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Welding Myths

Advanced TIP TIG Welding
TIP TIG Welding is always better quality than TIG and 100 to 500% faster with superior quality than TIG - MIG - FCAW.




Welding In the Land
of Myth


In a distant galaxy called Trol, one of the populated planets has two moons and a sun this planet is called Myth. Mytherite people are similar to humans. Myth is respected throughout the Trol galaxy for it's manufacturing capability and expertise and Mytherites are technically more advanced than Earthlings. The men and the women of Myth who join metals and composite materials are highly respected as the Mytherite population appreciates the contributions of it's highly skilled workers to the booming manufacturing economy.

On the planet Myth, all welders are required to receive a minimum of two years of formal welding education with emphasis on weld process and consumable expertise. Myth welders must also obtain five years of practical welding experience before achieving the coveted "Welder Grade 1" position.

As you can see, the welding environment on Myth is different from that of Earth. One similarity, though, is that the welding process used for more than 60 percent of all welds on Myth is called Wire, Reactive & Inert Gas (WRIG). The WRIG process is very similar to gas metal arc welding ( MIG / MAG ) processes used on Earth.

Noting the welding similarities and wanting to examine the technology on planet Earth to see how it had advanced since their last trip in the 1960's, five Myth weld engineers boarded their antimatter-driven, twin-hull titanium welded spaceship and endured the five-year journey to reach the planet Earth. They landed in the middle of lake Ontario, March 23. 2005.

The Myth engineer's mission was to find out if Earth had any unique weld process, consumables, or joining expertise that would benefit manufacturing on Myth. After analyzing a few North American metal fabricators, the Myth welding engineers decided to disguise themselves as weld sales reps. This strange disguise allowed them easy access to most weld facilities. It was during April 2005 in a Michigan automotive manufacturing facility that I noticed an unusual high weld process intelligence from one the companies welding engineers I was having discussions with. As the level of weld process control expertise was extremely rare, I became suspicious and one night followed the engineer deep into the woods close to the lake. I observed this engineer walking across the water then entering a bright light and slowly being drawn down into the lake. About two hours later this engineer again appeared on the lake surface and came back towards the woods. This is how I met an engineer from the planet called Myth, and the reason why I eventually agreed to help the Mytherites with their weld research here on the planet Earth.

During their weld evaluation here on Earth, one of the first and most striking things the Myth enginners observed was the skill and dedication of this planet's welders. They were also surprised at the general lack of respect the welding profession receives from the general public of North America. However the Mytherites observed many welding problems on Earth that they do not face on Myth. This is their Mythical story of what they observed about our GMAW, earth-welding practices.

Costs of the Welds

One of the Mytherites' tasks was to conduct a "MIG Weld Cost Survey." After 20 exhaustive days and visiting over 100 weld shops, the Myth engineers decided to cancel the survey because they did not encounter any welding earthlings who were aware of the real costs of the welds they produced.

Mytherite welder and engineer process training teaches the weld decision makers how to achieve "maximum welding deposition rates as the lowest possible welding costs." Mytherite welders are also taught what size consumables best suit their WRIG and flux cored wire manual and robot applications.

Differences in Teaching and Training

After learning about the limited understanding of the true costs of welding, the Myth engineers decided to investigate the training of Earth welders. In the three Midwest states the Myth engineers visited, their evaluation revealed that the majority of welders and many welding decision makers lacked weld process control expertise.

The Myth engineers would watch as welders, supervisors, and engineers "played around" with the MIG weld equipment controls until they found what they thought were suitable welding parameters. Then, after the wire feed and voltage control positions were selected, the weld personnel would place a pen or scratch mark alongside the welding controls.

In Mytherite weld training, weld process courses provide weld decision makers with the ability to instantly set their wire feed and voltage controls at the optimum control settings for any WRIG welding wire in any application.

