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HOW TO WELD STAINLESS STEEL

When we work with metals in the product manufacturing and installation process, one of the most important factors to take into account is the choice of method for joining parts, profiles or structures. Depending on the product, the assembly or joint can be permanent or non-permanent. This largely depends on the field of application of the final product and the mechanical and resistance characteristics it requires.

In the case of metals such as aluminum and especially stainless steel, there are permanent joining processes that meet the necessary requirements to provide the final product with said physical and mechanical characteristics. The most common and most used process for years is the welding process.

In this article, we are going to teach you everything you need to know about stainless steel welding. We will cover the formal definition of this process, then we will delve into the features and benefits it offers, and finally we will explore how this task can be carried out successfully. At the end of this post, you will know correctly how to weld stainless steel. Now, to begin, let’s define what welding is:

WELDING AS A SYSTEM OR UNION PROCESS

Welding is a permanent fastening process or system that consists of the surface joining of metal parts or pieces (although there is also polymer welding) by partially melting the area to be joined or adding a molten metallic material that makes the times of glue or filler metal.

Now, we have just mentioned that welding occurs mainly in two ways, using only the faces to be joined or adding a filler material. This is very important since depending on the type of welding, the results will be different. The choice of the most suitable type for a project will depend on its limitations and it is up to the welding expert to choose the most convenient one.

On the other hand, it is said to be a system because it uses essential characteristic elements to carry out the task: It requires labor, use of the appropriate materials, special tools, documentation and a prepared environment. It is not an experimental procedure tied to improvisation and requires trained personnel to obtain the best results.

Now that we know what welding is, let’s now take a look at some of the history of welding and how it came to be so important today:

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF MODERN WELDING

Historically, welding has been present in our culture since the bronze age (both in Europe and Asia). Man’s need to manipulate and use metals and alloys to create strong and durable products pushed him to experiment with strong joints that went beyond a tie, screw or glue. Forge welding was one of the most used methods in the past. It consisted of heating the metals and striking them to the point where a permanent bond was achieved. Of course, this type of welding was not as efficient and the results do not compare to today’s.

It was not until the 19th century that various types of permanent joints made their appearance, including electric arc welding. From this point on, this became the most popular method used to this day. Another factor that was included together with this type of welding was the concept of filler material. It was no longer necessary to use the faces directly for the desired joint, but rather a third material was melted and joined the faces.

Currently, welding has advanced so much that there are types for each special application that requires this process. From welding in special chemical environments, under water, with particles, with gases and many more. It is impossible to think of a metallic structure or construction where welding is not part of the project.

Now, let’s move on to the subject of this article: How to weld stainless steel?:

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WELDING STAINLESS STEEL

Here are the most popular recommendations when welding stainless steel:

Surface cleaning. This first recommendation is the most important when welding stainless steel. In fact, it is a recommendation that applies to any welding job, regardless of the material. Proper cleaning of the surfaces to be joined prevents the welding from fusing the faces perfectly. On the other hand, dirt or foreign particles can cause corrosion and compromise the joint in the short and medium term.

Choosing the right welding process. Arc welds are the most popular for working stainless steel. Therefore, choosing one of the available variants guarantees that the final result is as expected. Whether we are talking about SMAW, GTAW, FCAW or GMAW welding, the important thing is that the final result is uniform.

Pre-welding or fixing of the parts to be welded. This is another important factor, at least when there have been no welding points between the faces. It is necessary to firmly hold the pieces to be joined in order to achieve a stable weld and that there are no dimensional errors. To omit this recommendation is to work at the risk of the faces being misaligned and therefore the final joint is not constant or simply does not fit.

Use of the appropriate protection implements and the correct tools. First of all, wearing the proper mask, gloves, protective shoes and special clothing should be mandatory when welding. It is the definitive formula to prevent accidents. Secondly, welding with equipment in poor condition or without the necessary support tools will make the final result poor and therefore the welding will not work.

Deep cleaning after the welding process. After a welding job, it is normal for residue or slag to remain from the layer that remains on the weld bead. This dirt must be removed to avoid problems associated with corrosion later on. A few light taps on the slag and a uniform brushing are enough to remove it.

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