Becoming a welder as a career leads to many exciting and fulfilling possibilities. Whether you are just beginning or welding is something you have been passionate about for some time, there are plenty of different opportunities to help keep it interesting. Advanced welding is present everywhere in our modern world from apartment buildings to giant skyscrapers in the city. Skilled and dedicated workers will always be a construction company’s most valuable resource. Becoming a welder who can perform advanced welding techniques is always a good idea. You can study at an accredited institution or learn with an on-the-job apprenticeship. The possibilities are limited only by your ambition.
After becoming a welder in the industry by learning the basics, its time to take the next step to advanced welding. You learn SMAW, GMAW, and FCAW. After these have been perfected, the next step is Gas tungsten arc welding (TiG). This uses inert gas and allows for the easy transfer of filler material and bonding of many types of materials, mostly used for nuclear work, and stainless steel applications. Using a gas or oxy-gas torch, welders can also create bonds between glass and plastics. Glass can be attached to metal, but it is more of an adhesion then a mixing of materials.
At the heart of any structure that uses glass is the work of a glazier. This includes skyscrapers, which are usually hundreds of feet off of the ground and in windy conditions. Glaziers carefully move horizontally across the building installing thick windowpanes. They use a variety of techniques with special heating, sealing with a chemical coating and insulating with gas. Different kinds of plastics (thermosets or thermoplastics) react to heat in several ways; the plastic degrades, melts, or burns. The most common method for welding these non-metal materials together involves an oven or other electric based heating tools. Thermoplastics are welded by using a chemical solvent as well; after the base material has softened it can be mixed together and then allowed to cool. The solvent then evaporates from the surface of the plastic, causing the weld to solidify. Advanced metal welding uses different processes depending on the atmospheric conditions.
Hyperbaric welding is the melting and joining of metal in a high-pressure dry or wet environment. The higher pressure affects the efficiency of the welding process by changing the temperature and arc behavior. These welders have a mechanical orientation and love the challenges of underwater construction. These divers salvage vessels, inspect leaks and drill into ocean floors. With water present, the electrode used must burn at a higher temperature to have the same effect, and the gas used to protect the weld from contamination is not as capable. The advantage of underwater welding resources are of an economic nature, it means that the ship or structure does not have to come out of the ocean, this saves on time and costs to dry dock. This process is also used for emergency repair; it allows the damaged structure to be transported to a dry docking environment for a more permanent solution.
The most common process of dry hyperbaric welding is gas tungsten arc welding. Wet hyperbaric welding exposes the diver and the electrode to the water, and the biggest hazard of underwater welding is the risk of electric shock to the welder. The usual process to use is shielded metal arc welding with a special waterproof electrode with equipment that is similar to dry welding, but the electrode holders are designed for water-cooling and are heavily insulated.
Other Types of Underwater Welding
Other advanced types of welding include flux-cored arc welding and friction welding; the electric arc heats the work piece and the welding rod, and then transfers the molten metal through the gas bubble around the arc. There is some contamination from steam, and slag formation on the weld surface helps to slow the rate of cooling, this is one of the biggest problems in producing a quality weld. To create good safety standards, the welding equipment must be properly insulated and the welding current must be controlled. Most underwater welding repairs are carried out in shallow depths, because of risks of decompression sickness and long-term cognitive and musculoskeletal effects. Hazmat welders work in hazardous and emergency situations. The risk is high; they help with repairs, maintenance and cleaning. Different job environments involve chemical vats, or oil spills offshore. Usually these welders have to wear a full body suit that is pressurized and completely sealed to prevent leakage or puncture.
Alternative Welding Careers
If becoming a welder who works directly in the field is not something you are interested in, consider a teaching or office-oriented job. Most construction companies or industrial giants need welding instructors who can run an internal weld program. This allows them to streamline their welding certification process as well as having a measure of quality control. In addition to instructors, they always need more welding inspectors. Inspectors are experienced welders who verify the presence and efficiency of each weld that is placed on a job site. Becoming a welding evaluator requires more responsibility, but offers a safer alternative to the cramped and dangerous working conditions that many welders face.
Welding engineers have different skills than the day-to-day metal sculptors. Learning to read blueprints, draw isometric sketches, design more complicated pipe angles, and solve various math problems with fractions and decimals is what sets these types of advanced welding apart. The training to become a welding engineer or a second level journeyman welder is 40 weeks to four years long. Many of these other opportunities come with career options, benefits and retirement options. Finding the right welding career for you is just a matter of choose where you want to work and the type of welding you want to do!