During one weld process survey, a Mytherite engineer asked 10 welders from Michigan, "what is the optimum wire feed rate to MIG weld a 6-mm fillet with 1.2-millimeter MIG wire?" After seeing frowns appear on the welders and engineers faces, the Mytherite engineer quickly concluded that she should not use the metric system for further questions and also its best not to ask wire feed questions. She changed the survey question to, "what is the best way to GMAW weld a ¼-inch fillet weld with an .045-inch GMAW wire?" To her bewilderment, the 10 weld personnel then provided 10 different answers.

One Mytherite engineer's task was to research the quality of weld engineer program located in Ohio. He found many reasons for concern:

1. The majority of the Ohio university educators appeared to know little about MIG process controls, even though MIG is used in more than seventy percent of all welds in North American manufacturing.

2. During one class the Myth engineer reviewed, one weld professor was able to discuss the complex laser and electron beam processes, two weld processes that account for a fraction of 1 percent of welds produced in North America. When a student asked the same professor the best way to set a flux cored weld for a simple vertical up
6 mm fillet weld, the professor had to look up the welding settings in a book from the consumable manufacturer.

3. At another technical college reviewed in Ontario, a college that provided a two-year weld training program, the Myth engineer found that the graduating students quickly became confused when the subject of weld parameter selection for GMAW short circuit, globular, spray, or pulsed modes of weld metal transfer was addressed.

On the planet Myth, universities and technical colleges place a great emphasis on weld process control expertise. The Myth universities actually provide an advanced educator course in which professors and welding educators are trained so they have in-depth weld process control expertise. In contrast to Earth, all Myth universities are funded by a tax, which is solely derived by the Myth government from Myth industrial companies with more than 50 employees. The strong relationship between the Myth universities and manufacturing facilities provide many unique benefits for industry.

The Myth educational facilities are also under an edict to provide their engineering expertise to any company that requests it. Also, each year, the universities must provide a minimum amount of practical, unbiased welding research about manufacturing applications recognized by the Myth Welding Industry Council as relevant to industry's daily needs.

Observatories About Earth Weld Decision Makers

Now with a better understanding of the poor training of Earth welders, the Mytherites next task was to observe the weld decision makers and managers at various weld shops and evaluate their influence on the welding operations. One Mytherite engineer noted in his weld survey, that at many of the large manufacturing facilities, the weld decisions were made by mechanical or electrical engineers who had received no formal welding process or application training during their university education. The Myth engineer was startled at one plant to find maintenance millrights making changes to robot weld data.

Mytherite engineers are not allowed to make manufacturing welding decisions unless they have taken the minimum welding courses required for all welding supervisors.

While reviewing weld supervisors' weld expertise, the engineers noted that many of the supervisors had some MIG welding skills but most knew little about weld process controls. One common problem the Myth engineers observed was the lack of weld best practices and the purchase of a wide variety of unnecessary weld equipment. Since all the major weld equipment manufactures provide compatible standard constant voltage (CV) GMAW power sources, the engineers could not understand why shops needed a variety of GMAW equipment that required unnecessary parts and spares. Also the engineers could not understand why companies were using pulsed equipment on steel welds as the equipment they surveyed all provided erratic weld performance.

When evaluating the available MIG gases, Myth engineers found that about 40 gas mixes were recommended for common carbon and stainless metals. After interviewing many weld supervisors about why they used the different gas mixes, the engineers found that the MIG gas purchase had more to do with a sales pitches from the local weld supplier than with metallurgical and weld process considerations. Many of the weld shops surveyed would store and use five or six different GMAW gas mixes for their carbon and stainless steel welds. However, the Mytherites knew that these shops required only one or two gas mixes.

The Myth engineers asked the weld supervisors and managers many weld questions:
Why are you using this size weld wire?
Why is this gas type selected?
Why this metal-cored or flux-cored wire used?
Why is this 200 or 600-amp power source purchased?
Why is this pulsed process used?
Why was this inverter power source purchased?
After reviewing the answers, the Mytherites concluded that the weld equipment process and consumable selection was rarely based on suitability to the required welds and welding applications.

