Flux Cored Arc Welding: An Overview

Flux Cored Arc Welding

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Flux-cored arc welding, or FCAW, is a common welding technique that has existed since the 1950s. Arc welding uses an electric arc to generate heat that melts and ultimately binds metal. Since flux-cored welding is taught in welding training programs, here is a brief overview of this welding method.

What is fluxed cored welding?

Flux-cored arc welding is a semi-automatic or automatic arc welding process. This arc welding technique creates an electronic arc through a continuously fed consumable tubular electrode containing a flux (flow) and a constant voltage welding power supply. It is similar to MIG welding, only that the electrode is shielded from air by the flux core. 1 There are two types of flux-cored arc welding, with and without shielding gas.

FCAW Welding Fun Fact

Flux cored welding advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of flux-cored arc welding include:

FCAW advantages

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  • Has high efficiency and productivity
  • Can be used with many types of metal with different thickness range
  • Requires less pre-cleaning than MIG
  • Arc is easy to see and use
  • No need for gas apparatus
  • Can be used outdoors
  • Doesn’t require high skill level

However, this welding technique also has some downsides:

  • Limited to ferrous metals and nickel-based alloys
  • Produces slag that must be removed
  • Equipment is more expensive
  • Produces more fume than MIG welding 2

Flux cored welding applications and industries

FCAW common uses

Because of its many advantages, flux-cored arc welding is used in industries that require a high number of welds or involves outdoor welding. It is also used in areas where gas cylinder and gas shielding cannot be readily used, and a useful method for welding material that has some scale, rust, or other contaminants. Flux-cored arc welding is commonly used in the following jobs:

  • Ship building
  • Construction
  • Shop fabrication
  • Maintenance

Flux-cored arc welding has been an efficient and reliable welding method for decades. As a professional welder, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of each welding method. This knowledge can help determine which techniques to choose for what application.

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