This TECH TIPS is provided by the experts at ESAB
Flux cored wire can improve weld quality, increase productivity – and even lower costs over time when used with the right applications. Just like any filler metal, it has unique traits and benefits, as well as limitations. Understanding these can help you use this wire successfully and leverage its many benefits.
When to Use Flux Cored Wire
There are two types of flux core wire; gas-shielded and self-shielded that are further segmented as all-position and flat and horizontal weld position only. Since flux cored wire is easily alloyed and available in varying chemistries, it’s suitable to use with a range of base metals and mechanical property requirements.
Self-shielded flux core wire, which does not require external shielding gas, is typically used outdoors where wind can be an issue and utilizing an external shielding gas is not economical. This type of wire is also a good choice for home hobbyists. Gas-shielded flux core wires are used mainly for indoor applications. Both types of flux core wire produce the best cleaning action compared to GMAW however protecting the weld zone from excessive air currents is an important consideration to prevent porosity with the gas shielded wire types.
The downside? All cored wires cost more than solid wires due to the additional manufacturing steps required to produce them. However, the real costs of a welding operation are in the labor and overhead expenses, which account for 80% to 85% of the total. So if base material cleaning is not performed prior to welding to help minimize process costs, then using a flux core wire can produce higher quality welds compared to solid wires.
Thanks to their high efficiencies, compared to stick welding (SMAW), and high deposition rates, flux cored wire can actually reduce labor and overhead costs, making it less expensive in the long run.