cracks
Example of a Root Crack

Transverse Cracks

Similar to underbead cracks, transverse weld cracks also commonly are not noticed until after the weld cools. They share the same causes as underbead cracks—too much Hydrogen and shrinkage stress. Transverse cracks most often occur on high strength steels that don’t require pre-heat.

How to Limit Transverse Cracks

  • Reduce Hydrogen by rethinking your filler metal or check the storage of your filler metal
  • Maintain proper pre-heat and post-heat protocol
  • Use lower strength consumables
Transverse Cracks
Example of a Transverse Crack

Custom Welding Systems that Prevent Cracks

Our biggest piece of advice is to make sure you have everything in order before welding, as it’s much easier than trying to fix problems later down the road. Always follow basic guidelines for cleaning and storing your base and filler material and carefully select the right welding equipment!  Need more help? Reach out, we’re here for you!

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GMAW, MIG or Wire Welding Problems

Whether you have been welding for years or just getting started in your career, addressing and solving GMAW, MIG or wire welding defects can be extremely frustrating. The team at Bancroft Engineering is here to empower you to take your GMAW / MIG / wire welding operation to the next level. Read on to learn about common wire welding problems and tips for achieving high-quality welds.

Basics of GMAW Welding

GMAW welding, commonly known as MIG welding or wire welding, utilizes a semi-automated welding system.  The process uses a solid wire—or flux core wire vs a long “stick” electrode. During this process, an electric arc forms between the wire electrode and the metal—the emerging heat causes the metal to join and melt.

Common Wire Welding Defects

While many weld defects are usually easily spotted, some won’t show up until your part goes through the quality assurance process. It’s also worth noting that just because a weld doesn’t look “good” to the eye, doesn’t mean it’s bad!  The following are the most common MIG welding problems:

  • Pinholes
  • Porosity issues
  • Too much weld deposit
  • Improper weld penetration
  • Lake of fusion
  • Cracking
  • Spatter
  • Lack of uniformity
  • Discoloration
pinholes-MiG welding
Example of Pinholes
porosity issue-MIG welding
Example of Porosity Issue
example of cracked weld-MIG welding
Example of Cracked Weld
example of welding spatter-MIG welding
Example of Welding Spatter

Check out our article dedicated to enhancing welding quality with more tips here.

 

Conditions Creating Poor MIG Welds?

Some of the most likely reasons your MIG process is resulting in poor quality welds is one or a combination of the following:

  • Impurities or improper cleaning
  • Skipping pre- or post-heat processes
  • Using the wrong filler metal
  • Using the wrong shielding gas
  • Running the wire at the wrong speed
  • Using too little (or too much) voltage
  • Skipping joint preparation steps
  • Improper welding techniques/setup

Other things to check are part fit up or damaged equipment (cables, clamps, etc.).

 

Tackling Quality Assurance / Quality Control

QA/QC plays a critical role in ensuring reliable welds are produced with minimal rework. The best way to catch defects is to incorporate quality testing throughout the welding process to confirm your weld meets the needed specifications. This will ensure that issues are caught early on, allowing for adjustments to be made and preventing further defective output.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Utilizing the right equipment will make or break your welding output! A high-quality welding equipment builder will help recommend parameters for your welding needs. They can also walk you through the proper wire feed speed, amperage, voltage and compatible shielding gas. The experienced team of semi-automated MIG welding system builders at Bancroft Engineering can help you get the proper welding equipment in place and running smoothly.

Custom Welding Systems

Automated MIG Welding System Builders

Like any skill, mastering MIG welding takes time and practice to gain the best results. We hope some of these simple tips will help you improve your process and achieve great results. Get in touch with our welding engineers today to learn how our automated and semi-automated equipment can help your business.

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best automation welding systems

Why Skilled Welders Make the Best Automation Programmers

Integrating welding automation into your manufacturing process has major benefits. Automated welders and robots are more efficient than humans and can improve overall productivity. BUT that doesn’t mean skilled welders are no longer useful—far from it.

Skilled welders have a wealth of experience and knowledge surrounding the welding process, making them some of the best automation programmers around. We’re diving into the 4 reasons why we think skilled welders make the best automation programmers—Read on!

