The welding industry’s latest innovations are overcoming problems that have baffled researchers for decades. Innovations target not only efficiency, but price as well. Today’s welders can work at a rapid pace without losing an 'nth of efficiency thanks to this year's discoveries.
Self-Cleaning Welding Wires
Post-weld operations are expensive, time consuming, and inconsistent. To overcome these challenges, workers need to reduce spatter and silica islands. Self-cleaning wires have swooped to the rescue, providing 30% less spatter and a meagre half of the arc ignition problems. The new PURUS wire achieves a less porous result through stable feedability and cleanliness. This isn’t the only solution on the market. Flux-cored wires and brushes can achieve the same result at a lower cost, and new weld cleaning systems use an electrochemical process instead. Sloppy post-weld cleaning is a thing of the past.
The world is abuzz with chatter about recent improvements to arc welding. Solid filler wire prices have dropped, which has contributed to the technique's popularity, but Japan’s robot installations
will further increase its usage. They can move around the welding sites, using tubular wires to improve accuracy. Their local sensors will suit them to modular shapes that have unique dimensions.
High Yield Steel
Steel’s yield strength has a drastic effect on welding. In the past, welders could barely manage yields of over 450 MPa because hydrogen would enter the flux and the heat-affected zone would cool and become brittle.
The industry is working hard to overcome this problem as yield strengths increase. Submerged arc welding is receiving plenty of attention for its ability to manage heavy welds, but other solutions are also hitting the market. Gas metal welding and flux-cored techniques are able to reduce moisture pick up. Impermeable metal sheaths are used to protect the flux.
Fabricators are changing the way the industry needs to grow, and new flap disc designs are one of the most interesting developments in this area. The Flexsteel flap disc has a zirconia alumina grain that sharpens itself and can blend corners at little outlay.
Irradiated Metal Alloys
Scientists have begun conducting first weld tests for forking with irradiated materials.
A new welding system is intended to bring costs down and cut helium generation that produces bubbles that weaken the weld. The goal is to prevent expansion and contraction. The initial tests began in November 2017 and have already proved that friction stir welding with a rotating tool can weld at below melting point. The researchers have achieved a remarkable degree of success in a short space of time, so it seems that aged reactors will, at last, become manageable.
Friction Stir Welding (FSW)
FSW was first designed for aluminium alloys, but it’s being used on several steels and polymers to optimise heat generation and transfer to reduce defects. The technique uses a solid-state hot shear joining process that softens materials without reducing stability. It creates a continuous joint and eliminates the problem of solidification cracking. In this sense, it improves upon the results of arc welding, reducing distortion and porosity. The technique itself was developed decades ago, but it’s currently being tested in the aerospace and shipbuilding sector. Researchers are still trying to reduce defects further and create a faster welding process that can join dissimilar sheets.
Stick and TIG Welders
Miller has become a common appearance in headlines after having developed a new welder capable of AC/DC TIG and stick welding. It will become a useful part of a huge array of industries from shipbuilding to precision fabrication. It eliminates HF interference and uses a “Blue Lightning™” high-frequency arc to achieve a more reliable and consistent result.
The laser welding machine industry is expected to achieve greater thermal stability
in the coming year by removing the need for chemical additives and glue. This will change a huge array of sectors including the jewellery, medical, and automotive industries. Fibre laser welding machines can now deliver light more precisely so that optical mirrors and disk lasers are no longer needed. Light can be amplified and channelled through a cable instead, joining rapidly with little thermal distortion. It’s no surprise that the welding industry is projected to be worth $32.63 billion by 2022.
As researchers progress, the very fabric of the manufacturing industry will reinvent itself.