The Mytherites also found other instances of seemingly illogical welding decisions. For example one engineer visited an automotive part supplier who had four plants in three different states. Each plant produced the same robot-welded parts, but each plant produced those parts in their own unique welding way. The plants used different wire diameters, different gas mixes, different weld parameters, and different weld techniques. The lack of weld best practices and process conformity confused the Myth engineers and caused great discussions.

Another Myth engineer went to Texas and visited a chemical plant where pipe welders were using stick electrodes and weld procedures that had not changed in 30 years. When the Mytherite engineer asked the earthling chemical engineer why welders were not using the gas shielded flux-cored wires, the chemical engineer admitted he knew little about welding and therefore had not permitted weld process changes.

One Myth engineer wrote in his daily log that the welding supervisors and decision makers he interviewed had to spend a lot of time scurrying from problem to problem, trying to extinguish what they called "weld shop fires." He questioned whether this was the most efficient use of a welding decision maker's resources.

Mytherite weld decision makers are expected to pass a three-year weld technician's course. Part of this training includes lessons on metal forming, effective and safe material handling, cutting process, welding and cutting automation, weld best practices, robot process controls and weld cost controls. Weld supervisors are also expected to provide application and process training for new welders so the welders quickly understand the company's unique welding applications. In evaluating the expertise of production managers often responsible for welding and application decisions, the Mytherites found that most of the managers suffered from process apathy and were not trained in the equipment and processes considered significant to producing their parts.

Manufactures on Myth are aware that if the production managers do not understand the process used in their plants, the managers are unable to make logical and cost-effective quality and production decisions based on the actual process or equipment potential.The land of Myth recognized decades ago that the most effective production managers and engineers in a plant are experienced, hands-on, rolled-up sleeve individuals who spend at least half their day on the shop floor in an offence manufacturing mode.

When evaluating the qualifications of manufacturing managers in different plants, a Mytherite engineer noted that many of the people responsible for manufacturing, production, and engineering decisions have a college degree in either art, english, electrical or mechanical engineering few had any relevant education in weld process controls.

Other Weld Surprises

The Mytherite engineers also cataloged other areas of welding concern, including:

1. Weld fume removal methods and technologies were often inadequate and inconsistent. On Myth, the plant managers do not have to address weld fume problems because Myth industrial safety standards ensure that all companies comply with rigid weld fume exhaust requirements and consumables are not allowed to have an impact on the health of the workers.

In fact, with the well-trained Mythical welding work force, few welding safety infractions occur, and annual welding incentive bonuses tied to the number of welding safety infractions seem to be effective in reducing accidents.

2. Welding spatter was abundant at all the plants visited and extensive labor costs were incurred for it's removal. Many welders used an aerosol anti-spatter spray can to spray a water-based hydrocarbon substance over the area being welded. This type of substance is banned on Myth as it negatively affects the weld quality and the Mytherites discovered that the spray composition is enlarging their atmospheric ozone hole.

On the planet Myth, welders know how to adjust weld parameters to reduce or eliminate spatter.

Quality Control Departments were needed in many of Earth's manufacturing plants.

In Myth manufacturing plants, no such departments exist because the plants use a corporate culture in which well-trained workers are held accountable for the quality of work they produce.

4. Many designers of welded parts and welding fixtures had limited expertise, in the welding process used for their robotic welding applications. This lack of expertise resulted in extensive, unnecessary robotic weld rework. It also produced numerous parts and fixtures, which were not compatible with the welding process, consumables, or parameters selected.

In contrast, Mytherite designers of metal components spend at least six months of their education in welding process familiarization.

6 It was noted that at many welding shops, minimal attention was placed on the internal weld quality. On Myth, the focus is always to ensure that the weld procedures used provide the desired weld penetration requirements.

Final Weld Observations

The Mytherites concluded that many North American manufactures provide high-quality welding operations. However, many other manufactures fostered corporate cultures and educational philosophies which created contradictions to the logical engineering approach that should be applied to the joining of metals.