#1. Welding Process Understanding

Producing high-quality welds requires process-specific knowledge. Manual or automated, the understanding of how the process works is vital! The most common variables include:

  • Part variability
  • Welding torch position
  • Heat input
  • Travel speed

Leveraging a skilled welder’s expertise can greatly reduce the time and effort it takes to setup or improve automated welding systems and programs.

#2. Application & Equipment Insight

It’s commonplace for the operator to be involved in selecting the automatic welding equipment setup and variables. To properly configure a welding cell, it’s important to have the knowledge of the best equipment for the specific welding application. Take the GMAW process for example, the following must be selected correctly:

Tapping the knowledge of a seasoned welder during this decision-making process often results in higher weld quality, lower scrap, improved production rates, higher ROI’s and a better-optimized overall-setup.

#3. Troubleshooting & Optimization Knowledge

Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills is a requirement for any kind of welder. Veteran welders are well-versed in overcoming challenges such as part inconsistencies, reducing rework and achieving cosmetic requirements. A skilled welder will also be well versed in the limitations of a process, peripherals and material types.

#4. Ongoing Growth & Innovation

Automation has become possible for more than just large corporations. Technology is becoming more flexible, making automation systems economically justifiable and productive for manufacturers of all sizes.

We’ve seen a number of small, repetitive welding jobs be transitioned to an automated process, freeing up skilled welders for more difficult projects. This not only keeps your skilled welders learning and growing but also encourages them to continue to be challenged in their day-to-day job and move your business forward!

welding automation system types

Custom Welding System Builders

Automation is aimed at supplementing the welding workforce, not replacing it! Bancroft Engineering has the experience and equipment to help manage a transition to automated or semi-automated welding. Get in touch with our engineers today to discuss how we can help optimize your process with custom equipment.

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automated welding trends for 2021

5 Trends in Automated Welding for 2021

Automation in the welding industry has been a growing trend since the 70’s. There has been an increase in demand from end-user industries and market growth continues to be on the upswing. These demands have been supported by the continued advancements in technology and R&D surrounding both automation and welding.

As we move into the New Year, we thought it would be worthwhile to review 5 trends in automatic and semi-automatic welding from our perspective.

Trend #1: Welding Safety Enhancements

Safety should always be number 1!  While this is not a new trend, fabricators will continue to take steps to keep workers safe. Without the proper safety precautions, automated welding can be dangerous. Here are just a few of the most common hazards:

  • Exposure to Gases & Fumes
  • Physical Hazards such as burns, eye damage, cuts, etc..
  • Electric Shock
  • Fire & Explosions

To improve the safety surrounding automated welding, we’ve seen more and more adoption of interlocking perimeter guards, safety light curtains, laser scanners, sensors, pressure-sensitive safety mats, high-quality gear, auto doors, better smoke extraction systems and more!

Auto doors with safety enclosure

Trend #2: Labor Shortage Issues

There’s been a lot of discussion around the welder shortage in the United States—it’s estimated that there will be a deficiency of over 400,000 skilled welders by 2024. This is an extremely challenging hurdle for manufacturers looking to expand and fill demands. At Bancroft Engineering, we understand what an asset welders are to our economy and the importance of education for the younger generation.

Trend #3: Automation Technology Growth

New technology will continue to emerge as we move into 2021.  New tools and technologies that will see growth include:

  • Power Sources
  • Digital Control Systems
  • Welding Management Software
  • Seam Tracking Systems
  • Gas Control Devices
Seam Tracking System
Automated Welding Positioner Prototypes
Automated Welding Positioner Prototypes

The team at Bancroft Engineering has been hard at work implementing new technology for all of our customized and standard semi-automated welding equipment. Stay tuned for the release of a new automated welding positioner and seam tracking systems coming later this year!

Trend #4: Rise of Collaborative Welding Systems

The welding industry will continue to embrace collaborative systems to compensate for the increasing skilled labor shortage in 2021. Collaborative welding systems are designed to share a workspace with humans—creating a safe and seamless automation environment.  This is one of the latest big trends in automated welding as it can be deployed easily, used for a variety of welding applications and are affordable compared to large robotic systems.

