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Arc welding and cutting
The main arc welding and cutting processes include MIG, MMA, TIG and plasma welding and cutting.
These processes are used for a wide range of applications; from shipbuilding and power generation equipment to automotive components and furniture.
Selecting the ideal process is dependent on a number of factors, including:
- cost of equipment.
- skill of the welder.
- where the process is being carried out.
- quality of job required.
Fuel gas are used for a wide and diverse range of processes, from carbon coating and oxygen cutting to flame heating and flame cleaning.
Each process normally has a very precise application area and while much of the equipment is common, the torch and nozzles are often specific to the application.
During laser processes, light is used to cut, weld and drill to produce finished parts of high-dimensional accuracy and low levels of distortion.
There is a range of different lasers which produce light at different wavelengths and intensities. Generally it is the application which determines which type of laser is most suitable.
While lasers are appropriate for use on a reasonable range of materials they are, at present, limited by the thickness they can cut.
Thermal and plasma
There is a wide range of thermal and plasma processes. Each of the processes is used to deposit a coating of one material onto the surface of another.
Many of the processes use a fuel gas; either burning at a relatively low velocity, or a very high velocity, or igniting explosively to propel a molten powder or rod onto the component to be coated.
Two processes, however, use an electric current to perform basically the same process; electro-gas and electro-slag.
Electro-gas and electro-slag
Processes such electro-gas and electro-slag welding may be nearing the end of their lifecycle.
They are being replaced by more modern arc welding processes. Other processes such as friction stir welding are only just beginning to find niche applications.