Before the Mytherites returned to their planet, I was requested to join them for a group discussion on welding. We all agreed that on the planet Earth that for decades, welders and weld engineers had not been provided with appropriate weld process training. The sad reality is for decades welders have had to use their skills to compensate for their lack of weld process expertise. It was also noted that since the 1980s many weld decision makers turned to weld equipment "bells and whistles" for welding problems, instead of turning to weld process expertise.

As the Mytherites prepared to go home, they thanked me for helping them with their survey and handed me a brown envelope. Inside, I found a copy of their welding tips for Earth, along with this note which until this moment
I have kept locked in my safe:

Weld Report from the Planet Myth.

Greeting earthlings. During our engineering and weld survey of your United States and Canada, we did see welding companies that we admired from both an engineering and weld perspective, and we met many engineers who achieved, against formidable management obstacles and attitudes, remarkable welding and fabricating results. However, the majority of the manufacturing companies we evaluated have made little welding progress since our last trip here in the 1960's. As a result of this weld survey, we decided not to provide your planet with information on our advanced weld processes. We believe that before Earth engineers can use our advanced weld technology, your industrial countries in North America, Asia and Europe need to first learn to optimize the existing weld processes and consumables.

Weld process optimization comes from weld process knowledge; weld application experience, understanding of weld process controls, and the ability to differentiate marketing-induced weld facts from engineering facts. Process knowledge will reach its peak on your planet once your educational institutions recognize their weld process training inadequacies that are consistent in all educational institutes we reviewed. We, the Mytherite Weld Committee, decided to leave you with the following fundamental welding advice and tips.

What follows is the Myth recommendations, you can decide for yourself whether the advice is practical or mythical.

1. The most common MIG welds carried out by your North American, automotive industry are on carbon steels 20 gauge to 6 millimeters thick, a common thickness range of 1.2 to 4 millimeters. On some 2 to 3 mm automotive applications, we found that 0.052 (1.4 mm) MIG wires were used. Understandably, we found numerous weld burn-through holes on these parts. The transition spray current range required for the 0.052 and 0.045 and wires are frequently too high for many of the thin automotive applications, especially those in which poor fit is a problem.

If your GMAW wire manufactures evaluated the majority of robotic gauge welds, they would find a tremendous market for a GMAW wire size of 0.040. The 0.040 wire would be ideal for numerous gauge sizes in short circuit and spray applications up to 4 millimeters. Weld deposition rates could be increased on applications that now use 0.035 wire, and weld burn through potential could be reduced on applications that now use 0.045 or 0.052 wires.

2. In your automotive industry, we found that E70S-6 wire was the most common wire type used. We cannot understand why on clean cold-rolled steels, manufacturers continue to produce unnecessary slag islands on the surface of welds, which are typically painted or coated.

We were also confused about why the automotive companies weld zinc-coated metals with E70S-6 wires or self shielded flux cored wires. The high silicon E70S-6 MIG wire, which when combined with zinc can promote micro cracking. Use the lower-silicon E70S-3. The use of the self shielded flux cored wires so shocked the Myth engineers and was the primary reason the planet Myth knew earth was not ready to embrace new weld technology.

3. In evaluating weld productivity and downtime on robotic GMAW applications, we found that few welding robots were being used at their full production because of lack of weld process expertise. On average the real robot weld efficiency was found to be at 40 to 60 percent yet plants kept purchasing more robots. We strongly recommend you provide robot weld management and personnel with the weld process expertise to gain the full production potential of robotic welding.

4. In robotic weld applications, the majority of your robot operators randomly changed welding parameters, welding sequence, or welding technique. If there is no weld process control system in place in your manufacturing facilities, there will be no control of the welds produced. The Mytherites were concerned that many manufacturers leave themselves open to the legal ramifications of failed welds.

We Mytherites want to remind earthlings to always remember that with most MIG welds on parts over 4 mm that there is only borderline weld fusion. Post in every robotic cell, clear for all to see, all the relevant welding data necessary for each weld. Ensure that it informs the operators what they can change, and more importantly, what they cannot change. Also provide templates of gun angles.

5. Many robotic GMAW guns we evaluated have the contact tip flush with the end of the nozzle. This position provides no benefits for the majority of robotic welds. Place the tips 3 to 4- millimeters in the nozzle.

