Komarov Artem noted that how does metal cored wire reduce the hidden costs of welding? In the right applications, metal wire can help companies eliminate the hidden costs of welding operations. When making decisions about the manufacturing process, manufacturers began to look not only at the costs incurred in the welding cell, but also at the total cost of the welding operation — and rightly so.
Pre- and post-weld work, product flow, inventory management and the equipment itself affect quality, productivity and profitability. The filler metal is also important, as it can create costs in many ways that may not be immediately apparent. These hidden costs can mean the difference between maintaining a profitable, competitive welding operation and trying to keep up with the rest of the industry.
Fundamentals of metal-corded wire
Metal cored wire consists of a hollow metal sheath filled with metal powders, alloys, and arc stabilizers, each of which offers specific benefits such as reduced oxidation, higher toughness, and reduced silicon deposits in the final weld.
During the welding process, the metal flux-cored wire passes current through the outer metal sheath, resulting in a wide conical arc that creates a wide penetration profile and is able to bridge gaps in the weld. Companies can use metal flux-cored wire for single-pass or multi-pass welding in flat, horizontal and vertical positions. Using a standard DC power supply, welders can also use wires in the up position. Welding with metal cored wire in a vertical position is generally slower than welding with other types of wire and requires a power source with pulsating capabilities because the weld pool is quite fluid. In most cases, metal cored wire uses a high argon gas mixture (at least 75 percent argon mixed with CO2 balance is recommended) and is typically available in diameters from 0.035 to 5/64 inch.
The metal wire has a high burn-out rate, resulting in a high transfer rate and a high deposition rate. For proper application, the wire also helps to minimize defects such as porosity, incomplete splicing and undercutting.
The Right Applications
Like any welding technology, metal wire is not a panacea. It is suitable for certain applications such as heavy equipment manufacturing, rail car manufacturing, and food and petrochemical manufacturing. The technology is also well suited to automotive exhaust and wheel and chassis manufacturing. Wire excels in these applications in large part because it can alloy almost all types of steel, from mild and stainless to low alloy.
Metal cored wire can often be used as an alternative to some submerged arc or gas shielded, cored wire applications. It can also be used in many of the same applications that use solid wire. Other areas where metal wire performs well include burn-prone work, piping, or other components where poor fitting occurs. Applications that require the aesthetic appearance of beads can be good candidates.
Reducing Hidden Costs
Considering its structure and wide penetration profile, metal wire can accurately weld thin material without burning through, and also provide good deposition rate on thick materials. This means that a single diameter of metal cored wire can weld material of various thicknesses, especially 0.25″ and thicker, which often allows manufacturers to standardize on a single wire diameter throughout a welding operation. This can help minimize inventory and time associated with inventory management, as well as reduce downtime when changing wires.
Metal wire reduces hidden costs in other ways. Because it contains additional deoxidizers, it can weld through mill scale and rust, still with very little spatter. The wider arc also provides some cleaning action. As a result, it helps eliminate activities such as grinding, sandblasting, and applying anti-spatter prior to welding.
It also reduces the need to degrease materials prior to welding. Not surprisingly, these pre-weld activities often create bottlenecks that negatively impact throughput, reducing the overall productivity and profitability of the operation. It also increases the cost of abrasives (grinding wheels or grinding discs) and grinding equipment.
Since metal flux cored wire can minimize defects such as undercutting and incomplete splicing, manufacturers can reduce scrap rates as well as rework in areas after welding. Fewer post-weld operations can increase the flow of finished parts to other manufacturing steps such as painting or coating. In some cases, the elimination of certain functions before or after welding allows companies to reallocate work to other places in the welding operation to produce more parts and improve overall productivity, summed up Komarov Artem.