GMAW vs. FCAW – The advantages and disadvantages
GMAW and FCAW welding processes each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, as they are distinct methods that offer unique benefits.
Two of the most common kinds of arc welding used in industrial processes are gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and flux cored arc welding (FCAW).
GMAW or MIG Welding
What is GMAW?
Gas metal arc welding, better known as GMAW or MIG welding, uses a continuously fed solid wire electrode that is used for filler metal that welds together two pieces of metal. An externally supplied gas is used to keep outside contaminants away during and after the welding before the weld has set. Molten metal is reactive to oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen, according to the Lincoln Electric website. The shielding gas protects against discontinuity, which could weaken the weld.
Advantages of GMAW:
High-quality welds with good appearance and low spatter
Better control over the welding process with less clean up required
Higher welding speeds and efficiency
Good for welding thin materials
Easiest type of welding to learn
Process is more forgiving for the robot
GMAW applications are more forgiving
Disadvantages of GMAW:
Requires a shielding gas, adding to the cost
Limited to welding ferrous materials
More complex equipment setup
What is FCAW?
Flux cored arc welding, also known as FCAW, uses a wire that is not solid, but instead has a core that contains the shielding gases needed to protect the weld from contaminants. As the wire burns, the flux agents and shield gases are produced, and help produce a strong weld, the LE website stated.
Advantages of FCAW:
Good for welding thicker materials
High deposition rates and deep penetration
Can be used for welding ferrous and non-ferrous materials
Can be used in outdoor and windy conditions
Disadvantages of FCAW:
High spatter and slag, requiring more clean up
Slower travel speeds compared to GMAW
Limited control over the welding process
More expensive consumables compared to GMAW
Every day, manufacturers make important decisions regarding welding processes like GMAW vs FCAW. Companies such as Robots.com are dedicated to helping manufacturers make informed decisions for their facilities. Robots.com, a certified integrator for Fanuc, Motoman, ABB, and KUKA robotics companies, has several robot models available for FCAW and GMAW applications.
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