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Techno-economic evaluation of reducing shielding gas consumption in GMAW whilst maintaining weld quality

Campbell, Stuart and Galloway, Alexander and McPherson, Norman (2012) Techno-economic evaluation of reducing shielding gas consumption in GMAW whilst maintaining weld quality. International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 63 (9-12). pp. 975-985.

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Abstract

A new method of supplying shielding gases in an alternating manner has been developed to enhance the efficiency of conventional gas metal arc welding (GMAW). However, the available literature on this advanced joining process is very sparse and no cost evaluation has been reported to date. In simple terms, the new method involves discretely supplying two different shielding gases to the weld pool at predetermined frequencies which creates a dynamic action within the liquid pool. In order to assess the potential benefits of this new method from a technical and cost perspective, a comparison has been drawn between the standard shielding gas composition of Ar/20%CO2, which is commonly used in UK and European shipbuilding industries for carbon steels, and a range of four different frequencies alternating between Ar/20%CO2 and helium. The beneficial effects of supplying the weld shielding gases in an alternating manner were found to provide attractive benefits for the manufacturing community. For example, the present study showed that compared with conventional GMAW, a 17 per cent reduction in total welding cost was achieved in the case of the alternating gas method and savings associated with a reduction in the extent of post-weld straightening following plate distortion were also identified. Also, the mechanical properties of the alternating case highlighted some marginal improvements in strength and Charpy impact toughness which were attributed to a more refined weld microstructure.