Welding is a process that involves connecting two pieces of metal together. It uses extreme heat – and occasionally additionally metals or gases – to solder two separate pieces together to become one. There are multiple different welding methods such as spot welding, shielded metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding.
These are only a few popular types of welding techniques that are used today. Welding can be used in conjunction with sheet metal machinery to alter sheet metal into a desired shape or variation. Our sheet metal machinery experts have put together a list of facts about welding that you might not know.
1. It’s a 4000-year-old process
Circular boxes have been discovered that date back to the bronze age – approximately 2000 BC – that were created by hammering two pieces of metal together to form the single component. An early incarnation of what we call welding today.
2. Robots have a history of welding
In 1961, the Unimate was installed at a General Motors factory. The Unimate was the world’s first industrial robot and its job was spot welding on an assembly line. The robot itself was basically just a giant arm that weighed around two tonnes and followed commands that were stored on a large magnetic drum.
3. Welding can be done underwater
Whilst this is considered to be a very dangerous occupation, welding can actually be done underwater. There are a couple of ways this can be done. In an ideal situation, a dry chamber is used – in which a temporary hyperbaric chamber is set up to prevent water from entering the workspace. Oxygen is constantly monitored and replaced by another crew to keep the working conditions safe and minimise the effects of the welder being affected by the pressure.
The other option is the more dangerous of the two and is known as wet welding. Wet welding uses an electric arc as its source of energy. A thick layer of bubbles is created whilst welding due to the flux on the outside of the rod evaporating. This shields the weld from oxidising compounds and the water.
This is considered to be a temporary or last resort technique as there is often very little visibility whilst performing wet welding. In addition to this, a hazard known as Delta P– otherwise known as differential pressure – can be a fatal hazard to wet welding divers. There is really no way of detecting Delta P’s until it is too late, making them all the more dangerous. When two bodies of water intersect – each of them holding a different level of pressure – it can potentially drown anyone who is caught in between.
4. Metals in space automatically weld upon contact
Believe it or not, it’s true. It’s a process known as cold welding. Anytime two pieces of metal in space come into contact with each other, they instantly weld themselves together creating one piece. This will only apply to metals without any coating on them – so either bare or highly polished metals. This is a phenomenon that cannot happen on Earth however because our atmosphere creates a layer of oxidisation between two metals. It is this lack of oxidisation layer that causes cold welding to occur in space.
5. Welding advanced during the second world war
Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) was an idea to weld in a non-oxidising gas atmosphere. It was patented in 1890 by C.L. Coffin. This concept was refined by H.M. Hobart and P.K. Devers in the 1920s who used helium and argon, respectively, for shielding. But it wasn’t until 1941 when it was patented by Meredith, that it was perfected. GTAW is now a popular – yet complex – welding technique that uses a tungsten electrode to produce the weld.
The SS Robert E Peary was a ship built in 1942 that only took 4 days, 15 hours and 27 minutes to complete. This was the record for the fastest built ship in the world, and the record still stands today. The ship operated in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans before it was scrapped in 1963.
6. NASCAR cars need a lot of welding
If you added up all the time welding is used on a NASCAR car before it hits a track it would amount to over 950 hours. Every part of a NASCAR car from the suspension through to the drive train is welded together to meet the NASCAR standards required.
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Here at ACRA we supply all sorts of machine services as well as industrial equipment from used welders to sheet metal machinery. With experienced and passionate staff, we’re ready to help you with any welding or sheet metal machinery questions you may have.
If you have any further questions regarding our equipment or maintenance requirements, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 03 9794 6675 or send us a message here.