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Arc welding is one of several fusion processes that are used for joining metals. An electric arc is created through the use of an electrode, either consumable or non-consumable, combined with the base material that you are welding and using either direct (DC) current or alternating (AC) current. By applying intense heat, metal at the joint between two parts is melted and caused to intermix - directly, or more commonly, with an intermediate molten filler metal. Upon cooling and solidification, a metallurgical bond is created. Since the joining is an intermixture of metals, the final weldment potentially has the same strength properties as the metal of the parts. The arc is formed between the actual work and an electrode that is manually or mechanically guided along the joint.
MMA welding, or Manual Metal Arc welding, is one of the most widely used arc welding processes due to its versatile nature. The process involves striking an arc between a coated metal electrode, and the workpiece, in this method both the electrode, or rod, and the workpiece melt to create a strong weld.
As the metal is heated and melted, the coating on the electrode will simultaneously melt, creating slag, or releasing a gas, both of which protect the weld pool from contamination coming from the surrounding atmosphere. Once the slag has cooled, it must be chipped off the weld bead as it solidifies once the weld run is complete.
MMA welding is typically used for shorter lengths of weld, or for repair work, as the consumable electrode will need to be replaced once it is used up. However, as it does not rely on a shielding gas to be pumped around the weld. This form of ARC Welding is ideal for outdoor applications where exterior factors, such as wind, could have an adverse effect on the gas shield which could lead to contamination.
Highly valued for its flexibility, MMA welding is one of the most commonly used welding processes. DIYers, tradesmen, security metalwork specialists, metal fabricators as well as pipe-laying work sites cite MMA welding as their preferential welding choice, ahead of both TIG welding and MIG welding.
The higher welding speeds allow for increased productivity, while a reduced heat input ensures that distortion is reduced in the work metal. You are also able to obtain cleaner welds through better wetting and penetration, gained through your choice of coating on your consumable electrode, which results in longer-lasting welds and less rework needed in the future.
This all results in you being able to save on costs, save on time and be more productive when working.
Our MMA Welding Machines
Why not look at our ESAB Rogue machines, one of the newest machines on the market, and a durable and robust MMA welding machine for the professional welder. Through its use of Digital Control and the latest high-performance power electronics, the Rogue provides state-of-the-art welding performance and reliability.
The next level technology ensures that you achieve professional and precise control, giving you a consistently smooth arc with stable performance and low spatter levels across all weld positions and with all types of MMA electrodes. An adjustable hot start ensures that start-up is quick and efficient, even when working with tricky electrodes, and the adjustable arc forces allows you to greatly increase penetration when needed and also prevent the electrodes from sticking.
The Rogue range will force you to rethink what you come to expect from a portable MMA welding machine. With unconventional features, unprecedented performance, and at a price point you will not believe, the Rogue ushers in a new era of welding.
Are you ready to go Rogue?
Or have a look at one of our best-selling Machines from the Bester Range. With a range of machines, there is something for everyone, whether you need your MMA welder to be lightweight and portable, or support MIG & TIG welding as well, the Bester range has got you covered.
Types of Welding Electrodes
MMA welding machines use various types of electrodes in order to achieve specific results. The type of electrode, or welding rod, that is used varies depending on the base metal you are welding, as your welding rod should have similar properties to the metal you are working with. In addition to this, some of these welding consumables are coated in order to provide certain additional benefits.
In order to be able to strike an arc between the electrode and the base metal, the welder must consider which type of electrodes to use. The welding machine must be fitted with a suitable type of electrode in order to produce a good quality weld, as the interaction between the workpiece metal and the electrode will affect the arc.
Factors such as arc stability, the rate of metal deposition, positional capacity, and the depth of penetration are all influenced by the chemical composition of the flux coating on the electrode. Electrodes can be divided into three main groups.
As they contain a high proportion of cellulose throughout the coating, the arc created with these electrodes is deeply penetrating and produces a rapid rate of burn-off, allowing the user to weld at high speeds.
With a high proportion of titanium oxide, or rutile, in the coating, rutile electrodes are well known for their easy ignition, smooth arc operation, and low spatter, making them great general-purpose electrodes that possess good, versatile welding properties.
If you require good mechanical properties, cracking resistance, and a higher weld quality when working with medium and heavy section fabrications, then basic electrodes are an excellent choice.
Stainless steel SMAW electrodes have properties that are essential for welding fabrication and repair work where much of the work is field-based and requires high-quality results. The reason high-quality results can be easily achieved with stainless steel electrodes is due to the varying coating formulations that can be used to optimise results in a specific area.
If you are unsure of which type of electrode is best suited for the work you are doing, speak to a member of our team on our contact form.
Technical advice and on-site demonstrations are available from your local sales centre or sales representative.
See here for a list of Arc welding FAQ's