When we think of welding, high temperatures and metal fusing together come to mind. However, welding has come a long way since the early days and what we might not think about are the other materials that go into welding, and what else is needed for welding supply
. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers working will be over 400,000 by 2024 -- and they'll all need welding gear. Manufacturing comprises the majority of welding jobs -- two out of three welding jobs are in this sector. There are plenty of elements that make for successful welding and We'll discuss the different types of welding, what kind of gases you might find in a welding supply, as well as safety practices for handling them. What Types of Welding Exist?
There are three main types of welding used commercially (MIG welding, which is the most basic type of welding is usually reserved for beginners or hobbyists and stick welding is the old-fashioned kind of welding, and not efficient for mass welding).
TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding is a very versatile type of welding, though it's one of the more difficult types to learn. A tungsten electrode that's non-consumable sends a current to the welding arc. An inert gas then cools the tungsten and the weld puddle. This is used on most conventional metals like nickel and copper alloys, steel, and aluminum.
Electron beam and laser welding are other techniques that are incredibly precise, though also are high energy. These techniques are often applied for engineering purposes.
And plasma arc welding is also an extremely precise technique and often applied in aerospace-related jobs, like welding an engine blade. The method used is similar to that of TIG welding, but ionizing gases make the heat inside and the electrode is more recessed. What Kind of Gases are Used in Welding Supply?
As you can see, welding calls on a variety of different gases, from flammable gases, like acetylene or propane to nonflammable gases like helium or carbon dioxide. There are specific gas and gear companies that can provide you with everything from helium tanks to the right gun consumables.
Generally speaking, the four most popular gases used are argon, helium, carbon dioxide and oxygen. Carbon dioxide, argon, and helium are usually used as shielding gases, while propane, butane, and acetylene are used as fuel gases.
However, gases can also be created during the welding and cutting processes, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen chloride, and others. Gases can also be produced as coatings go through a thermal breakdown. Specific laser gases are also used to meet the requirements needed for laser welding.
Given the number of toxic gases that are present during welding and cutting, welders need to take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves and OSHA has a list of guidelines on creating a safe work environment and standards that workplaces need to meet. How Do I Handle These Gases Safely?
Welders and cutters should be properly trained on how to handle the gases and in their use. All combustible material should be moved away from the work area, guards should be used wherever possible, and fire watchers and fire extinguishers should be employed and readily available. Welders and cutters should also be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and respiratory equipment, when necessary.
The workplace should also conform to OSHA standards and guidelines and observe best practices when handling both flammable and nonflammable gases. For example, acetylene cylinders should be stored valve end up and cylinders should be handled gently and with extreme care.
Additionally, handlers of fuel gas or oxygen should be well taught on how to transport and handle the materials and judged fit by supervisors.
In summary, different types of gases may be used in different welding applications. They're an important part of any welding supply, though it's important to know their uses and how to handle them safely.