MIG Welding Application and Benefits Well Explained

MIG Welding Application
Welding is an act of fabrication involving the use of heat and other tools to bring two materials together. The process creates a durable joint between the two or more materials. To achieve the needed results, welders use different techniques to suit the materials, project specifications, and the parts involved. These welding techniques include MIG welding, TIG welding, flux cord, and Stick welding, among others. For the purposes of this article, we may stick to MIG and TIG welding, and explore what they entail.

Types of Welding

Technology advancement has led to the development of different welding methods for different materials. The manufacturing industry is undoubtedly the ultimate beneficiary of this advancement. Before we delve into the properties and benefits of MIG, let’s look at some available welding methods.

• Arc welding: this method involves the use of electric arc-generated heat to weld metals. Types under this method includetungsten inert gas welding (TIG),metal inert gas welding (MIG), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), and Flux-cored – Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW).

• Laser beam welding: laser welding uses a high-speed laser to join metals and thermoplastics together. • Friction welding: in mechanical welding, heat is generated through mechanical friction to melt or join two metals or thermoplastics together.

What Is MIG Welding?

Metal inert gas welding (MIG), is a type of arc welding process where two base metals are joined together by a welding gun using continuous heat supplies from solid wire electrodes. The process also includes the use of shielding gas to protect the weld from air contaminants.

The History of Metal Inert Gas

MIG was patented for welding aluminum in the USA in 1949. At the time, a bare wire was used to form the arc and weld pool, while helium gas was used as a shielding gas. Other countries including the US adopted the process around 1952 to weld aluminum and carbon steels. However, in the UK, argon became the shielding gas for aluminum while carbon dioxide (CO2) was used in carbon steel. The CO2 and argon-CO2 mixtures became metal active gas (MAG) processes.MIG has since become the better alternative toManual Metal Arc (MMA). It offers high productivity and make-up.

Components of MIG Welder

The source of power for MIG is mostly DC that supplies a constant voltage. The wire feed system comes in different types including spool-on-gun, pus roll, and pinch rolls. For even welding, the wire must run smoothly. MIG welders use electrodes for welding, and the diameter and composition of the electrodes used depend on the project involved.

Another component is the welding torch, which supplies inert gas to shield the weld pool from contaminants. It also serves as the channel for the welding current to the wire. There are two basic types of torches, air-cooled and water-cooled. The air-cooled is lighter and cheaper compared to water-cool. Water-cooled guns are suitable for heavy-duty projects that require high current while the air-cool torch is meant for lighter projects. Gas shielding is another important component in the MIC welding process. Usually, Argon and Carbon Dioxide are used for shielding.

Characteristics of MIG

Metal inert gas welding involves the passage of electric current through an electrode to a connected wire for welding. The connected wire serves as a medium for the filler material through the torch to the weld pool. During the welding, the inert gas is also discharged from the gun to shield the work from atmospheric contaminants.

Many welding professionals use MIG welders due to their versatility. It is compatible with both thick and thin materials, making it ideal for most tasks. To weld two pieces of material, an arc is placed between the welding materials and the end of a wire electrode. It electrode melts both materials to form a weld pool. The wire electrode is the source of heat and also delivers the filler material.

During the process, the weld pool is shielded from atmospheric air by a shielding gas moving through the nozzle around the wire. The type of gas used in MIG welding depends on the materials involved and the method of welding. MIG uses short-circuit, it’s faster and more efficient. The technique is very common now because it’s also easier to learn.

Pros of Metal Inert Gas Welding

• When it comes to quick turnaround, MIG is one of the best as it creates weld within the shortest possible time. 
• MIG is cost-effective compared to other methods of welding. It is cheaper to weld and equipment is affordable. 
• MIG provides an accurate bond with less effort. 
• The process gives you a clean weld without much stress. 
• Create a better visibility of weld pool 
• It is Very effective and efficient with no stress for changing electrodes 
• Very easy to learn • Can be easily automated

Cons of Metal Inert Gas Welding

• MIG produces weaker welds compared to the other procedures. 
• With a weaker strength, the reliability of MIG is also less due to compromised arc stability and wire burn-back. 
• The process can be hazardous due to the level of smoke and fumes produced during welding. This can even lead to sparks. 
• MIG is somehow not environmentally friendly and difficult to use outdoor due to the level and gas involved. 
• MIG weld creates rust deposits. 
• MIG is not suitable for thin materials and can burn them during the process.

Similarities between MIG and TIG

Another popular welding technique is the tungsten inert gas (TIG). This technique is different from MIG and is used to achieve different results. However, both processes have some similarities. TIG and MIG are both arc welding method. They produce an electric arc between the electrode and the welding materials, which melts both materials to allow the filler material to combine them. The areas to be joined are heated into liquid states before the filler material is introduced to bring them together.

Both methods require clean surfaces to achieve the best results, so you need to clean the materials before welding. 

Characteristics of TIG

Despite the similarities, MIG and TIG have some sharp differences. Let’s first look at TIG.

TIG thrives on a tungsten electrode that produces the current you need to join the welding materials. TIG is a manual process and requires absolute attention and involvement of the welder. The electrode heats the materials into a liquid state, after which the welder adds the filler manually to join them.

As already mentioned TIG is a manual process and requires both hands. This is because, unlike other techniques, the filler material and torch are separate. That said, you can still do TIG welding without filler material. In addition, TIG welders come with a foot pedal to control the current that moves to the torch. Another characteristic of TIG is that the process doesn’t produce spatter, hence, produces a cleaner weld pool.

Differences Between TIG and MIG

The common differences between TIG and MIG are:

The Technique Involved

TIG requires the use of two hands; one for the torch and the other for the filler material. However, the MIG, the filler material comes through the gun.
Level of Difficulty
Since TIG requires the use of both hands, it makes it a little difficult to learn. Users are bound to make mistakes. On the other hand, the MIG is easier to learn and practice because it is semi-automatic. The continuous feeding of filler through a wire makes the technique less difficult.

Material Thickness
If thick materials are involved, then MIG is the faster and better option. TIG works best on thin materials.

Types of Metals
You can apply MIG on a wide-range of metals being aluminum, mild steel, and stainless steel, magnesium, silicon bronze, copper, and nickel, among others. TIG also works on various metals but does best on thinner ones.

Work Speed
MIG is better when it comes to speed and precision. Being semi-automatic, it has a higher work rate and is ideal for demanding projects. TIG on the other hand produces detailed work but is slower, compared to MIG.

MIG welding is cheaper than TIG.