Inert gas welding machine Test
During welding metallic materials are joined under the influence of heat. In order to always achieve the best result when joining different materials and meeting different requirements, a distinction is made between different welding techniques. The different methods have become established as they provide good end results in various fields. With an inert gas welding machine the metallic surfaces are welded under an atmosphere of special gas. The method is used when a good end result is to be achieved even at low temperatures or waste materials are to be avoided.
The shielding gas does not fulfil the task of protecting against the flying sparks of the arc, but is placed on the seam to avoid the effects of chemical reactions with substances from the environment. What is the special effect when working with an inert gas welding machine? How does the process work? For whom is the application suitable? And what should be considered when buying a suitable welding device?
The shielding gas welding equipment – explanation, construction, use
The gas-shielded welding machine differs from other models in that two consumables are used instead of one. In addition to the welding wire, which is fed by a motor at a certain speed, the devices consume a gas mixture that protects the area around the weld seam being created during the process, from edge phenomena and waste products. Depending on the gas mixture, a distinction is made between different processes, the metal active gas process (MAG), the metal inert gas process (MIG) and the lower form, the TIG welding machine. The difference between the two processes in inert gas welding can be explained well in connection with the function of the welding equipment.
The special feature of gas-shielded welding equipment is that, in addition to the glowing of the welding wire, gas is also emitted, which forms a protective layer over the molten metal. The arc is also enclosed by the gas. The protective effect is that gases from the air do not react with the liquid metal and burns, corrosion or pores and gaps are avoided. Depending on the surface of the metal, different gas mixtures form the basis for the process: in the MAG process, argon is mixed with oxygen and CO2 in a certain ratio.
The gas behaves with direct influence to the materials, reacts and protects the liquid metal. In the MIG process, helium is used in addition to argon, so that the gas only fulfils the protective function. The processes are used with different starting materials. The TIG process is also based on inert gas. A tungsten electrode and a filler wire are used as welding wire. The gas mixture consists of argon, hydrogen, helium and related gases. The mixtures differ depending on the alloy and base material to be welded by the process.
Application of the shielding gas welding equipment
The shielding gas welding equipment is suitable for steel (MAG) or non-ferrous metals (MIG), depending on the process. The devices are used very often, because the handling is relatively easy compared to other systems and the process of welding can be optimized by the corresponding gases. The gas shielded arc welding equipment is the most widely used in the industry. Whether in vehicle construction, car body construction, car repair or spot welding. Due to the reduced arc and the absence of waste products, the process is also recommended for all DIY enthusiasts who want to process metal in their own workshop. Another advantage is the minimal emission of toxic gases and other harmful substances.
In comparison with other processes, shielding gas welding is the cleanest. Important safety precautions should be observed during handling. Gas-shielded welding requires protective goggles or ideally a welding mask. The hands and upper body must also be protected. It is particularly important that the eyes are protected from the bright arc. Once the safety precautions have been taken, the appropriate gas mixture is connected and the unit is connected to the power source. The device cannot be used outdoors, as even the smallest gust of wind will prevent the effect of the gas.
When the gas is connected and the tap is open, the amperage is set. The characteristics on the instrument show a value in amperes and a related switch-on time in percent. The switch-on time refers to the effective burning time at the corresponding amperage. The reason is the heating of the unit. At high amperage values, the shielding gas welding unit heats up faster and must cool down accordingly. The supply of welding wire must also be linked to the cooling process.
A small example shall clarify the principle of the switch-on time. Let us take, for example, the setting at 180 amperes with a switch-on time of 30 %. This means that the unit must cool down 70 % of the operating time. The function is then impaired. Through the different steps you will find the correct setting of the heat, which in combination with the gas mixture will provide the corresponding effect. Whoever has connected the same gas mixture should test the effects of the different amperage and the working time on a suitable plate. A value of around 100 amperes usually achieves 100% on-time.
Quality features shielding gas welding machine
The amperage in relation to the duty cycle is the main criterion of the device. A shielding gas welding machine can be used for different jobs, depending on the material, by exchanging the gas mixture and can be adapted to the MIG or MAG processes. The higher the duty cycle at high values, the more efficient the equipment is. Integrated cooling systems optimise the result depending on the model. Further quality features of the shielding gas welding device are the handling and the processing of the connections. The wire feed speed should be adjustable, as should the amperage.
