Welding Methods and Selection

There is no single welding process appropriate for all applications.  You should evaluate your requirements, and select the most appropriate method for the application considering the benefits of each process.







X X   X


Stainless Steel


X X   X


Nickel Alloys


X     X




X   X


Cast Iron X    
Copper, Brass X X
Titanium X
Magnesium Alloys


Skill Level


Low Low High High Low


Stick: (SMAW)

-         Better for windy out door locations

-         Better for rusted & dirty metal


-         Easy to learn

-         Fast welding speed

-         Better control on thin metals

-         Cleaner welds, no slag

-         Same equipment used for Flux Core welding

MIG-Pulsed (GMAW-P)

-         Flexible, weld nearly all metals in all positions

-         Larger diameter electrode wire

-         Virtually no spatter

-         Welds thick to thin metals

Flux Cored (FCAW)

–         Works as well as stick on dirty or rusted metal

–         Out-of-Position welding

-         Deep penetration

–         Higher metal deposition


-         Highest quality, most precise

-         Highest aesthetic weld appearance

-         Heat adjustment during welding with remote control

TIG-Pulsed (GTAW-P)

-         Better control on thin metals

-         Less heat distortion on thin metals


-         Portable

-         Easy to use


Most are unaware of what the ‘Duty Cycle’ of equipment is, or how it impacts them or the selection process.

Simply put, the duty cycle of a welder, is the length of time, or number of minutes during a 10 minute period that it can be used continuously at a given heat range, without causing damage to the components of the welder.

For example, a welder with a 250 amp maximum output rating, may have a 60% duty cycle at 200 amps.  This means it can be operated continuously for 6 minutes, then must be allowed to cool for the remaining 4 minutes in each 10 minute period.  This same welder may have a 100% duty cycle at a lower output rating, such as 150 amps.

In short, the lower the output setting, the longer you can operate the welder before allowing a cooling period.  You need to consider this when selecting your welder.  If you are a home user, with occassional use, you can likely safely get away with a less expensive ‘Light Industrial’ welder.  If on the other hand, you are operating a manufacturing facility, you will obviously need to select ‘Heavy Industrial’ equipment, of sufficient size to be capable of providing the output at the duty cycle you require.  If you need to be able to weld constantly(100%) at 200 or 250 amps, you would likely have to purchase a 450 amp maching to provide this capability.

LIGHT INDUSTRIAL – Appropriate for the home or occassional user. 

– Easy to operate.

– Affordably priced.

– Low duty cycle, usually 20% at maximum output

– Max output usually 230 amps or lower

INDUSTRIAL – Applications that do not require High-Volume production

– Typically 40% to 60% duty cycle

– Output up to 300 amps

– Good for professional welders

HEAVY INDUSTRIAL – Suitable for High-Volume production and heavy materials

-  Often 60 to 100% duty cycle

– Usually rated output of 300 amps and higher

– Design features for Professional welders meeting demanding code requirements

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
  • Category Activity

  • New Posts