What is the Best Type of Welding that Can Be Used for Structural Steel?

17 June 2019

Widely regarded as the preferred in-house structural steel welding system, let’s take a look at Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW). A flux-cored electrode, handled by an expert welder, can be used in all of the usual welding positions, which makes the equipment particularly suitable as an all-angle structural steel companion set. Building frameworks do rely upon adaptive jointing procedures, after all. Otherwise, a cumbersome steel structure would require some massive handling mechanism.

Multi-Angle Welding Capabilities

And that’s not a realistic option. A workshop won’t purchase an expensive hoist so that the structural steel elements can be moved to suit the limitations of a subpar welding rig. No, the electrode is moved, not the steel parts. They’re fixed in place or carefully positioned and welded. To make this kind of multi-directional service possible, welders use FCAW-G equipment. Gas-shielded flux-cored arc welding systems deliver high filler deposition rates to overhead welds. Horizontally oriented or vertically mounted, it makes no difference; the flux-filled tubular electrode applies optimally formed welds. For thinner steel seams, the equipment can work without shielding gas. Used on thicker, denser joints, even those in awkward positions, FCAW gear utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) as a shielding gas.

On-Site Structural Steel Welding

Part of the work, perhaps all of it, is done in-house. After all the parts are arc welded and inspected, the framework is transported to the site and welded in place. A crane lifts the structural steel into place, the elements are temporarily fixed in place, and then the welders get to work. Only, the separately shielded welding system gets held back. It is left back with the in-house team, for the outdoor environment makes a mockery of that particular weld protection solution. Efficient as the arc welding gear is, a small breeze is enough to disperse the CO2 shield. True, a shelter of some kind could be rigged, but that means extra work. To solve this challenge, the best-in-class system adapts. Instead of a separate gas, the flux tubing generates its own shielding atmosphere. This is FCAW-S, a welding system that doesn’t require a mobility-hampering gas cylinder.

By stopping to assess the situation, a welding foreman picks out the best possible structural steel welding system. Back on the factory floor, FCAW-G is the faster, more flexible welding solution. The electrode works efficiently at any angle, and it provides a double-shielded jointing environment, with the gas and flux both generating an oxidization proof zone. Outside, things are different. Portability is an issue, so small wire arc welding power supplies are used onsite. Better than stick welding, though, FCAW-S arc welding provides a flux-equipped edge.

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