Multi-Process Welding

Unfortunately, there is no single welding process which is suitable for all types of applications. The most common forms of welding are MIG, TIG and Stick Welding – though each discipline has its own benefits and limitations.

In the welding industry, companies are always looking for ways to create a more efficient operation and maintain — or better yet, increase — profitability.

For some operations, a single-process power source is enough to meet the job’s requirements. However, for companies that have applications with varying needs, a multi-process power source can offer significant benefits in terms of quality, productivity and cost by providing the capacity to TIG, MIG and/or stick weld, as well as carbon arc gouge.

While Stick Welding is often the most popular method for a number of purposes, it’s important to understand the other available processes to determine which is suitable for your needs.

Summary of Welding Processes

Stick Welding

Stick or MMA (Metal Arc Welding) Welding uses an electric current flowing from a gap between the metal and the welding stick, also known as an arc-welding electrode. Stick welding is an effective method for welding most alloys or joints and can be used indoors and outdoors or in drafty areas. It’s also the most economical welding method and provides the ability to create an effective bond on rusty or dirty metals.

However, Stick Welding is also a difficult discipline to master and can be relatively slow in comparison to other methods of welding. Other limitations include the need for frequent rod (electrode) changes, difficult to use on thinner materials and leaves significant spatter which needs to be cleaned after welding.

MIG Welding

Also known as Metal Arc Welding, MIG Welders use a wire welding electrode on a spool that is fed automatically at a constant pre-selected speed. The arc, created by an electrical current between the base metal and the wire, melts the wire and joins it with the base, producing a high-strength weld with great appearance and little need for cleaning. MIG welding is clean, easy and can be used on thin or thicker plate metals.

TIG Welding

Often referred to as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), TIG welding is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by a shielding gas (usually argon) and a filler metal, though some welds, known as autogenous welds, do not require it. A constant-current welding power supply produces energy that is conducted across the arc through a column of highly ionized gas and metal vapors known as plasma.

TIG welding is most commonly used to weld thin sections of alloy steel, stainless steel and nonferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium and copper alloys. The process grants the operator greater control over the weld than other welding processes, allowing for strong, high-quality welds. TIG welding is comparatively more complex and difficult to master than other processes and is significantly slower.

Multi-Process Welders

In newer Inverter-based Multi-Process Welders, machines are now capable of performing multiple welding disciplines using a single unit.

This essentially means that rather than being confined to a single process on a transformer-based machine, users with varying welding needs are able to use multi-process devices to perform MIG, TIG and Stick applications on one unit.

Multi-process welders are hugely popular because they offer more flexibility than single-process machines and often helps improve overall efficiency with regards to costs and productivity.

In addition to their portability, Inverter-based machines are more energy efficient than traditional machines which means a significant reduction in power costs.

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