Flux-cored arc welding

Flux core arc welding was introduced in the 1950’s. Technically the introduction of this process was not new. It was just a new type of an electrode that can be used on a MIG welding machine. Flux cored arc welding is a process similar to MIG welding. Both processes using continues wire feeds, and similar equipment. The power supply for a FCAW, and a MIG welder, are the same machine. They are both considered semi automatic processes, and have a very high production rate.

The main difference between flux cored arc welding and MIG welding is the way the electrode is shielded from the air. Flux cored arc welding just like the name implies, has a hollow wire with flux in the center, similar to the candy called “pixy sticks”. Just as the name states, a “Flux Core”. The main difference between MIG welding and flux core arc welding is, FCAW gets its shielding from the flux core, and this allows the operator to weld outdoors where it is windy. It’s like a SMAW welding electrode turned inside out! MIG welding gets its shielding from a bottle of gas which has serious drawbacks, when welding outdoors, or in drafty conditions.

Process features of flux-cored arc welding

flux-core-arc-welding

Advantages of process features of flux-cored arc welding:

Because it combines the productivity of continuous welding with the benefits of having a flux present, the FCAW process has several advantages relative to other welding processes. These advantages include:

  • high deposition rates, especially for out-of-position welding
  • less operator skill required than for gas-metal arc welding (GMAW)
  • simpler and more adaptable than submerged arc welding (saw)
  • deeper penetration than shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)
  • more tolerant of rust and mill scale than GMAW

Disadvantages of process features of flux-cored arc welding:

Disadvantages of the FCAW process include:

  • slag must be removed from the weld and disposed of
  • more smoke and fume are produced in FCAW than in the GMAW and saw processes
  • fume extraction is generally required
  • equipment is more complex and much less portable than SMAW