Due to its corrosion resistance-free nature stainless steel continues to gain popularity as the metal of choice when it comes to making components for industrial machines. It is the strongest metal on earth and is very tough. Due to its strong nature, it can be difficult to weld unless you are experienced.
To weld stainless steel right you have to choose the right welding process and equipment. To get the right welds fabricators, do consider the traits of the filler metal and the costs. The welding equipment you use and the technician’s experience also matter a lot. The metal is most popular in the petrochemical and piping industries as it can take extremely high temperatures well. Bacteria are not able to grow on stainless steel and this makes it a number one choice for medical equipment and the food-prep industries as well. To transport hazmat materials steel tanks are used due to their reliability. The metal is being used in the construction of rails and trucks due to its durability and strength.
Welders who want to take on more welding projects to increase their competitiveness can take on steel welding. As a fabricator, you can get good results if you consider two important factors. First, stainless steel is a great heat insulator as compared to carbon steel. The heat produced by the arc does not spread and can be concentrated on the weld area. This can cause distortion, burn through holes and decomposition. To control the heat input, the use of the right welding process and filler metal is used.
Second, stainless steel can easily get tarnished which is called sugaring. In the case of sugaring, the chrome is out of the metal and can lead to corrosion. When stainless steel pipes are welded sugaring is avoided so the welds are of high quality. With sugaring, the need for reworking is always there. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) is great for maintenance and repair jobs but to weld steels, it is a bit risky. It makes a lot of spatter and may extend project timelines due to the time utilized on clean-ups which means additional costs.
If you are new at welding stainless steel SMAW is just right for you as it does not use a shielding gas. All you need is a power source and stainless steel electrodes. The use of straight chromium (martensitic and ferritic) and the nickel-chromium (austenitic) is more preferable as these have better electrical resistance and low thermal conductivity. These electrodes are not very costly and it good to buy these in small quantities first. You want to begin with small jobs to keep the cost of learning on the low side. If you want to stick weld the steel look for the 309 or 312 SMAW electrodes. These are ideal for repair jobs as they have good strength and the welds will not crack.
Wire is also used in welding steel and the use of processes such as gas metal arc and flux-cored arc welding brings good results. These processes are efficient and have good bead appearance. The equipment for GMAW is a bit complex and the operator needs to be skilled. Wire costs less but in this welding process, the use of gas adds to the expense. Gas restricts spatter and the use of 98 percent argon with 2 percent CO2, or a mix of argon and helium reduces spatter.
Another welding process to weld stainless steel is the flux-cored arc welding (FCAW). It produces slag and spatter but is considered more productive than GMAW. FCAW is a costly welding process as the cost of stainless filler metals is high. It is more expensive to make the flux’s alloying elements. There are many FCAW wires on the market and many of these can run on commonly used shielding gases that are low cost.
To prevent spatter metal-cored arc welding with pulsed or standard spray method is used due to its speed. At high speeds, the weld spot does not get very heated which results in zero warping and alteration. Metal fillers used in this form of welding cost a pretty penny but less clean up and less rework are required with metal-cored arc welding.
Another way to join stainless steel is submerged arc welding. It offers better productivity and low spatters. This saves both time and money. It is perfect for welding thick pieces and is commonly used in the manufacturing of storage tanks and liquid natural gas tanks. The position of the weld in this type of process is limited to flat. Gas tungsten arc welding is also used in welding stainless steel when clean and precise welds are required. The equipment is very complex and the operator is required to have good skills and experience. Aesthetically, it gives the best results. If you want to weld stainless steel and do not know what type of equipment you need talk to a specialist company. Hughes Welder Equipment is used in welding stainless steel in a variety of industries due to its modern features.