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What Is a Multi-Process Welder?

Jun 30, 2021 ·
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Welding is a fabrication process used to join two or more parts using heat and pressure. Welders use this process to form new products or to make repairs to existing structures.

There many tools that can be used when performing welds. This includes the machine used for the job itself, which will differ depending on the type of welding process being used. One tool that you might consider investing in if you’re performing welds is a multi-process welder, which is capable of performing a range of weld types.

Keep reading to learn more about what a multi-process welder can do and what to expect from this machine.

How a Multi-Process Welder Works

A multi-process, or MP, welder is a piece of equipment that can be a useful part of a welder’s tool kit. A multi-process welder is able to perform two or more welding processes.

This is possible by changing polarities (positive, negative or even AC) and adjusting the process selector, going from SMAW to GMAW, for example. These multi-process welders offer the ability to weld a high variety of metals using different welding processes, allowing the person welding to switch methods in just a few minutes.

What Are Multi-Process Welders Good For?

Arc welding is the most common process used in welding applications. Arc welding processes utilize an electric arc to fuse metals together, forming new shapes and objects. Heat generated during arc welding processes can reach around 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

A power source is used to create an arc between an electrode and the base material, which melts them at the point of contact and creates a welding circuit. A multi-process welder is often designed to perform two or more of the main four arc welding types. These include:

  • Gas metal arc welding (GMAW): Also known as metal inert gas (MIG) welding, this method uses constant voltage equipment to create heat by carrying current between a continuous solid wire electrode sent through the welding gun and accompanied by a shielding gas.
  • Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW): SMAW welds are also referred to as stick welds. This method uses constant current equipment that creates heat from a direct or alternating current that is sent between the flux-coated electrode and the work piece.
  • Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW): Flux-cored arc welding creates heat from a direct current electric arc and uses constant voltage equipment in the process. It carries current between a continuous hollow wire with a flux compound and can be done with or without a shielding gas.
  • Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW): Also known as TIG welding, this method utilizes constant current equipment to create heat from an alternating or direct current electric arc. The current is carried by a tungsten electrode accompanied by a shielding gas.

Typically, multi-process welders are good options for maximizing what you can do for the price. While they are more expensive up frontthan welding machines that perform only one type of weld, they save money in the long run because they can perform many different welds.

MP welders are great for applications that require working on pieces that have various thicknesses, different types of welding joints, indoor and outdoor applications, or multiple base-metal types.

The benefit comes from being able to easily switch from one welding process to another, which adds to productivity and uninterrupted workflow.

When to Avoid Multi-Process Welders

There are some circumstances where using a multi-process welder might not be appropriate, and it’s important to keep these in mind.

If only one of the welding processes is needed, it doesn’t make sense to spend the money on a tool that will give you multiple options. Saving money for a higher quality welding machine for a particular type of process would be the smart thing in this case.

It’s also good to keep in mind that MP welders will likely perform certain welds better than others. Depending on the type of welds you perform most often, this is another case where it might make sense to buy one machine.

Learn How to Weld at UTI

In the Welding Technology program at Universal Technical Institute, you can learn the different types of arc welding processes in just 36 weeks and get prepared for an entry-level career in the welding industry.1 Learning these welding methods will give you hands-on experience using different types of machines, which will prepare you to utilize a multi-process welder if desired.

To find out more about the Welding program at UTI, request more information here or contact us at 1-800-834-7308.

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By submitting this form, I further understand and agree that all information provided is subject to UTI's Privacy Policy available at uti.edu/privacy-policy

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