CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

TECH TIPS: Selecting and optimizing shielding gas for MIG welding

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To save time and money and avoid common issues, like porosity, when MIG welding, several things need to be taken into account. PHOTO courtesy ESAB.

This TECH TIPS is provided by the experts at ESAB University

The wrong shielding gas can affect quality, costs, and productivity. It’s therefore vital to choose the right gas for the job and optimize its performance. Here’s how:

Step 1: Consider the Base Metal

Aluminum: When you’re welding aluminum, use 100% argon. An Argon / Helium mix can work too if you’re looking for faster travel speed or deeper penetration.

Carbon steel: Carbon steel can pair with a 100% CO2 or a CO2/Argon mix, although there are multiple gas blends to optimize performance for your application.

Low alloy steel: Shielding gas that is 98% Argon and 2% Oxygen is optimal.

Stainless steel: Stainless steel requires Argon mixed with 2-5% of the following gasses; CO2, oxygen, nitrogen or other gases depending upon in-service conditions and desired welding process and performance.

Step 2: Optimize Shielding Gas Performance

Save time and money and avoid common issues, like porosity, by taking into account:

Flow rate: Set flow rates based on wire-feed speed and weld-travel speed. For instance, increasing wire-feed speed can increase travel speed and the size of the weld profile. As a result, shielding gas flow rate may need to increase, as well.

Consumables: Select consumables – the diffuser, contact tip and nozzle – that resist spatter buildup. Also, opt for a wide enough nozzle bore to provide proper shielding gas coverage.

Gas preflow: If you’re welding a deep joint or bevel, allow the shielding gas to flow for a few seconds before to starting to weld.

Gas regulator: Only use the gas regulator designed for the shielding gas mixture and the proper connectors.

System maintenance:  As part of a routine maintenance plan, check the regulators often to ensure proper functioning.

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