Welding and agriculture: Part 2David Wagman | August 31, 2019
This article is the conclusion of Engineering360's two-part series on welding in agriculture. Read Part 1 here.
Three broad types of welding methods can be considered for agricultural use. They differ by time and cost and all three can be applied to welding and hardfacing tasks. However, keep in mind that specific products often have properties that are somewhat unique and not exactly duplicated when used by a different process.
Manual arc welding typically requires the least amount of equipment and provides maximum flexibility for welding in remote locations and in all positions. Typically, each rod permits welding for about 60 seconds. Changing from mild steel to stainless to hardfacing is relatively easily. And the electrode can be readily changed from small to large diameter to handle small or large welds. One drawback is that this type of welding takes the greatest skill to achieve satisfactory results.
This type of welding uses wire feeders and continuously fed electrodes. The welding gun is hand-held and feeds wire as long as the trigger is depressed. This technique often is easier to learn than manual welding and is popular in agricultural settings where more than minimal repair work is performed. Semiautomatic welding also increases deposition rates over manual welding because there is no need to stop after burning each rod.
Automatic welding has the highest deposition rates for maximum productivity. The welding gun is carried by a mechanized carriage and the welding operator simply pushes a start button to begin the process. This type of equipment is less often found on a farm, but is common at repair centers.
Safety in the field
As with all aspects of farming and ranching, safety is of paramount importance.
Protect yourself from fumes and gases by always welding in an open, well-ventilated room. Be certain to keep your head out of the fumes, which can be harmful.
Wear protective clothing and shield your eyes and face with a welding helmet designed for arc welding. Likewise, protect your body from weld spatter and arc flash with woolen or cotton clothing, a flameproof apron and glove, and boots. Always have a buddy nearby in case of an emergency and be certain to protect that buddy as well.
Do not touch live electrical parts and make sure that your welding machine is properly grounded. Never weld if you are wet or if your gloves have holes in them.
The same sort of skill and attention to detail that make for successful farming and ranching will also help ensure a successful and durable welding application.