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Types of Welding

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Welding is an amazing process that enables someone to meld metals and other materials together and form whole new shapes and objects. By applying heat, pressure and a filler material to what's being worked on, the welder can create strong joints that result in useful commodities or new functions. Some examples of what welding results in include:

  • Constructing bridges, pipelines and power plants
  • Sealing nuclear materials
  • Fabricating cars, aircraft and buildings

There are four main welding types, all of which are taught at Universal Technical Institute's (UTI) welding program. These are:

Brian Masumoto, welding instructor at UTI Rancho Cucamonga, says compared to most welding programs that concentrate on a specific process, UTI stands out.

“Our experience isn't limited to just one type of welding,” says Masumoto. “We cover all the major types of welding, which better prepares students for all different types of industries. We don't focus on just one process. The students learn and experience the different processes, which makes them better qualified for a job.” Let's take a look at these types of welding processes with diagram use and how they keep the world running.

Gas Metal Arc Welding: GMAW

Gas metal arc welding, also known as metal inert gas (MIG) welding, uses a continuous solid wire electrode that travels through the welding gun, which is accompanied by a shielding gas to protect it from contaminants.

GMAW is one of the most common welding processes and can be used indoors to weld materials for industries like construction, vehicle production, manufacturing, and aerospace. It's not recommended to use GMAW outdoors, since the wind can blow away the gas and damage the process.

GMAW welding produces minimal waste to clean up and isn't prone to chipping. Because the process is semi or fully automatic, that makes it a simpler one for welders, who don't have to worry about defects on stops and starts.

Shielded Arc Welding: SMAW

Shielded metal arc welding, or SMAW, is a welding technique that can be used on all ferrous materials in all welding positions. Another name for SMAW is stick welding. A flux-coated electrode (which is a metal stick held in an electrode holder) is connected to a power source and touches the base metal to produce the weld. The flux shields the electric arc to prevent contamination.

SMAW can be used to weld low and high alloy steels, carbon steel, cast iron and nickel alloys for industries like construction, shipbuilding and manufacturing. It can be done indoors and outdoors.

SMAW produces “slag,” which is a layer of by-product welders chip off after the weld for a clean look.

Flux Cored Arc Welding: FCAW

Flux cored arc welding (FCAW) uses a continuous hollow wire electrode with a flux compound that protects the weld pool by forming a gas. FCAW is ideal for outdoor welding and for welding on dirty or contaminated materials, since it doesn't require an external shielding gas to protect the weld from atmospheric elements. Much like the SMAW process, FCAW also produces “slag” that is chipped off after the weld to give it a clean look.

FCAW is a welding technique used for thick materials because the flux core wire can penetrate thick weld joints. FCAW isn't appropriate for materials that are thinner than 20 gauge.

FCAW can be used on cast iron, stainless steels, carbon steel, high nickel alloys and low-alloy steels. This welding technique is used in industries like construction and shipbuilding.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding: GTAW

Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is also known as TIG welding, which stands for tungsten inert gas. Just like in GMAW welding, an inert shielding gas is used. But unlike GMAW, which uses a wire that also acts as filler material, GTAW welding heats up objects by utilizing a tungsten electrode that delivers current to the welding arc. This welding arc melts the metal and creates a liquid pool. Filler rod can then be added if necessary to enhance the strength of the weld.

GTAW welding requires great precision, since the tungsten needs to avoid touching the workpiece and materials can't be overheated, otherwise cracks and other issues can occur. The benefits of GTAW welding are that there is greater weld control and improved strength and quality of welds.

GTAW welding also results in chip-free welds for a clean look. It is most commonly used to weld thin material and can be used for ferrous or non-ferrous metals such as stainless steel, aluminium, copper, magnesium and titanium.

Learn All About Welding at UTI

At UTI, students get to work with high-quality welding tools they'd use out in the professional world. Supportive instructors are always there to help, answer questions and provide guidance. Students can graduate from the program in just 36 weeks.

Learn more about the UTI welding program. Contact us for information.

Want to Learn More About Our Welding Program?

If you're interested in learning more about the Universal Technical Institute Welding program, just click the link below or call us at (800) 834-7308.