Electrode Welding (Stick Welding, SMAW)
Electrode welding / Stick welding is a manual arc welding process where an electric arc ignites between the used electrode and the metal as soon as they touch. The electrode melts and creates the weld on the workpiece.
Modern electrodes are typically made of a core rod and are flux coated. While welding the electrode's flux melts and protects the weld and workpiece with a slag from environmental influences. Once the weld has cooled, the slag can be removed.
MIG/MAG Welding (GMAW)
GMAW - Gas metal arc welding (MIG – metal innert gas or MAG – metal active gas) is an arc-welding process, as the name implies. An electric arc forms between a wire electrode and the metal workpiece. The metal heats, melts and creates the weld. Almost all metals can be welded this way.
MAG / Metal active gas is used for ferrous metals, steals. Mixtures of argon, carbon, oxygen and dioxide are used while welding. MIG / Metal inert gas is used while welding of for example aluminium. Helium and argon are inert gases.
TIG Welding (GTAW)
With tungsten inert gas welding (WIG-welding) little to none spray is produced in comparison to MIG/MAG welding and it can be used for almost all materials meant for fusion welding. The welder can limit current optimally for his assignment since welding filler and electrode are separated. Only the required amount of supplementary material will be used.
Through the comparably small heat build-up in the component being welded weld delay is smaller than with other procedures.
WIG welding is mostly used for welding root passes or out of position welding especially if the task underlies strict quality requirements regarding weld seams.
With plasma welding or plasma-metal-inert-gas –welding the heat source for melting the component is made up of a plasma beam witch is heated by a light arc. This procedure allows for a contact free light arc ignition since the gas column is set between the tungsten electrode and the component and is ignited with a pilot light arc.
The utilized plasma gas is usually made up of a mixture between argon and helium or argon and hydrogen both of which protect the melt from oxidation. The plasma beam is bundled through a jet thusly leading to a higher concentration of energy as opposed to WIG-welding. Since this procedure works completely independent from current and can be used with currents of a few ampere even laminations of 0.1mm thickness can be welded (so called micro plasma welding).