Welding is an essential and fundamental part of any metal manufacturing and fabrication. Good welding makes it possible for engineers to design and manufacture components for any number of machines. It’s used to create and mend countless things, including the manufacturing and repair of hydraulic cylinders. Welding doesn’t just bond metals together but causes metal structures to fuse together and become one piece through intense heat and sometimes, adding other metals and gases in the process to achieve this cohesion. There are more than 30 types of welding, which include MIG, TIG, Shielded Metal Arc Welding and Oxy-Fuel Welding. These types of welding are commonly used in the hydraulic cylinder manufacturing and repair industries, each having its own advantages and disadvantages.
Types of Welding Commonly Used
MIG – Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
MIG is one of the most common types of welding used. This type of welding can also be referred to as its subtypes, Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding or Metal Active Gas (MAG) welding. An electric arc is generated between an electrode and the metal being worked on. This arc generates the heat needed for the metal to melt which creates the weld. The welding gun continually feeds the consumable wire electrode which enables the arc to continue. While this is happening, the arc is covered with a shielding gas which protects the weld against contamination. The gas used is a mixture of an inert gas like Argon and an active gas like Carbon Dioxide or Oxygen.
- High-quality welds can be produced much faster than Shielded Metal Arc Welding and TIG welding.
- With this method, you’re able to make multiple passes on the same joints with minimal cleanup necessary.
- The shield gas that protects the arc causes very little loss of alloying elements. This means a small amount of splatter is produced and the splattered that is created is easily removed.
- It’s considered one of the fastest welding methods.
- It’s a versatile process which can be operated in several ways including semi- and fully automatic on a wide variety of metals and alloys.
- The equipment is complex in comparison to what’s used in shielded metal-arc welding.
- This process cannot be used in a vertical overhead welding position because the high-heat produces a weld puddle that is extremely fluid.
- The surface of the weld area needs to be very clean, free of rust and other contaminants.
- The process is very sensitive to breezes which can disrupt the shielding gas enough to compromise the weld.
For more information on MIG welding, watch this video:
TIG – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
Like MIG welding, TIG welding also makes use of an electric arc, the difference between the two however, is the electrode used which is made from the extremely tough metal, Tungsten. This metal has an extremely high melting point which means it won’t dissolve or burn off. This welding method also operates at extremely high temperatures reaching 3,316°C to heat and melt metals. TIG also requires the use of shielding gasses like Argon, Helium or a mixture of the two. This method of welding does not require a filler metal but one can still be used. If a filler metal is used it will be added from a separate wire or rod to the welding pool.
- TIG welding can be used on nearly all metals and thicknesses, this includes thicknesses that MIG welding cannot handle.
- Excellent control and accuracy. More control of the weld is possible than any of the other arc type welding methods because the arc heat and filler metal, if it is used, is independently controlled.
- The process is very clean with a marginal amount of smoke, fumes and sparks generated. This also creates great visibility because of the lack of smoke.
- TIG welding can be slower and more expensive than Shielded Metal Arc Welding or MIG welding.
- Careful control of the electric current is required as well as the correct pressure and timing. This is not an easy method to use and takes a lot of practice.
For more information on TIG welding, please watch the following video:
STICK – Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
The informal name for this method is derived from the electrode it uses which is in the shape of a stick. It’s also known as Manual Metal Arc welding (MMA) or flux shielded arc welding. The electrode is covered with flux which melts in the arc which produces a shielding gas that protects the weld area from oxygen and other possible contaminants. This method is commonly used for maintenance and repair work.
- It requires basic equipment which makes it excellent for field work as it is very portable.
- It works on dirty materials and in harsh environmental conditions.
- This is the cheapest welding method, from 30% to 50% cheaper than other methods.
- Good for work in tight spaces.
- Slag needs to be removed after welding.
- It’s considered a slow welding method.
- More sparks, splatter and heat is created than other methods.
- Welding needs to stop when the last 5 Cm of the electrode is reached.
If you want to learn more Shielded Metal Arc Welding, watch the following video:
Oxy Fuel Welding (OFW)
This type of welding falls under a group of methods that joins metals together with a fuel gas flame, combined with oxygen as a heating medium with or without the application of pressure. The most common fuel gas used is Acetylene and thus the name Oxy-Acetylene welding (OAW) is also used. This group of methods can also use a filler metal or do without it. The heat for the welding process is generated by a flame caused by the chemical reaction of the oxygen and the fuel gas which would be the Acetylene. These two gasses are mixed in a chamber within the torch itself.
- Heat control is possible and a welder can manage the heat input and the temperature of the welding zone very well.
- It’s ideally suited for welding tubes and small diameter pipes.
- It’s excellent for repair welding.
- This method can be used where no electricity is available.
- The equipment is very versatile and can be used for metal cutting as well.
- It’s a slow method and is thus less productive.
- Due to the combustible gasses used, a lot of safety precautions need to be taken as the gasses are highly flammable and can explode if they catch fire.
To learn more about Oxy Fuel Welding, watch the following video:
Welding is extremely important and there are endless depths of knowledge to be gained in this field of expertise. To achieve the perfect weld in both manufacturing and repairing of hydraulic cylinders takes immense practice and mastery of this important skill. Distortion and residual stresses due to improper welding can occur and compromise the integrity of the equipment or hydraulic cylinder the weld is performed upon. Kappa Engineering provides fully certified welding services of the highest quality and our skilled artisans will know exactly what methods to use to create the perfect weld that will ensure the integrity of your equipment. All welding done at Kappa Engineering complies to our TUV quality system and Kappa Engineering is TUV certified. Contact us today for any welding or cutting services you might require.
Hydraulic Cylinders for Sale from Kappa Engineering
If you need 250 Series hydraulic cylinders, 150 Series cylinders or Tipper Series cylinders, click here to order them from Kappa Engineering. We manufacture hydraulic cylinders with any mounting type or port position you require. We manufacture every component of the cylinder in-house and we design and build custom hydraulics for specialised applications.