A common joining method for sheet metal fabrication is welding. A skillfully welded seam results in a robust and durable product. Choosing the correct welding method is a critical decision your fabricator makes to ensure they meet your product specifications. Two common types of arc welding techniques are MIG welding and TIG welding. While they can achieve comparable results, each has unique attributes that make them suitable for specific uses.
Metal inert gas (MIG) welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), has an older origin than TIG. Said to have been invented in the 19th-century alongside the discovery of the electric arc, it wasn’t patented in the US until 1948. MIG welding allowed manufacturers to produce the high quantities of ships, automobiles, and buildings needed after WWII.
In MIG welding, a solid wire electrode is fed at a predetermined speed through a welding gun. The gun’s tip is electrically charged, and as the electrode is fed through, an arc is created between the electrode and the metal, generating heat. This melts the electrode, forming a weld pool that joins the two pieces. Shielding gas, typically CO2, fed by the welding gun protects the weld pool from environmental containments. Without the shielding gas, contaminants could cause defects in the weld.
One common issue with MIG welding is spatter, making it is better suited to projects without aesthetic requirements. MIG welding is faster than TIG and is designed to run continuously for long periods making it appropriate for high-production applications and automated or robotic processes, which increases repeatability and throughput. Also, because the feed wire is an electrode and a filler, it can weld thicker metals without heating them through and can weld two different metals. The filler also allows for welding parts that may not fit together precisely. MIG welding can be used for aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel applications.
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), was developed by Russell Meredith of the Northrup Aircraft corporation to join light alloys used in airframe manufacturing in the 1940s. The methods available then were inadequate for welding aluminum and magnesium alloys.
TIG welding is similar to MIG in that an arc is generated, but in the case of TIG, it is from a non-consumable tungsten electrode within the torch (gun). Current running through the electrode heats and melts the metals being joined. Sometimes a filler rod is used to build up and reinforce the weld bead when thicker metals are being welded. A shielding gas, usually 100% argon, safeguards the weld pool.
With TIG welding, the heat and filler material, when used, are independently controlled. This provides a higher level of accuracy and precision, making it advantageous for critical applications. TIG weld is commonly used for aluminum and nonferrous metals.
Welding Delivered with Innovation and Expertise
At Tusco, our engineers and highly skilled welders will determine the welding processes used for your project. For many ferrous metal applications requiring MIG welding, we use robotic welders that allow us to work with efficiency and precision. Our skilled and experienced welders are reserved for work that showcases their skill and proficiency, such as with TIG welding.
Whether your project requires joining aluminum, stainless steel, or mild steel, we approach each welding project determined to provide you with the most cost-effective solution that meets your quality expectations and specifications. Our commitment encompasses more than welding.
We relish a challenge. Economical ingenuity allows us to deliver a high-quality product on time with a lower total cost of ownership. As a one-stop shop, we can take your project from design through shipping, resulting in lower total costs and fewer vendors to manage.