Fundamentals of Electric Arc Welding Services

15 January 2019

It’s a new year, a chance to go back to basics, as it were. Off to a quick start, we’re delving into the following topic as seasoned pros, but we’ll be targeting novices and not other welding masters. Here, in this fundamentals guide, we’re taking electric arc welding back to square one. To get things rolling, arc welding equipment uses electricity to melt then fuse (join) solid metals.

The Arc Welding ABCs

Perhaps past posts have got ahead of themselves. That’s an understandable error on our part, as we do target an elite sector of the fabrication market. Still, this is the perfect opportunity, a moment where we can adopt a back to basics attitude. First off, electric arc welding services utilize powered electrodes. A positively charged anode and an opposingly charged cathode form the open end of a high-current circuit. In that electrical circuit, the current generated by the equipment’s integrated power source is so high that it can jump the gap between the two electrodes, thereby completing the circuit and promoting current flow. And what do we call that current jumping effect? Why, this is the electrical arc, of course.

Constructing the Equipment Electrodes

Two bits of wire and an electrical arc create an effect that looks like one of the wild experiments carried out in Professor Frankenstein’s laboratory. To produce a practical equipment setup, something a little more hands-on is required. The AC/DC rectifier, transformer and power source are isolated from the outside world. They’re contained safely within the equipment housing, behind the gear’s control panel. An electrode is held securely in a clamp-like holder. At the business end, flux-loaded consumable materials melt and flow. Alternatively, a non-consumable electrode (as used in Gas Tungsten Tungsten Arc Welding) generates the super-heated arc, which melts the base metal and creates a molten weld pool. Incidentally, completing the electrical circuit, the base metal is securely connected to the equipment’s work lead, which leads back to the second electrode terminal.

Coming on the scene now, here comes a welder. It’s this trained individual, outfitted with a tinted safety mask and thick work gloves, who expertly manipulates the weld pool and introduces the site protecting inert gas. It’s this person who cleans the weld area, tames the arc, and checks the consumable spool and filler rods. Striking a spark, flicking a wrist and tapping out the initial flash of electrical fire, this service produces spectacular fusion joints. The job’s not finished yet, though, not until the site is clean, the welding inspector has come by, and an optional protective coating has been properly applied.

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