6. Increasing the wire stick-out reduces the chance for wire burn-back to the tip. On gauge applications, it also reduces welding current, enabling higher wire feed rates and decreasing burn-through potential. Increasing wire stick-out opens up the space at the end of the gun nozzle for improved gas coverage. Recessing the tip reduces the amount of weld heat and spatter that will adhere to the tip. This increases the tip life and minimizes the opportunity for a short circuit between the tip and nozzle. Be aware of the robot benefits attained from increasing and decreasing the MIG wire stick out.

7. On all carbon gauge applications thinner than 2 millimeters, if burn-through is a problem, use an argon mix containing 5 percent oxygen or argon with < 5 CO2. The low energy gas mixes will reduce the short-circuit welding voltage requirements and reduce weld burn-through potential.

8. On all short-circuit carbon steel applications thicker than 16 gauge, use an argon-carbon dioxide (CO2) mix containing 15 to 20 percent CO2. An ideal mix is 85 percent argon, 15 percent CO2. This mix is ideal for both short circuit and spray applications.

9. On all spray applications on parts thicker than 6 millimeters, use a mix containing 10 to 20 percent CO2. This multipurpose mix provides stable spray transfer with higher energy than lower argon-CO2 mixes or argon-oxygen mixes.

10. Note that argon with 8 to 10 percent CO2 is often recommended for high-speed welds. Instead, try 15 to20 percent CO2 mix because these mixes use higher welding voltages that will improve the arc stability.

11. When welding nickel-using GMAW, disregard the traditional recommended argon and argon-helium gas mix recommendations. Instead, for both short-circuit and spray applications, try a mix that contains 0.75 to 1.25 percent CO2, 30 to 40 percent helium, and the remainder argon. The CO2 in this mix increases are stability and increases the stable wire feed range that can be used for nickel spray applications. The small amount of CO2 will not oxidize the nickel.

12. For all stainless GMAW applications, stop using the recommended argon-oxygen mixes. Instead, try oxidizing argon mixes that contain 3 to 4 percent CO2 and the balance argon.

13. Also, with stainless short-circuit welds on metal 12 gauge and thinner, do not use the traditional high-energy 90 helium tri-mixes; use the lower-cost argon 3 to 4 percent CO2 mix. The welding voltages required with this mix will be less than those for the helium tri-mix. Also, weld burn-through potential will be decreased, and weld oxidation and part distortion potential can be decreased.

14. Many of your people seem to view electronic bells and whistles as solutions to their lack of process expertise. Your standard durable CV power sources provide excellent arc characteristics and are best suited for more than 95 percent of all GMAW welds. The Lincoln STT process shows promise as it provides unique benefits for welding a pipe root pass and also for some thin gage spatter free weld applications. For other applications its a waste of money.

15. For all welds in the flat, horizontal, and overhead positions, your pulsed GMAW process provides less weld energy than conventional spray transfer, and the controlled pulsed spray transfer range typically restricts the wire feed rate potential. Because most of your GMAW spray welds only produce marginally acceptable weld fusion, it appears illogical to promote a pulsed welding process that, in contrast to traditional spray, can reduce weld fusion potential, increases weld porosity potential, and reduces weld deposition rate potential. Pulsed welding should be considered aluminum welds < 3 mm and for welds in which optimum short circuit or spray provide weld problems.

16. Encourage your power source and consumable manufactures to develop weld equipment and wire consumables designed to provide a 3- to 5- mm fillet welds at travel rates in the 80 to 200 inches per minute (IPM) range. Also stable pulsed weld units are long over due.

17. Ask your GMAW and flux-cored wire manufactures to put recommended welding parameter labels on their boxes of consumables; they already put weld parameter data on stick electrode containers.

18. Encourage universities to hire weld educators with practical weld and process control experiences to teach your next generation of weld decision makers
19. Management and designers should be encouraged to get to know the processes that provide the profits

May the weld force be with you Ed Craig we will communicate through your web site.



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