INNOLAS: Cost reduction by using innovative welding processes

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The Belgian Welding Institute has performed a collective research project about the innovative variants of the commonly used welding processes GTAW and MIG/MAG welding.

The project aimed to determine to what extent these variants may contribute to a reduction of the production costs (welding costs) by increasing the productivity and the efficiency of the process.
By means of this project, the participating companies received a better understanding of the capabilities of these modified welding processes, in order to facilitate the introduction of these new welding processes in the Belgian industry.

Project goals

In the last decades, most of the welding activities has being executed using the conventional GTAW and GMAW welding processes. During the last years, a great number of innovative process variants have appeared on the market. These offer a broad range of new production possibilities. For instance, in some cases (e.g. welding of thin sheets), the conventional GTAW welding can be replaced by a new version of the GMAW process, resulting in a much higher productivity, without weld quality loss. In welding high strength steels, it is possible to control the heat input more effectively, resulting in higher joint quality. Moreover, an appreciable productivity increase is expected when welding materials of higher thicknesses.

These new processes will lower the welding costs and increase productivity, and will speed up product development. These benefits will contribute to the development of products with higher added value or a lower production cost, and thus will reinforcing the competitiveness of the companies.

Project description

Several promising new process variants of the GMAW welding process have recently appeared on the market, better known by their acronyms: T.I.M.E., Rapid Melt, Cold Metal Transfer, ColdArc, Surface Tension Transfer (STT), ForceArc, etc ... Also in the field of GTAW, recently several interesting developments are noticed, for instance the TOPTIG- and A-TIG- welding processes. Moreover, in terms of power sources there are interesting evolutions noticeable. The new electronically regulated power sources yield a more reproducible weld quality and an improved weld appearance. More information about these new variants can be found at our website

The efficiency increase by using these new welding processes was demonstrated by means of weld trials with actual products of the participating companies. The weld trials was evaluated according to the applicable standards. By means of an economical analysis, the reduction of welding costs will be calculated.

In a short period of time, the participating companies received insight in the capabilities of the new variants of the conventional welding processes. They were able to judge whether these welding processes are applicable in their own production, taking into account the expected weld properties in comparison with the currently used technique, the process reliability and stability, etc …

Welding processes

The following processes were investigated in the project :

Variants of the GMAW welding process :

  • T.I.M.E.- and Rapid-Melt,
  • ForceArc,
  • STT,
  • Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) and ColdArc,
  • GMAW with a double pulse,
  • ...

Variants of the TIG welding process :

  • A-TIG,
  • ...


Figure : Comparison between conventional GMAW and Force Arc

Figure : Metal transfer in STT


Figure : CMT welding process

Figure : Butt joint realised with CMT (AlMg3)

Figure : Comparison of TIG and A-TIG

Figure : TOPTIG welding process


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