How FCAW Welds Work?
In flux cored arc welding, a tubular wire is filled with the flux material. When the ark is initiated between the wire electrode and the workpiece, the filler is heated, allowing it to blend with the material to create the weld.
The flux is contained directly inside the core of the tubular electrode. It melts during the welding and is then able to shield the weld from the atmosphere. The most common type of FCAW welding torch uses direct current, commonly called an electrode positive (DCEP).
Types of FCAW Weld
There are two different types of flux cored arc welding processes. The first of these is a self-shielding option, which works without the shielding gas. The second of these is a gas shield FCAW.
- Self-shielding FCAW. The self-shielding FCAW is designed not only to oxidize the weld pool, but also shields the weld and the metal droplets from the atmosphere through the pool that is created.
- Self-shielding FCAW. In the gas shielding option, also known as dual shield welding, the weld is protected by both the gas and the pool. This protective gas is created by the gas used in the process, coming from outside the system.
This particular type of welding is normally used for welding structural steels. Its most common use is either in straight carbon dioxide or argon carbon dioxide blends. This is an extremely popular form of welding when putting together thicker, out of position metals. Because this flag that is created by the flux is easily removed, making cleanup on non-issue.
The primary difference between the two is that there is a different fluxing agent that is used in the consumables. This provides benefits that specifically address the needs of the user. For example, those who would be doing work outside where conditions such as wind or rain may corrupt the weld will use the self-shielding option.
Automatic or Semi-Automatic Options.
One of the reasons why this has become a popular form of welding is because it has become automated. FCAW is either machine automated, automatic, or semi-automated, semi-automatic. This helps to create the perfect weld by removing potential human error from the equation.
However, one should not conclude that the automatic option is always the best. There are exceptionally skilled welders who do a great job using the semi-automatic option. All it takes is a person with the right expertise in the right touch to create the perfect weld.
Major Applications Where FCAW Welds Are Used
Because of its process and versatility, there are several applications for FCAW welding. What you will find is that this type of weld is used with a lot of different kinds of materials. For example, it can be used to weld low alloy carbon steel, stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, even sheet steel. The versatility of materials makes it so that welders feel confident that they can get the proper weld created.
- General repairs. Because of the potential change in direction and the strength needed to maintain the durability of the connection, this type of welding is often ideal.
- Shipbuilding. Shipbuilding is another common application for FCAW welding. While it is not as common during the initial building of the ship, it is quite commonly as ships need repairs, especially when they are damaged while out to sea. Because the torch is easily able to be used underwater, it enables a skilled welder to have the ability to fix damage to the ship that normally would have required the vessel being pulled out of the water.
- underwater welding. Underwater welding is necessary beyond ship repair, however. There are many aquariums, pools, or other underwater enclosures that can become damaged, maybe even severely. Many of these damaged structures are repaired using the FCAW weld.
- Manufacturing. Manufacturing and general repair is another common application. Most welders are proficient enough with flux cored arc welding that they can use this type of welding for any kind of repair that is needed. It also works well in manufacturing and is even used in the automotive industry.
- pipeline welding. Because of its close similarity to MIG welding, many of the same uses apply to FCAW welding as well. This starts with pipeline welding, which is one of the most common uses.
Advantages and Disadvantages of FCAW Welding
As with any other type of welding process, there are advantages and disadvantages to using this particular option. These include:
- Allows for deeper penetration during the weld.
- One of the better choices in terms of its cost, especially considering the high-quality weld it produces.
- The filler metal eliminates any need you would have for an external shielding gas, yet still provides for adequate protection from atmospheric conditions.
- Does not require the kind of deep cleaning that would be necessary with other types of Welds.
- Welds can erode over time because of the slide layers that are deposited.
- A lot of smoke is produced during the welding process.
A Good Weld That Does the Job
This is an extremely popular form of weld that can be used in a variety of different circumstances. It also is one that allows an inexperienced welder to still have success and to create the necessary Welds desired.
It also does not require a significant amount of experience to be successful. Many of the welding processes can only be performed by master welders. Here, because of the automated system, even a welder with a minimal amount of experience can have a great deal of success. It is why this has become one of the more commonly used types of welding processes found today.