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Purslow et al Feature November 2009:Layout 1 10/6/09 2:03 PM Page 34

Using Tandem Gas Metal

Arc Welding to Create
Heavy Weldments
For welding thick sections, this process provides increases in deposition
rate and travel speed, plus a decrease in calculated heat input


Fig. 1 — A 2-in.-thick weld made by T- Fig. 2 — A 1-in.-deep groove weld created Fig. 3 — A 1-in.-thick weld accomplished
GMAW in the horizontal (2G) position. using T-GMAW in the vertical (3G) position with T-GMAW in the overhead (4G)
with upward progression. position.

Although tandem gas metal arc weld- Defining the T-GMAW ing positions as repositioning for welding
ing (T-GMAW) has been around for many can be impractical or prohibitively expen-
years, it has not been widely exploited for
Process sive. While SAW is often used to join such
heavy structures. Understanding the best thick sections in the flat position, it is often
Tandem gas metal arc welding is a vari-
settings for the increased number of weld- difficult if not impossible to apply the
ation of GMAW where two electrodes are
ing parameters compared with single-wire process out of position. As a result, lower
fed through a single welding gun. The pa-
GMAW is part of the reason. productivity processes such as single-wire
rameters at which each wire operates are
In a continuing effort to increase pro- FCAW or GMAW are often used. The in-
independently controllable by separate
ductivity and reduce welding costs in ship- herent productivity limitations of these
welding power sources. Interactions be-
building, power generation, heavy equip- welding processes are a major contribu-
tween the two welding arcs promote im-
ment, and other markets, the Edison tor to the high cost of welding these joints.
proved process stability and allow in-
Welding Institute’s (EWI) arc welding EWI has applied T-GMAW to thick sec-
creases in deposition rate and travel speed
team is developing new applications for tions in the horizontal, vertical, and over-
since both arcs operate in the same weld
T-GMAW. The aim is to achieve increases head positions. Increases in deposition
in welding productivity as compared with rate and travel speed as well as a decrease
conventional techniques used for struc- in calculated heat input (based on aver-
tural or heavy fabrication including pulsed Out-of-Position Welding of age instantaneous power) make T-
GMAW (GMAW-P), flux cored arc weld- Thick Steels GMAW an ideal high-productivity alter-
ing (FCAW), GMAW constant voltage native to GMAW and FCAW.
(CV) spray transfer, submerged arc weld- The fabrication of major structures Welds were produced in the horizon-
ing (SAW), and hot-wire feed gas tung- often requires joining thick sections in the tal (2G) position at an average deposition
sten arc welding (GTAW-HW). horizontal, vertical, and overhead weld- rate of 25 lb/h and travel speeds averag-

MARC PURSLOW is project engineer, STEVE MASSEY is application engineer, and IAN HARRIS ( is technology leader
for arc welding at the Edison Welding Institute (EWI), Columbus, Ohio.

34 NOVEMBER 2009
Purslow et al Feature November 2009:Layout 1 10/6/09 2:03 PM Page 35

Fig. 6 — A 3⁄16-in. fillet weld made at

2 m/min.
Fig. 5 — The narrow-groove T-GMAW
process was used to join nickel Alloy 690
with Alloy 82 filler metal.

deposition rate of the baseline, narrow-

groove cold-wire GTAW process typically
used with these joint configurations and
and weld integrity were obtained, as de- materials. In addition, the narrow-groove
termined by NDE methods. A cross sec- joint configuration resulted in a reduction
tion of a 1-in.-thick joint is provided — in the required volume of weld metal and
Fig. 3. in the number of passes needed to fill the
joint. A cross section of a 5.25-in.-thick
Narrow-Groove T-GMAW weldment is provided — Fig. 4. The joint
Fig. 4 — Weld joint of a narrow-groove was prepared with a ½-in. root opening
T-GMAW. for Additional Productivity and a 2-deg included angle. A total of 27
passes filled 4.5 in. of the joint.
Thick-section components are often
The feasibility of applying NG T-
joined using high-deposition-rate welding
GMAW to the welding of Ni Alloy 690 was
ing 30 in./min resulting in increases of 195 processes such as GMAW and SAW with
also investigated. Edison Welding Insti-
and 185%, respectively, when compared conventional open-groove designs. Al-
tute has demonstrated the feasibility of
to baseline single-wire parameters. In ad- though these are considered high-deposi-
welding nickel alloys with this process;
dition, the calculated heat input was re- tion-rate processes, they are not necessar-
however, the effect of process parameters
duced by 33%. Excellent sidewall fusion ily high-productivity processes due to the
on weld quality and process tolerance has
and weld integrity were obtained, as de- large number of weld beads that are re-
not been fully characterized. An average
termined with nondestructive examina- quired to fill a conventional single- or dou-
deposition rate of 9.5 lb/h was achieved at
tion (NDE) methods. A cross section of ble-V-groove joint. Narrow-groove joint
a travel speed of 15 in./min. A cross sec-
a 2-in.-thick joint is provided — Fig. 1. configurations are advantageous as they
tion of a narrow-groove weld made with
Mechanical testing has established that reduce the overall volume of the weld
Alloy 82 (ERNiCrMo-3) filler metal is
the welds met mechanical property re- joint; however, incomplete fusion into the
provided — Fig. 5.
quirements. sidewall is a common concern. This can
Welds were produced in the vertical prevent the successful application of many
(3G) position, with upward progression, conventional high-deposition-rate arc High-Speed Fillet Welding
at deposition rates of more than 8 lb/h. welding processes. While mechanized for Structural Applications
When compared to common practice with GTAW is used in narrow grooves, its rela-
solid wire using GMAW-P, this is a 75% tively low deposition rate limits overall Welding at increased travel speeds may
increase in productivity. The cross section productivity. By developing narrow- yield a number of benefits. In addition to
in Fig. 2 indicates that using T-GMAW for groove tandem GMAW (NG T-GMAW), productivity increases, travel speed in-
uphill welding is feasible; however, the ef- EWI has succeeded in applying a high- creases have been shown to reduce resid-
fects of process variables on weld quality productivity process to narrow-groove ual stresses and resultant distortion. In an
have not fully been characterized. Exami- joint design, resulting in productivity in- effort to evaluate the ability of the T-
nation of the cross section indicates that creases. GMAW process to produce welds at ele-
by using T-GMAW for uphill welding, Edison Welding Institute designed and vated travel speeds, weld trials were com-
there may also be a benefit to impact constructed a prototype NG T-GMAW pleted on T-joints of ¼-in.-thick material
toughness due to the presence of thin lay- gun. The gun was designed with adjusta- in the 2F position. Parameters were de-
ers of refined grain structure. bility of the spacing of the electrodes, the veloped to produce 3⁄16-in. fillet welds at a
Welds were produced in the overhead relative height of the electrodes, and the travel speed of 2 m/min (78.7 in./min) and
(4G) position at an average deposition included angle between the two. Excel- a deposition rate of 22 lb/h — Fig. 6.
rate of 15 lb/h and travel speeds averag- lent sidewall fusion and weld integrity The use of T-GMAW for conventional
ing 35 in./min resulting in increases of 235 were achieved. bevel groove joints, narrow root opening
and 535%, respectively, when compared Deposition rates surpassing 20 lb/h joints, and high-productivity, high-speed
to baseline single-wire parameters. In ad- were achieved on HSLA-100 base mate- fillet welds illustrates the effectiveness
dition, the calculated heat input was re- rials at a travel speed of 15 in./min. This and flexibility of this variant of the widely
duced by 33%. Excellent sidewall fusion is more than a 900% increase over the deployed GMAW process.◆