Submerged Arc Welding Advantages and Disadvantages

May 14, 2017

​Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) includes the formation of an arc by electrodes, using the electrical charge to pass through a welding wire. There are some advantages of Submerged Arc Welding: it prevents hot materials from splashing onto workers, the flux prevents high levels of radiation from being emitted into the air, and it does not require added pressure to weld. Overall, SAW brings increased productivity, faster speeds, and greater repeatability delivering a higher quality product.


Sub­merged Arc Weld­ing, also known as SAW, is the process that involves the for­ma­tion of an arc by elec­trodes. The arc then uses its elec­tri­cal charge to pass through a weld­ing wire and the work piece for the appli­ca­tion. The dif­fer­ence between sub­merged arc weld­ing and reg­u­lar arc weld­ing is that the weld­ing wire, arc, and weld joint are cov­ered by a lay­er of flux. The flux cre­ates a path­way for the arc to trav­el through to the mate­r­i­al that is being weld­ed. The flux cre­ates a shield for the molten mate­r­i­al which pre­vents splat­ters and contamination.

Advan­tages of Sub­merged Arc Welding

One of the top advan­tages of sub­merged arc weld­ing is that it pre­vents hot mate­ri­als from splat­ter­ing and splash­ing onto work­ers. Anoth­er ben­e­fit is that the flux pre­vents high lev­els of radi­a­tion from being emit­ted into the air. Sub­merged arc weld­ing does not require added pres­sure to weld because it is already gen­er­at­ed by the elec­trode. This appli­ca­tion is excel­lent for quick­ly weld­ing togeth­er thin met­al sheets and cre­ates a secure fusion between welds. This appli­ca­tion also pro­duces high pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, fast trav­el speed, high repeata­bil­i­ty, and qual­i­ty results. 

Dis­ad­van­tages of Sub­merged Arc Welding

Like most appli­ca­tions there are some lim­i­ta­tions to sub­merged arc weld­ing. One is that mate­ri­als that can be weld­ed by SAW are lim­it­ed to steel, stain­less steel, and some nick­el. Sub­merged arc weld­ing is also lim­it­ed to mate­ri­als that are long and straight or are rotat­ed pipes. And despite hav­ing some safe­ty advan­tages there is still the risk of hav­ing the residue from the flux left behind, which could be harm­ful to employ­ee health.

Imple­ment­ing Sub­merged Arc Weld­ing Applications

When imple­ment­ing a SAW appli­ca­tion, it is impor­tant to select a robot with at least a 20kg capac­i­ty. This will allow the robot to be able to hold the wire feed and flux. Units such as the Fanuc ARC Mate 120iC and the Fanuc ARC Mate 120iB would be good choic­es for a SAW appli­ca­tion. It is also impor­tant to have a large pow­er sup­ply, one that is at least capa­ble of pulling 1000 amps of weld current.

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