A mobile device collects plus points, as the device becomes relatively unwieldy due to the combination with the gas cylinder. The mobility of the device can also be established afterwards by a suitable transport cabinet. The greatest judgement for the quality of a device is the even output of the cored wire, a stable supply of gas at a stable temperature as well as the easy handling of the burner. The sum of these factors results in an easy handling, which is reflected in a uniform weld seam. The device should come from a European manufacturer. German manufacturers have a very good reputation; after all, Germany is the country of steel and car body construction.
- High productivity by optimizing the welding process with gasRelatively easy handling, quick to learnMinimal waste and unwanted spatterComparable low heat inputlower temperatures mean less distortionSuitable for thin materials
- High vulnerability to wind
Care, cleaning, maintenance
The requirements of an inert gas welding device are relatively low. Before testing, maintenance and cleaning, the equipment must be disconnected from the mains and cooled down. Before use, the wire feed roller should be cleaned depending on the degree of contamination. Before use, the power cable should be checked. It should not be used under tension. Gas hoses and associated valves should also be checked for visible damage and should be long enough to operate without pressure.
This is expressed by the firm fit on the unit, the stable position in a set step and the direct effect of the controllers on the welding process. A regular inspection by a specialist is prescribed by many manufacturers as part of the safe operation. Storage in a clean environment is a good prerequisite for easy maintenance. The unit should also be protected from dust, splash water and other contaminants. After use, it must be disconnected from the power supply.
Cost of the gas-shielded welding machine
The costs for a shielding gas welding machine range from 200,- EUR to over 5.000,- EUR. Depending on the price range, there are corresponding product aspects, such as a stable cabinet for storing and using the bottles, water cooling instead of air cooling or a device for the use of several welding wires. The cheapest models are suitable for hobby use. If you want to process heavy body parts, you should choose a machine in the four-digit range. Higher amperages are required for processing coarse materials. The higher price often includes stations with a possible connection of two burners. These stations are too oversized for domestic use.
The higher the price range, the more comfortable the work with the device becomes. The running costs should also be considered. The welding rod is considerably cheaper than a gas cylinder. It is best to have suitable cylinders refilled by a dealer. This can not only influence the mixture but also the size of the cylinder. The repair of a shielding gas welding device should only be carried out by a specialist. If a device is defective it can be sent to the manufacturer after a short inquiry or repaired in a licensed company.
Decisive quality features
Among the top manufacturers of popular shielding gas welding equipment are Technolit, Merkle, Güde, Rehm and Gys. The companies have a wide range of portable equipment for the home workshop and welding equipment for industry. The manufacturers supply high quality products for various requirements and, based on their own experience in tool and machine construction, also offer the appropriate accessories for long-term, intensive use. When buying, the brand is accordingly secondary.
It is important to find a shielding gas welding machine that meets the required dimensions. First of all, the field of application applies. A device that is mainly to be used for spot welding does not have to achieve peak values for the switch-on times. For safe work, on the other hand, a high temperature with a long operating time is a prerequisite. The purchase is particularly suitable if the process is to be used for good results at low temperature.
The first accessory is the necessary protective equipment. In addition to suitable gloves, an overall and sturdy shoes, head protection is also important. A welding mask or welding goggles provide the necessary protection to be able to withstand the bright light of the arc. A large-surface mask also protects against the occasional flying sparks, even if these are minimal with inert gas welding, a sensible aspect. Other accessories revolve around the connections, be it the gas hose or the supply line to the torch. Ideally, all lines and seals are also available as accessories.
When it comes to the suture – what is important in tests?
When the products of the above mentioned manufacturers and other companies are tested, the quality of the equipment, the ease of use during preparation and the welding process, as well as the quality of the results in the different disciplines, i.e. spot welding and drawing a seam, are all important. Tests also show how stable the results are, whether the switch-on times are kept to, and the results of the corresponding levels of the equipment. The processing of the devices is also tested.
After all, all lines, cables and even the fixed elements must be able to withstand the demands of a workshop. The simple application and uncomplicated assembly and disassembly also have an impact on the result. Credible product tests on the shielding gas welding machines also indicate whether the device is intended for the hobby cellar or whether it is a device that could also give pleasure to a professional.
Conclusion Purchase of shielding gas welding equipment
The inert gas welding machine works cleanly and at low temperatures. The handling is therefore easy to learn, even for laymen. Different materials and alloys can be processed with different gas cylinders. The formation of harmful substances is very low with the gas shielded welding machine. The gas-shielded welding machines are suitable for amateurs, advanced and professionals.