 

Trend #5: Adaptive Control Advancements

For those looking to improve their automated welding operation in 2021, adaptative controls are high on the list.  Adaptative control are used to analyze welding data in order to make corrections and improvements based on the results. These corrections are made automatically to the weld current—in real-time. This data is critical for improved quality and process optimization.

 

The Future of Automated Welding

With the use of new and improved welding technology, there are many opportunities to increase productivity and uncover time and cost savings. Technology advancements can help you address critical welding challenges which will allow you to stay competitive!  If you’re looking to adopt automated welding or make an upgrade, our team of trusted engineers are here to help you select the best equipment that will have the most impact on your business and bottom line.

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solve wire feed problems when welding aluminum

How to Solve Wire Feed Problems When Welding Aluminum

Aluminum has gained popularity over the years for manufacturing parts both large and small. It’s lightweight, strong, highly corrosion resistant, has good electrical and thermal conductivity and is reflective to both heat and light. While aluminum is a common material used by fabricators, it can be rather frustrating to weld—mainly due to problems with wire feeding.

We have seen every type of wire feed challenge with both manual and automatic welding—from unstable arcs, birdsnesting, burnback and everything in between. Read on to learn more about how you can minimize issues associated with aluminum wire feeding, avoid downtime, and improve your welding output!

 

Why is Welding Aluminum Difficult?

Welding aluminum requires different techniques than steel.  Different shielding gases, pre and post-welding processing, wire, and feed rolls. It is not only softer but has less column strength than steel which makes it more vulnerable to buckling and tangling.

Here are a few other properties of aluminum that make it difficult to weld:

  • High thermal conductivity
  • Low melting temperatures
  • Fast cooling rates
  • Oxidized surface coating

While it may seem that welding aluminum and dealing with welding wire problems is high maintenance, it’s easy to overcome with a few key steps!

How to Solve Poor Wire Feeding

In order to combat wire feed issues, it’s key to understand your welding equipment and components. It’s also essential to take a look at the way your equipment is configured.

1. The Welding Gun

The two best guns to use with aluminum are spool guns and push/pull guns.

  • A spool gun is best for small applications that doesn’t require much changeover. One way to minimize feed problems with spool guns is to shorten the feed distance.
  • A push/pull gun allows for longer wire feed distances (up to 50 feet). These guns are built with a motor that pulls the wire and a secondary motor that pushes the wire through the liner.
welding spool gun
Welding Spool Gun

2. Drive Rolls & Correct Wire Tension

To avoid crushing or deforming aluminum welding wire, use a U-groove drive roll. These drive rolls keep a round shape while feeding the wire effortlessly.

Setting the drive roll tension can be tricky and often takes practice to get it right. To start, make sure your drive rolls are aligned. Use low pressure, but make sure it provides enough for consistent wire feeding. The point is to avoid stress on the wire while the system is feeding the wire to the contact tip. Stress on the wire will cause an unstable arc.

3. Type of Welding Wire

High-quality aluminum wire is a must to avoid feeding problems. Check that your wire has a smooth finish and a steady cast. If your using a poor-quality wire, it can result in a wavy motion leaving the contact tip which will cause an unstable arc.

4. Contact Tips & Other Consumables

Look for aluminum specific contact tips. These are designed with smooth bores that have larger diameters for feeding wire. Since aluminum expands when it’s heated, these tips allow for wire to flow and prevent burnback.

The two specific liners that should be used for welding aluminum are Nylon and Teflon. These prevent birdnests and increase the life of your contact tip.

Aluminum wire birdsnest
Aluminum Wire Birdsnest

5. Handling Approach

Following spool handling best practices is another way to limit wire feeding issues. Here are a few handling strategies to keep in mind:

  • Always lift the spool from either the center or the bottom.
  • Don’t lift the spool in a way that permits the flanges to angle away from the wire.
  • Don’t adjust or disturb the way the wire is wound on the spool.

  

Custom Welding Machine Builders

Bancroft Engineering has the experience and equipment to help manage your aluminum welding woes! Get in touch with our engineers today to discuss how we can help optimize your process with custom welding machines.

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