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Advantages and Limitations of Submerged Arc Welding

The names for welding techniques are pretty straightforward…stick welding uses a stick electrode, flux core welding requires a flux core, etc. From a practical naming standpoint Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) is no different. In Submerged Arc Welding, the arc zone is fully submerged beneath a heavy layer of flux material. The process protects the weld from any chance of atmospheric contaminants and eliminates the need for shielding gases.

The Choice For High Quality Welds

Some welding projects require very high quality welds. If that’s the case Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) is what you need. This welding process is commonly used on steel and steel and nickel alloys as well as surfacing applications. It is the preferred welding method for joining plate metal because it creates such strong welds.

The strength of the welds is due to the process itself. SAW uses a continuously fed wire electrode and the weld metal to create the weld pool. Flux is poured directly into the weld pool where it becomes molten and conductive and acts as its own shield protecting the weld site from contamination and the operator from spatter, sparks, UV rays, and fumes. Excess flux gets recycled back into the hopper where it can be reused.

SAW is usually a fully automatic process, but it can also be semi-automatic. Since operators can’t see the weld and make adjustments, they must rely on machinery and parameter settings to manage bead shape, depth of penetration, and chemical composition of the weld metal.

Advantages And Limitations Of Submerged Arc Welding

SAW has both advantages and limitations. It is not suitable for every welding application, but can be extremely effective in certain situations.


  • Extremely high deposition rates
  • Low skill required
  • Easily automated
  • High quality, sound, uniform welds
  • Deep weld penetration
  • High speed welds when thin metal sheets are used
  • Little to no fumes, arc light, spatter, or sparks are emitted
  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor applications
  • Single pass welds are possible
  • Little to no edge preparation is required
  • Flux is recoverable, recycled and reused


  • Not very portable
  • Process may be limited to flat or horizontal-fillet welding positions
  • Limited to steel/stainless steel, and some nickel-based alloys
  • Best for long straight seams or rotated pipes or vessels
  • Requires flux handling systems
  • Requires post weld slag removal
  • Best for thicker materials

Visit Josef Gas For Submerged Arc Welding Supplies

Josef Gas carries a full line of welding supplies and materials. Visit us online or in person at 201 Basaltic Road in Concord, Ontario for all of your Submerged Arc Welding needs! Shop for machinery, electrodes, and more!


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