Other Forms Of Welding You Never Heard Of. Part 3
One of the most fascinating forms of welding that the casual welder has never seen is the submerged arc welding (SAW) process. Although most any body can be trained to run a SAW welder, it is an elite few who have the joy of being able to do so. It too has been around for a long time as well, as far back as WW II or earlier. submerged arc welding uses special machinery, much of which is electronically controlled these days to produce a weld. But it is not unlike MIG welding in the fact it uses a continuous wire electrode. In this case, because of the large quantity of wire, and the heavy weldments made, the wire comes out of large barrels or spools of wire. Its distinction is that uses a special powder flux held in a hopper that is laid down in front of the electrode. The wire and the arc is “submerged” under the flux as the wire is fed constantly. It helps keep impurities from the atmosphere out of the weld, and it helps slow the cooling of the weld which is important in large, heavy welds. If cooling occurs too quickly, as with any weld, the impurities in the metal itself can be trapped in the weld before they have time to float out. Little fumes and smoke are produced in this process, and the arc is not generally visible so only light protective gear is required. A SAW operator on some days never even gets to break much of a sweat compared to his welding counterparts in other welding disciplines. Where is SAW used? In many factories, you will find SAW machines joining pipe, or large sections of tubing or other large weldments requiring controlled conditions.