What are the major welding application

Welding which is the process of joining two metallic components for the desired purpose, can be defined as the process of joining two similar or dissimilar metallic components with the application of heat, with or without the application of pressure and with or without the use of filler metal. Heat may be obtained by chemical reaction, electric arc, electrical resistance, frictional heat, sound and light energy. If no filter metal is used during welding then it is termed as ‘Autogenous Welding Process’. During ‘Bronze Age’ parts were joined by forge welding to produce tools, weapons and ornaments etc, however, present day welding processes have been developed within a period of about a century.

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Welding Applications

Pressure Vessels:
One of the first major uses of welding was in the fabrication of pressure vessels. Welding made considerable increases in the operating temperatures and pressures possible as compared to riveted pressure vessels.

Bridges:
Early use of welding in bridge construction took place in Australia . This was due to problems in transporting complete riveted spans or heavy riveting machines necessary for fabrication on site to remote areas. The first all welded bridge was erected in UK in 1934. Since then all welded bridges are erected very commonly and successfully.

Ship Building :
Ships were produced earlier by riveting. Over ten million rivets were used in ‘Queen Mary’ ship which required skills and massive organization for riveting but welding would have allowed the semiskilled/ unskilled labor and the principle of pre-fabrication. Welding found its place in ship building around 1920 and presently all welded ships are widely used. Similarly submarines are also produced by welding.

Building Structures:
Arc welding is used for construction of steel building leading to considerable savings in steel and money. In addition to building, huge structures such as steel towers etc also require welding for fabrication.

Aircraft and Spacecraft:
Similar to ships, aircrafts were produced by riveting in early days but with the introduction of jet engines welding is widely used for aircraft structure and for joining of skin sheet to body. Space vehicles which have to encounter frictional heat as well as low temperatures require outer skin and other parts of special materials. These materials are welded with full success achieving safety and reliability.

Railways:
Railways use welding extensively for fabrication of coaches and wagons, wheel tyres laying of new railway tracks by mobile flash butt welding machines and repair of cracked/damaged tracks by thermit welding.

Automobiles:
Production of automobile components like chassis, body and its structure, fuel tanks and joining of door hinges require welding.

Electrical Industry:
Starting from generation to distribution and utilization of electrical energy, welding plays important role. Components of both hydro and steam power generation system, such as penstocks, water control gates, condensers, electrical transmission towers and distribution system equipment are fabricated by welding. Turbine blades and cooling fins are also joined by welding.

Electronic Industry:
Electronic industry uses welding to limited extent such as for joining leads of special transistors but other joining processes such as brazing and soldering are widely being used. Soldering is used for joining electronic components to printed circuit boards. Robotic soldering is very common for joining of parts to printed circuit boards of computers, television, communication equipment and other control equipment etc.

Nuclear Installations:
Spheres for nuclear reactor, pipe line bends joining two pipes carrying heavy water and other components require welding for safe and reliable operations.

Defence Industry:
Defence industry requires welding for joining of many components of war equipment. Tank bodies fabrication, joining of turret mounting to main body of tanks are typical examples of applications of welding.

Micro-Joining:
It employs the processes such as micro-plasma, ultrasonic, laser and electron beam welding, for joining of thin wire to wire, foil to foil and foil to wire, such as producing junctions of thermocouples, strain gauges to wire leads etc.

General Applications:
Welding is vastly being used for construction of transport tankers for transporting oil, water, milk and fabrication of welded tubes and pipes, chains, LPG cylinders and other items. Steel furniture, gates, doors and door frames, body and other parts of white goods items such as refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens and many other items of general applications are fabricated by welding. Apart from above applications welding are also used for joining of pipes, during laying of crude oil and gas pipelines, construction of tankers for their storage and transportation. Offshore structures, dockyards, loading and unloading cranes are also produced by welding.

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