4 Step Process To Selecting Industrial Gases For Shielding
Shielding gas is used to protect the weld pool against contamination by elements in the atmosphere. Atmospheric gases like oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen can react with the weld pool and cause problems such as spatter or porosity. The shielding gas also impacts weld penetration, arc stability, and can even influence the mechanical properties of the end weld.
Choosing industrial gases for shielding is therefore important, but it isn’t always easy. The most common gases used for shielding are: carbon dioxide, argon, helium, and oxygen, but mixes of gases are often used too. Some gases work better than others depending on the material being cut, the appearance of the weld, and even the type of welding being performed. MIG, TIG, and Flux welding all have different performance factors and shielding gas needs.
Use the four steps outlined below to get a general idea of your job demands, and then call Josef Gas for shielding gas recommendations. Our in-house experts will walk you through your project needs to help you choose the right gas for the job.
4 Steps To Your Perfect Shielding Gas
- Determine The Material Type. Not all gases work with all materials and some materials and gases work better together than others. Are you cutting carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel alloys, copper alloys or something else? Argon is popular for welding aluminum, magnesium and titanium because it produces a stable arc. Helium is best for non-ferrous materials.
- Determine Material Thicknesses And Condition. How thick is the material that you’ll be cutting through? Is the material clean or does it have scale or oil build-up that must be taken into account? Contaminants can affect weld quality and might also react with certain industrial gases. You’ll need to know what’s on your metal so you can choose a non-reactive gas. Carbon dioxide, for example, provides deep weld penetration but tends to spatter.
- Determine The Welding Position. Shielding gas and weld position affect the metal transfer, which impacts efficiency and weld quality. Helium creates a hot arc, which improves cut speed and productivity, but it’s expensive. Comparable productivity gains could be had by the welder position and skill.
- Review The Requirements Of The Job. To determine which gas to use, it can help to start at the end and work your way backwards. Ask yourself “What are the requirements of the finished weld?” This can help you make a decision from a cost or operational perspective since there are many more factors than just the shielding gas that go into a finished weld. Operator skill, equipment, budget restraints, post-weld clean up needs should all play a role in your industrial gas selection. Oxygen can oxidize certain metals for example, which may not be desired.
Additional Questions To Ask Yourself
Other things to think about include:
- Weld appearance. How important is appearance to the end product?
- Is spatter a concern? Sometimes spatter is acceptable, other times it isn’t.
- What is the level of penetration needed? Do you need deep penetration or shallow to minimize burn through?
- Are fumes of concern?
Count On Josef Gas For All Your Industrial Gases
Josef Gas is here to help you with all of your welding needs. We have a deep history in welding and even have staff members with formal schooling in welding, ready to answer all your technical questions. We can help you find the right shielding gas for your project, saving you time and money!
Contact our team at 416.658.1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!
5 Safety Musts When Working With Welding Gases
Welding gases are incredibly useful tools for getting the job done, but they can also be incredibly dangerous if not handled properly. Here are five safety musts to keep in mind when using welding gases.
Five Safety Musts For Welding Gases
- Protect The Cylinders. Cylinders are strong, but not indestructible. The biggest concerns are physical damage, excess heat, and tampering. Keep them away from combustible or flammable materials and always store them upright. Always lift or roll cylinders to move them; don’t drag them. If cylinders must be transported by vehicle, tie them down to limit movement and bouncing.
- Maintain Hoses And Connections. It’s not just the cylinder you need to worry about. The hoses and connections are actually more likely to fail than the cylinder itself, leading to costly and possible dangerous leaks. You should check connections before and after every use. Look for cracks, punctures, or areas where the connection is not tight or is pulling away. Make sure the valve is closed every time you move a cylinder. Use the protective caps and regulators provided and keep them in place.
- Ensure Adequate Ventilation. Keep the air flowing when welding in closed areas; you don’t want to breathe fumes or the gases caused by the arc. Use natural drafts to your advantage or if none are available, position fans or the welder in such a way that the fumes are kept from his/her face. Ventilation is of the most concern in confined areas and needs will vary depending on what is being cut and the gases being used.
- Make Sure Equipment Is Clean And Uncontaminated. It should go without saying that you want to use clean, uncontaminated equipment that is in good condition. Not only will this ensure a better, purer weld, equipment that is contaminated can be a safety hazard. Fumes and gases that are used or formed during the weld could mingle with the contaminant and create a hazard.
- Use Personal Safety Protective Gear. Many welding gases or the gases the arc produces should not be inhaled or allowed to get near the eyes. Arc rays can spatter and emit UV radiation, which can be extremely hot and burn skin on contact. Personal protective equipment like gloves and safety glasses are a must. Ear protection, long sleeves and pants, and closed-toed shoes are also recommended.
Another way to protect yourself and your employees is to always read and have available the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the welding gases you use. These sheets provide valuable information, including safe use and handling practices.
To learn more about welding gases or order a supply, contact Josef Gas at 416.658.1212.